Sunday, Sunday.

For the most part, today was a usual Sunday.  It was a sunny day in the Bronx, which has been anything but usual this past month.  CC and I started that day at Weight Watchers then hit up Costco for some veggies and ended up with jeans too.  Gotta love any store that can provide THAT combo.  Then it was back to Penny Lane to get the apartment in order before another week of work. 

We work for the same company doing the same job.  CC is very good at many things.  Most importantly, she's very good at being fun, which is what makes this whole living and commuting and working together thing possible.  Also, she's an endless pit of "useless insurance knowledge," which is more than useful to me. 

At the moment she's watching the movie "21" and we're both cautiously awaiting the 3rd game of this Subway Series.  Our Metsies are beyond beat up.  Surprisingly, they've been able to keep their head above water.  But at times, it's just difficult (and boring) to watch.   

CC and I are both Met fans.  She's from Flushing…so it comes with the territory.  I'm from Pittsburgh, but always wanted to be from NY.  My Mom is from the Bronx, so I thought that was a close enough link.  I can't explain how I picked the Mets over the Yankees as a child, but I'm glad I did. 

So, the part of this Sunday that was a bit unusual (other than the sunshine)?  I haven't had much of a need to roam through my CD collection lately, which is usually good reason to condense it.  In doing so, I rediscovered the "Joseph" soundtrack.  In high school, I had every last lyric memorized.  In college, I played the drums for the Chapel Drama's performance.  I love the music…love it. 

It's one of my favorite things in the world…rediscovering something I once couldn't get enough of, but eventually did.  Of course, now it means I'm old enough to experience these "rediscoveries," but so long as they continue to be delightful, I'll make peace with the "getting older" bit.    

The only down fall of great music?  It constantly reminds me of how much I miss making music.  There is plenty of music in my life at the moment.  Thanks to my iPod and radio, there are very few minuets of my work day that are suffered through without some kind of music.  But I haven't been "making music" for way too long.  It's my own fault.  I live in New York.  Enough said.  I just haven't been able to deal with the whole "what if you suck" issue.  Bah… 

For now, I'll let it linger and pop some popcorn for the game.  Let's go Mets!! 

Any dream will do.

Rocco's Graduation...

In less than a week, I'll be hitting 80 West with CC and my fake (but incredibly authentic) Aunt from the Shore.  Following family tradition, my Brother Rocco's graduation party will be Memorial Day weekend.  Graduations, weddings, reunions…any big family event usually comes with a lot of reflection.   Though, there have been maaaaaaannnny (please see last name), none in my life have triggered as much emotion as this one. 

Rewind a few decades or so: 

On paper, we were the perfect family.  We never had too much, but always enough.  We were taught to work hard for what we wanted and to appreciate whatever we were given for our efforts.  We ate a home-cooked dinner around the table every night, and needed a damn good excuse if we were going to leave our chair empty. 

Our parents supported our interests and never missed a single game or show.  On the rare occasion that Dad wasn't cantering, Laura wasn't in the choir and I wasn't serving, we were in our pew a solid 10 minutes before Mass every single Sunday, Holy Day of Obligation…or any day my Mom thought the Church should have made a Holy Day of Obligation.   

When I was still under my parents' supervision, I took so much pride in the way we lived every moment as a family.  When we had to fill out forms in high school for various activities, I was so proud that I only had to list one address for both of my parents.  Of course, it is now obvious that we were the perfect recipe for disaster.  In August 2004, just after we returned from our annual family vacation, my father left us.

There has been plenty of time to reflect and consider what has happened since then and I'm sure we'll never forget.  But this is not a story of loss or sadness.   

I still don't know what he felt or how he made it through the days that seemed to take years to pass.  I don't know where he ran to clear his head, or what it ever was that made him come back.  What I do know is that whatever Rocco did for himself as a teenager was more than the rest of us could do as conditioned adults. 

He had more of a chance to fail.  He was the youngest, the newest member.  When he was taking on the toughest years a young man endures, he was suffocated by a prime-time scandal in a small town which he didn't ask or deserve to be any part of.  It seemed everyone knew more about our lives at that point than we did.    

The only home he knew became a house of tragedy that the rest of us couldn't run fast enough from.  In the darkest moments when memories of the "happy days" felt like poison, it was easy to question the innocent ones.  Once we realized we could never make things "the way they were" again, we wanted no reminder of the way things were.  For a while, we all wanted…even probably needed to live more as individuals less as a family.   

As the situation unfolded us, I was dubbed the strong one, the one most capable of thinking with some clarity in a situation that was already too much to handle, and bound to get worse.  I reached Florida before I finally felt I had run far enough.  Even then, clarity hadn't come.   

Somehow, as we all sat in our own corners simply surviving another day loving each other, but still needing distance, Rocco and his guitar became the clarity for all of us.  If, faced with so many opportunities to fail,  he can make it through, than there is no excuse…no reason for any of us to run.  He has been the end of the tragedy and the beginning of our new, much stronger family.  Wanting things "the way they were" seems juvenile now, considering how much less we knew about each other then. 

As the festivities begin, Graduation is only one of the mountains of reasons we have to celebrate.  There will certainly be stories of sadness and loss, I suppose that's the how we're reminded that this is Earth, not yet Heaven.  But I'm most proud that the story that began in August 2004 is one of how a young man's courage became the reason his family returned home.   

Never has it felt so good to be from 909 First Avenue. 




We meet!

One's brain can spew a million thoughts a second trying to think of what to say and how to say it just right to create that ever-important "good first impression."  During my first few years out of college, I've learned that "good first impression" is even more important than they said.  

Tonight, I'm being introduced to Lady "LJ."

The easy part is that my family has known LJ for quite some time now.  They even visit daily.  So, what is it that finally brings us together?  Frustration, you could say…but that's far too negative for the hopefulness I'm feeling this evening.  Instead, we'll say my overflowing emotions are much too much to keep to myself.   

We are a selfish breed, indeed.  So, in our first meeting, I'd like to cut to the chase, if we could?  This, Lady LJ, is what I'll be needing from you: 

I've spent the past year and a half of my life working for one company, doing one job.  I realize that I don't have to search further than a few cubicles down to find someone who has been working for that same company doing the same job for longer than I've been alive.  But, if you wouldn't mind, please, just hold my thoughts.  Try to understand what it is that won't let me accept this routine.  Don't blame it on my "lazy generation" and don't accuse me of being ungrateful.   

It's not exactly a time for dreamers and I'm well aware that in this economy, simply having a job is worth more than my wage.  Trust that if I could put out this burning desire to keep moving forward, to have a conversation with all the good hearts out there, to spend my days doing fulfilling things, I would.  With nothing but more "days at the office" on the horizon, my only solution is to let that desire breathe in this space. 

Lady LJ,  I'm grammatically, politically, and overall factually imperfect.  I don't always write when I say I will…and I'm very easily distracted.  BUT,  if this first impression has been good enough for you, well then…you can only imagine what my second impressions are like.