Tag Archives: Blogging

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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Drive-By

Yesterday I had a dentist appointment.

Said sarcastically:  I’ve only been living at the Jersey Shore for 12 years (cough, cough) and my dentist, eye doctor and lady parts doctor are still an hour away.  I could never bring myself to leave them.

So I kill several birds with one stone.  I get my teeth cleaned, visit my mom in the cemetery, visit my dad and feed him hamburgers, subs, ribs and other artery clogging fare and sometimes I even get to see a friend or two.

After an hour trip up the parkway I popped in on Daddy with subs from Jersey Mike’s.  Did I say I was definitely cheating on my diet?  We chatted, caught up and I fixed his TV.

Aside:  My father and his TV issues are massive.  He wasn’t able to watch TV for an entire day because the remote wouldn’t work – and God forbid he called me to ask for help.  No.  He waited until I went up yesterday.  On Monday when I called him, he explained the dilemma and I schooled him in the art of using the DTV box to change channels – voilà TV!

So back to the TV repair daughter… I looked at the remote and realized the 9 was depressed.  I unjammed the number and snap!  The TV turned on and the remote worked!  He thanked me a thousand times, like I cured cancer (I wish).  I love my Dad!

At 2:30 I headed over to the dentist’s, and by 3:30 I was back in my car, top down, music blasting.

Should I ride by my old house?  Maybe I’ll see Skippy or Aunt Dolly?

2012

I gave in to my inner voice and swung by the old homestead.  Wow!  Does it look different!  They built a driveway (we had none) and a carport and an addition.  It looked nice.  It brought back so many memories!

When I returned to my dad’s house, I showed him the pictures.  I’ve been dreaming about that house a lot lately and those pictures made my father dream about it last night too.

He was telling me this morning that he was thinking about how many different people lived in that house.  Originally the house was three rooms (pre-addition) and a small upstairs.  My dad told me there was a host of boarders and tenants that lived with them.

Daddy was a cry-baby (his words, not mine), so he slept with his mother (my Nanoo) in the back bedroom where my Aunt Tootsie and Aunt Mimi also slept.  My Uncle Joe and my grandfather slept in the front room (I always knew it as the parlor) and the tenant d’année lived upstairs.

Imagine all those people in 3 rooms?  Crazy.  The Depression.

In between tenants, when my dad and his siblings got older, he and my Uncle Joe slept upstairs.

Over time tenants came and went, the family grew, moved out and then moved back in with and without their spouses and or children.  My Aunt Tootsie was the first of the family tenants.  Uncle Joe came next.  Then my mom and dad moved in and I came along 4 years later.

After we moved out when I was 4, my Aunt Mimi who was widowed by her 26-year-old husband (he died of testicular cancer) moved in.  I’m not sure of the timeline, but the next person that moved in was my Aunt Tootsie after my Uncle Teddy died.  Mimi moved downstairs with Nanoo and Aunt Tootsie stayed there until she fell ill and moved in with her daughter.

Now it was time for me to move in.  This was my third apartment after leaving my parents’ house.  I quit my job and went back to school for my Master’s Degree and teaching certification.  My parents offered to pay my rent for me but I wasn’t going to make them do that.

My Aunt Mimi asked me if I wanted to live upstairs in my old house, rent free.  Nanoo had already died a while ago and she was very lonely.  So I moved in with all my shit – furniture, clothes – everything!  My dad painted for me and my mom decorated the kitchen with black and white checked contact paper to give the room a little pizzaz.

I showered downstairs and was allowed any overnight guests.  LOL!  That didn’t work.  I had been dating my boyfriend John (now husband) for a while and he used to stay over and I would pretend he showed up at 6 am to see me.  I would go as far as to walk down the stairs, answer the door and walk on all fours back up so it would sound like 2 people coming in.

I was nuts!

Everyday when I came home, Mimi had to hear ALL the events of the day – no matter how mundane.  She and my mom were like the FBI!

I lived in that house for almost 3 years before I got married and moved in with my husband – right up the street.

All my apartments were in the same few block radius.  I went from Evergreen to Entwistle and then down to the end of Entwistle and back up to Passaic Ave – and now I live at the Jersey Shore – but that’s another story.

