Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. - Charlie Chaplin

Friday, February 18, 2011

the year of the dog

My mom called me around dinner last night.   "We're putting Dunkin down tonight, just thought I'd let you know."  Dunkin, was my family's pet dog for the past 6-7 years.  A Bichon Frise, he was affectionately known as "a little white fluff ball" with a tail that curled onto up onto his back mirrored with a quirky, "how can you not like me?!" personality.  Over the past few months, he was withering away from a bounding bowing ball shape to a frail skeleton, not eating much and barely able to stand.  As with many pets, the vet wasn't exactly sure what was up and my parents weren't about to invest thousands into a guessing game.  They'd prefer he live out whatever days he had left as best he could at home being loved.  
It's a bit upsetting to me and I'm sure to my siblings, but I know my mom and dad will take it the hardest.  As "empty-nesters"  Dunkin was the spoiled 4th child that would never leave home.  You see 2010 was a year to remember to hate for my folks, due to two big events:  my dad was laid-off and my aunt (my mom's older sister) passed away.  Every visit home came with the self-tasked attempt to make things feel better.  It was tough.  My mom never looked that sad and beaten down.  "I don't know Matt," she said, "the year, just a bad year.  I just don't know what to do anymore.  I give up." 

I want to say Dunkin's passing isn't "as bad" as my aunt's, but, for me that can only be measured by how high the degree of care and love for something or someone.  My dad did get another, better job he likes a lot and I think 2011 still stands a chance at being OK.  My brother is getting married for one thing, my sis is graduating college, there's another.  But I know, like it or not, it will always be the year we lost our "little white fluff ball."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I started this post on a day much like today a few weeks ago.  It lost momentum, but today boosted it again.  So here it is.

Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:
"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war.  We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.  In our youths our hearts were touched with fire."
I can see how "war" would be an incommunicable experience.  Every story I've heard and read from the mouths and pens of veterans cannot exactingly put across what they did, what they saw and what they've lived with since.  That makes sense to me . . . regarding war.

What makes much less sense to me is when people fail to communicate the simple, the everyday, the routine, the things that would make life just a tad easier for someone, or everyone, else.  Many try to blame technology and others' incompetence, but I prefer to put it all on the individual.  For the health of those who communicate, and do it well, perhaps what my friend said, "We need to teach you to be more Brooklyn", might be better for the mind then trying to continually strike a delicate balance.

E-mailing, the once mighty new form of communication, has become the bane of many an employee's existence.  Rather than communicating the summation of a lot of data at a fast speed and in an Inbox, professional e-mail has turned into texting for the modern supervisor.  We might like to think Blackberries are better and more professional then a 16 girls cell phone, because "I'm conducting business here, not texting about movies and boys".  But really, what's the difference?  If the success of innovation in communication has to be measured by anything, I'm going with the dehumanization of humans connecting with humans.  :) :( :\  ttyl

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

intro extro

I feel like I may actually be headed in the right direction with my self-image.  It hit me after my wife was asking me about the strange fact that I turned sort of introverted at my fairly recent high school reunion.
"I thought you would be going around to all the small groups that formed talking to everyone," were her exact words. 
Part of me thought, "Yeah, why didn't I?" and part of me thought and ultimately answered my wife with, "They're still the popular kids, the jocks and the drama club and I was none of the above.  I don't think I'd know what to say.  I was an am still a dork."  I guess I was even answering her as if I was still 16. 

Now I'm not a defeatist about myself, since I just called myself a "dork", I don't see a negative connotation to the word.  No, I'm fine with the fact that I can fit in some defined category of people that some person thought up.  I have, though, changed a good bit since high school and have a lot I could and would share if prompted; I like talking about where I work, my hobbies, my life since high school, I'm a much more interesting dork compared to back then, in my humble opinion.  But did I really want to try to share this with people who cared less about me back then?  Would they simply hear me talking, or really listen?  Furthermore, did I want to hear their life stories? 

In the end alcohol was a catalyst (if it had to be something, why not alcohol?) to eventually being warmly approached by people I didn't think would come near me that night.  I'll admit, it was nice, even though slurred and set on a progressively louder background noise.  Every conversation brought back good memories and laughs, and I found they also served as a way of reminding me of where I came from, who I was, what I gave up, what shaped me, etc etc. 

After coming out of the time warp, it felt nice to get in the car with my wife and head back into reality, back to 2010.  Not everything is perfect here and now, but at least I know at this point, and feel comfortable with, who I am. 

Friday, February 11, 2011


If I had to define this week by food, I'd choose brussel sprouts.  Why brussel sprouts?  For one, we bought a bunch of them at a local market and I've been throwing them in every dish I can.  I hate seeing food go to waste.  Last night was spaghetti tossed in a pan with  brussel sprouts sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper then given a generous dash of Parmesan cheese on the plate.  Simple and tasty and not bad for ya!
Googled "brussel sprouts" and liked this shot

Another reason for brussel sprouts, I hated them as a kid.  I hated cabbage too.  The point is, continual growth and change is good.  (I'm not even gonna do a whole "like the layerinf of their leaves...the deeper I go" stuff)  Continual learning, exploring and finding is good.  Cooking has been a wonderful outlet for me to learn, explore and ultimately relax and enjoy.  After dinner was done I was thinking about how I could use the rest of the sprouts; perhaps a slaw.  I've already determined that when I have a kid, he or she will be right there with me, rolling dough, chopping veggies, creating, thinking, tasting, enjoying.  And no Shun chef's knife until they're 10.   

Lastly the poor sprout gets a horrible wrap.  Tightly bundled on itself, it isn't always appreciated for what it has to offer.  Not saying that it represents me, no, more what situations I found myself in this week.  A lot going on, a lot to do, but for some reason, while people know that others can do good work and are good people with good intentions, they only have known it from afar.  Frustrating for sure, since it's not the kind of person I am.  Oh well, at least I know they're good for me.