I loved living in my grandmother’s home.  It was so familiar and brought back so many memories.  I wish that we would have kept the house in the family – but I guess we all have to move on.

Move on but never forget all the good things.

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

My Life As A Jersey Girl

For the first 4 years of my life, my mom, my dad and I lived upstairs from my paternal grandmother (aka Nanoo) and my Aunt Mary (aka Mimi).

We lived in 3 rooms.  A large old-fashioned kitchen with a big white sink like you would see in the movie A Christmas Story, a large living room with a scratchy yet pristine couch, a smaller flowered love seat that pulled out into a bed, a big reclining chair and a console colored TV.  The bedroom was small with a full-size bedand a small closet.  That was the only closet space in the entire apartment!  Oh wait!  Maybe there was one in the living room.  I can’t remember.

My Nanoo in her kitchen

We had a half bath with a toilet that was so tiny, if you were an adult your knees would hit the pipe directly in front of the bowl.  Showers and baths were taken downstairs at my Nanoo’s but my mother used to bathe me in the large tub adjacent to the kitchen sink.

We had no air conditioning, so we spent most of our warm evenings on the porch swing chatting with the neighbors.  This is the late sixties and early seventies, when you knew your neighbors and actually spent time with them.  This is before everyone got too busy to see each other face to face, before families started moving away from each other instead of living on the same block or in the same house for that matter.

Playing the organ in my Nutley kitchen

This was a time when we all gathered for Sunday dinner at 1:00 in the afternoon to enjoy a giant pot of gravy with meatballs and sausage, and a huge bowl of macaroni (not pasta) that my mom and maternal grandmother (aka Grandma) slaved over for a couple of days just to get the perfect flavor.

My dad and I were always disappointed when mom made a roast beef or some other non-macaroni Sunday dinner.  It just wasn’t the same without the smell of pork and beef wafting through the house.

In the Nutley kitchen with my cousins

In the summers I swam in my Uncle Al’s pool next door.  He really wasn’t my uncle but calling a neighbor or a cousin aunt or uncle to show respect was an upheld practice.  My Aunt Ann (aka Tootsie) also had a pool that we would swim in.  She lived on the next block up the hill from us.

My Nutley childhood is full of fond memories of people, events, smells and daily life.  It was simpler time.

In 1971 we moved to the next town over.  It was only a 5 minute drive but it seemed like a world away.  No more running downstairs to see Nanoo and Mimi.  No more running up the block to visit Aunt Tootsie.  No more running across the Pipeline to visit my Tata (my Nanoo’s sister) and my 2 cousins that were my age, Bobby and David.

I was alone in Bloomfield.  No friends.  No family.  Just mom and dad.

My Poppy (my step-grandfather – really my great-uncle) helped my dad put up a 18 foot above ground pool.  It seemed like days that they were digging.  My dad

In my pool

was a perfectionist.  Everything had to be smooth and level.  When it was done, I couldn’t wait to jump in!

I spent day and night in that pool.  I was part fish.  I learned how to swim underwater first (I had been swimming since I was 2) and then I gradually mastered the art of freestyle.  My dad was a great swimmer who could hold his breath longer than anyone I knew.  He would stay under water for what seemed like hours but was really A LOT of minutes.  It was unbelievable.  No one could match or beat his breath-holding expertise.

One day a neighbor down the street came over with his daughter and introduced himself as Dick and his daughter Susan.  He thought that we might be the same age – and we were.  Susan was my first friend and more importantly, my first BEST friend.  But Susan is another story – I’ll talk about her later.

Back to my my new house…

We finally had air conditioning!  Two units!  We all slept downstairs until I got a little older, then we moved upstairs.  Then we had 2 units downstairs – one in the

My 1st bedroom at our new house

dining room wall and one window unit in the den (once my parent’s room, then the den, now my dad’s room) and one in each of our bedroom windows’ upstairs.

We could NEVER have all 4 on at the same time or they would trip a breaker.  Two at a time my father said.  So during the day we had the downstairs 2 running and at night the upstairs 2.

He used to come in my room to wake me up (I was NEVER a morning person) and bitch and moan because I kept the AC so cold.  He’d walk in and say, “Jesus Christ!  I can see my breath in here!”  I loved it cold in the summer so I could snuggle underneath the covers.

During the summer we spent most of our time in the half finished basement watching TV, eating, playing games (this is when I wasn’t in the pool).  We had another kitchen in the basement and my mom did most of her cooking downstairs 1.  because of the heat of the summer (even with AC) and 2.  because she wanted to keep the upstairs clean.

Did I mention that my mom (and her mother) were OCD, clean-crazy Italians? ALWAYS cleaning the house.  You could literally eat off my grandma’s floors – they were so clean and shiny.

We weren’t ALLOWED to use the front door.  The living room was for company

Sitting in the livingroom

only.  Food was definitely off-limits there.  I wasn’t allowed to sit on my bed after it was made.  My mother always said, “Beds are for sleeping, not for sitting.”

That about sums it up.

My bedroom floor was covered with an itchy indoor/outdoor block carpeting.  It was an ugly gold and I hated stepping on it.  My walls were hidden with white wood paneling and wooden beams framing my bed.  My furniture was a dark, early American clunky set that was popular in the seventies.  One wall had ceramic Hummel’s that my mom made but I was not allowed to put up posters or anything like that.

I loved Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson but posters of the Jackson Five or Puppy Love were out of the question.  Phyllis put her foot down.

We had a half bath upstairs complete with a built-in vanity and a little faux fur covered chair.  It had a big sink that I loved washing my hair in.  All my makeup (when it was time for makeup), hair stuff and other toiletries were tucked away in  3 out of the 8 cabinets.  I loved that part of the house!

The kitchen was an open galley-like kitchen with a wall oven and a stove top.  My

Singing away in the kitchen with Grandma & Poppy

mom set up a small “ice cream table” with 2 chairs so we had someplace to eat besides the dining room – which happened to be adjacent to the kitchen.

The living room had a wall of built-in bookcases and cabinets from floor to ceiling.  It housed all the books we loved to read:  Reader’s Digest, how-to books, nature books, encyclopedias and all the treasures that I bought from the Weekly Reader and various book fairs we had throughout the year at school.

The curtains on the front windows were made with material from Germany or Austria that one of my dad’s bosses brought back for my mom.  They were pretty, white, lace curtains covered by a heavier material drape.

The entire house was wired for sound.  I mean it was ahead of its time.  We had speakers in the livingroom, kitchen, basement and everywhere else – all hooked up to a stereo system complete with turntable, radio and 8 track.

It was cool!

I loved my new neighborhood and my new friends.

To be continued….

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Related articles

Is Monday a dirty word?

Now that I’m off for the summer, my days blur into nights, weekends into the weeks and times and dates are virtually non-existent.

Today, I even forgot to feed my cats dinner.  They ate this morning and have dry food out all day, but for some reason I completely spaced.  Maybe because Bailey, my male cat whose stomach can be used as an alarm clock, was snoozing at the top of the stairs all night long and didn’t bug me to feed him.

Anyhoo… besides vacuuming 2 times today, I did absolutely nothing except make 2 cocktails, drink them and pass out.

Yeah – that about sums it up.  My Sunday in a nutshell.

So now it’s 10:30 pm on Sunday night (I know it’s Sunday because Sookie is on and I know it’s 10:30 because I’m on my laptop) and I’m sitting here watching Newsroom, while Peaches snuggles next to me, trying to figure out what to write for my blog tomorrow and I’m coming up with nothing.

Partially because I have a raging sinus headache and partially because I don’t seem to give shit about anything for some reason.

I have nothing to reflect on tonight because my week has been filled with NOTHING.  Say it with me… NOTHING!

N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

Did I learn anything this week?

  • I learned that I have to shave ALL my areas daily.  I mean – who ever heard of 5:00 shadow on their legs?  Spending your summer in a bikini brings out the beast in my ability to grow hair.
  • I learned that like senior citizens, I now keep track of when I poop.  Furthermore I am jealous of people who poop everyday.
  • I learned – rather re-affirmed – that my cats may be the neediest pets on the Earth.  They don’t leave my side for a sec.  Why can’t they be normal cats who hide and hiss?  Not beg and cuddle and cry constantly.  I love them – who am I kidding?
  • I learned that I know nothing that goes on in my neighborhood.
  • I’ve also learned that I don’t care what goes on in my neighborhood as long as it doesn’t directly involve MOI.
  • I learned that with idle time all I can think about is sex and food – and don’t seem to be getting either.  Damn diet!  Damn husband.

But alas… enough of my rantings.  As you can see it’s a short list.

So tomorrow is Monday and I think I’ll go visit my dad and bring him food and pop over to the cemetery to visit my mom.

Monday WAS a dirty word.  It will be one again in September when I head back to work.  I relish my weekends then.

Is Monday a dirty word for you?

Boy!   I hope my next post is back on target…..

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

WORDPRESS! Stop Screwing with A Good Thing!

Every time I fall into a blogging vacation, WordPress changes something when I come back.

THIS is what I want to see!

I don’t know about you but I HATE that they took away the TAG tab on freshly Pressed.  It’s now located in READER and is so freakin’ cumbersome to use.

Previously you would just click on a topic and get a collage of blogs, easy to read, easy to click on and easy to see many different posts at the same time.  The featured posts were bigger on top and it was totally user-friendly.

Now Dear WordPress, When you click on a tag or a topic you are brought to an annoying and completely awkward, inconvenient list of blogs where you must

And this!

scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll down to find something of interest.  What happened to the pictures?  I don’t want this list!

Many other bloggers and readers don’t like this new, unmanageable system as I was reading in your forums last night.  AND for that matter, no one has given a viable answer to the problem because they don’t understand the problem?  I’m not sure.

The problem is that it doesn’t exist anymore!  It’s not the browser.  It’s not the

This too!

cache or cookies.  It’s none of that.

To tell you the truth, I read a lot less on WP since the change.  I can’t seem to find anything and whatever I find takes way too long to locate.

So please do your loyal patrons a favor…  bring back the GOOD!  Throw away the bad!

I beg of you WORDPRESS.  Listen to us.  Bring back what you see in these photos!!!!!!

Bring it back!

I want my tabs back!  Pleeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssssssseeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pales in comparison!

© 2012 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Bed Blogging – Revisited

Author: Duy Le UCLA made stripper pole

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I just couldn’t get myself to fall asleep.  Why?

Not because of my job.  Not because of my bills.  Not because of my fat ass – but because I was bed blogging.

I wanted to say sleep blogging – but technically I wasn’t asleep.  I was lying in bed writing my blog in my head.  Thinking of a ton of ideas, and stories, and witty repartee.

Of course, tonight I have forgotten every single thing that I wanted to write about – but that’s par for the course.  After the day I had at work my brain is a pile of mushy Jello with no vodka.

I always need vodka.

En tout cas, I write my best pieces when I’m emotional and I think of my best stories when I’m bed blogging.  I lie in bed staring at the stripper pole that my husband so sweetly bolted into the ceiling (after I had a pole accident – of course) and my mind races 240 with “information”.

Does anyone else blog in their sleep?  Do you compose letters, write books or try-out meaningful conversation?  What else do you do?

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

All I can say is I should have bought stock in Benadryl because that seems to be the only way I can get to sleep lately.  Sweet dreams.  Or should I say sweet blogs?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Twenties vs. Forties: A Top 20 REVISITED

After having one of those days where I just should have stayed in bed, I pondered my life both then and now and decided to make a side-by-side comparison of

Mom & Me in my twenties

what I wanted from life or did in my twenties and what I want from life or do now that I’m almost 43.

Things change and priorities shift as you get older.  When you have kids they change even more.  As a responsible adult sometimes fun gets put on the back-burner and a once clear-head become non-existent.  I miss that clear-head.

Me in my forties

When I was 20 I was living it up in Paris on my parents’ dime, footloose and fancy free.  My only concern was where the next best soirée would be held and who was going to be on the guest list of my next party.  At 43 I worry about paying my bills, money in general, the health and well-being of my family, my health, taking care of my cats, going to work and the list continues.

So let’s take this point by point so we examine the age gap and maybe now understand what our parents went through with us as cranky teenagers and crankier twenty somethings.

  1. 20:  I wanted a hot guy with a hot car.  Hondas need not apply.
    40:  I want my hot guy with his hot car.
  2. 20:  I drove a fast 1978 Camaro LT, 350 4-barrel with louvers, air shocks, fat tires and a spoiler.  I had a lead-foot.
    40:  I drive a fast BMW convertible  with fat tires and I still have a lead-foot.
  3. 20:  I worked at TSV Video (when I was in the US), watched movies all day, drank wine, flirted with the customers, watched and recommended porno, loved my boss Stan and used to arrange Gumby-like toys in sexual positions on his desk every night.  I rarely had to deal with any bullsh**.  My biggest responsibility was making change and setting the alarm.
    40:  I work as a teacher, enlighten impressionable minds all day, drown in paperwork, drink water or Crystal Light, recommend places to visit in Paris and I’m not commenting on the boss.  I constantly have to deal with bullsh**  from EVERYONE.  My BIG responsibility is other people’s children.
  4. 20:  I had a dog.  My parents took care of her and I played with her.
    40:  I have 2 cats and I take care of them:  butt wiping, baths, litter box scooping, trips to the vet, cuddling partner, Mommy, playmate.
  5. 20:  I pounded shots.  Many shots.  Body shots.
    40:  I sip good wine.  A lot of wine.  All kinds of wine.
  6. 20:  I tried to figured out new ways to get away from my parents.
    40:  I wish I still had both my mom and dad and now love spending time with my Daddy.
  7. 20:  I had a Mandee Charge Card and no debt.
    40:  I have too many credit cards to count and debt up the wazoo.
  8. 20:  I weighed 120 pounds and ate anything I wanted.
    40:  I’m always on a diet!
  9. 20:  I would stay out all night and party.
    40:  I will stay out all night and party but try to get home by 4 so I don’t piss off the husband.
  10. 20:  I wanted to be a translator for the U.N. or a big-wig in the international business world.
    40:  I want to keep my teaching job and hope my pension will still be there.
  11. 20:  I slathered on baby oil so I could get that deep, dark tan.
    40:  I slather on sun block and skin repairing cream to try to undo the sun damage of yesteryear.
  12. 20:  I had big, whorey hair.
    40:  I have big, whorey hair.
  13. 20:  Fifty dollars was a lot to spend on shoes.
    40:  Now I try not to spend over $500.
  14. 20:  I had no kids.
    40:  I still have no kids (by choice).
  15. 20:  I never wanted to go home.
    40:  I can’t wait to get home.
  16. 20:  I lived in France and loved it.
    40:  I want to live in France and I still love it.
  17. 20:  I had a boyfriend who wanted me to look like a Barbie doll.
    40:  I have a husband who wants me to look like a Barbie doll.
  18. 20:  Dressing like a whore was always an option.
    40:  Dressing like a whore is a weekend only option.
  19. 20:  I went to the gym almost every day.
    40:  I stare at all the gym equipment in my house and dust it off once and a while.
  20. 20:  I stared at myself in the mirror and thought about how hot I looked.
    40:  I stare at myself in the mirror and notice fine lines and aging and think about when I can get my first facelift.

Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.  I believe age is only a number (even though it keeps creeping around like a bad case of crabs) but with age come wisdom and knowledge.  I’ve heard before that youth is wasted on the young.  I believe it now.  If we only knew then what we know now, we could have ruled the world.

I don’t know about you but I’m not done yet and I still plan on ruling the world.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.

Bed Blogging

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I just couldn’t get myself to fall asleep.  Why?

Not because of my job.  Not because of my bills.  Not because of my fat ass – but because I was bed blogging.

I wanted to say sleep blogging – but technically I wasn’t asleep.  I was lying in bed writing my blog in my head.  Thinking of a ton of ideas, and stories, and witty repartee.

Of course, tonight I have forgotten every single thing that I wanted to write about – but that’s par for the course.  After the day I had at work my brain is a pile of mushy Jello with no vodka.

I always need vodka.

En tout cas, I write my best pieces when I’m emotional and I think of my best stories when I’m bed blogging.  I lie in bed staring at the stripper pole that my husband so sweetly bolted into the ceiling (after I had a pole accident – of course) and my mind races 240 with “information”.

Does anyone else blog in their sleep?  Do you compose letters, write books or try-out meaningful conversation?  What else do you do?

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

All I can say is I should have bought stock in Benadryl because that seems to be the only way I can get to sleep lately.  Sweet dreams.  Or should I say sweet blogs?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Letters To My Mother

Example of screenplay formatting. Writing is o...

Image via Wikipedia

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,
Jacqui

Just a sample of my more melancholy side….

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.