Monday, November 30, 2015

365 Project - Day 334 - "Abstract (Calla Lily)"

November 30, 2015 - "Abstract (Calla Lily)"

Spiraling toward the within...

... the Calla Lilies look lovely today.


*   *   *

Sunday, November 29, 2015

365 Project - Day 333 - "First Sunday of Advent"

November 29, 2015 - "First Sunday of Advent"

Today is the First Sunday of Advent... and the 12-noon Mass at our church was held for my brother Peter.

As I lit a blue candle to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for my brother's family... tears began to fall.

As I lit a red candle to ask St. Joseph to pray for for my brother's family... tears began to fall.

As I repeated the words "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul"... tears began to fall.

As my children and I presented the Holy Gifts to Father Shawn... tears began to fall.

As I bowed towards the Tabernacle, at the spot where Peter stood as my Sponsor during my Confirmation... tears began to fall.

As I approached Father Shawn to receive Holy Communion, tears began to fall.

As I knelt, staring at the very spot where Peter stood as the Best Man and Witness for my Catholic Marriage... tears began to fall.

As I prayed, and prayed and prayed some more... tears began to fall.

As I sat staring at Peter's watch on my wrist as guests talked at our gathering table... tears began to fall.

As I cut the special-order Red and Blue Italian Rum Cake... tears began to fall.

As I lit the first Purple Candle on our Advent Wreath... tears began to fall.

As I offered the prayer to mark the week of "Hope"... tears began to fall.

As I gazed upon the glowing light... tears began to fall.

Not the kind of tears that roll down your cheeks and leave a salty taste on your lips. Yes... there were plenty of those as I broke down during Mass, desperately trying to hide it from my family. No... the tears I'm talking about here are the tears within. The tears I'm talking about are falling from my heart. The tears I'm talking about have been flowing for eight months now. The tears I'm talking about will never stop flowing.

Once again I stand before the Advent Wreath, absorbing the glow of the Candle of Hope... offering the prayer "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul"... as tears begin to fall.

*   *   *

Saturday, November 28, 2015

365 Project - Day 332 - "Abstract (Memorial Preparations)"

November 28, 2015 - "Abstract (Memorial Preparations)"

Tomorrow is the First Sunday of Advent... and the 12-noon Mass at our church is being held for the Intentions of my brother Peter.

Following the Mass we're having a bit of a gathering for family and friends who have become family.

Peter loved the combination of the colors "red" and "blue". He'd always point out how when you put certain shades of red next to certain shades of blue, your eyes would be tricked and it would look like the colors were moving.

So it's time to break out the red and blue for Peter. Red and blue napkins. Red and blue paper plates. Red and blue plastic cups. Red and blue icing on the Rum Cake. All of this red and blue being set up today in preparation for tomorrow... while James Brown's "Funky Christmas" album plays loudly in the background.

I miss you Bro!

*   *   *

Friday, November 27, 2015

365 Project - Day 331 - "Blue Christmas (Cards)"

November 27, 2015 - "Blue Christmas (Cards)"

The Christmas Cards have all been addressed, stamped and mailed.

This year I'm starting a new tradition which I'm sure my family and friends will enjoy and look forward to year-after-year. One of the 40+ cards I've mailed contains 2-ounces of very fine gold glitter powder to symbolize the gold which one of the Magi presented to baby Jesus. It's just a little something to remind you of the reason for the season, and all.

If YOU happen to be the one who gets the glitter, well... I hope you have a Dyson or something.


*   *   *

Thursday, November 26, 2015

365 Project - Day 330 - "Thankful"

November 26, 2015 - "Thankful"

It has truly been a tough year for our family. It is with heavy hearts that we begin the holiday season... yet we gather today to give thanks for the blessings we have been given in life.

The truth is, however, that for me today is no different from any other day. I do not always say it aloud... I do not always post it on my Facebook page - but each and every day I wake up and give thanks for the gift of a new day and all of the blessings I've been given in life.

The list of things I am thankful for is a long one... and I will not even begin to attempt to list it all...

But this year...

This year in particular...

I am thankful for having been blessed to have had Peter as my brother... my hero... my friend. I am thankful for all of the lessons he has taught me in life... and continues to teach me almost eight months after he passed away. I am thankful for the family bonds that have been strengthened and the renewed sense of faith I've experienced during those eight months. I'm thankful for my family - for having a wife who is also my best friend... for my children, who I love with all of my heart... for my brothers and the families of my brothers... for my parents and my in-laws... for the friends who have truly become family to me...

I give thanks for all of these blessings - not just on the day we call "Thanksgiving" - but every single day that I am given.

With much love - I give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


*   *   *

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

365 Project - Day 329 - "Abstract (First Frost)"

November 25, 2015 - "Abstract (First Frost)"

It might not be the "official" first frost of the season... but this morning's frost was the first I have seen...

... A delicate reminder that the earth is falling into slumber and winter is just within sight.


*   *   *

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

365 Project - Day 328 - "Help Me To See"

November 24, 2015 - "Help Me To See"

I cannot see clearly...

... Help me to see.

Everything seems blurry...

... Help me to see.

Nothing seems to be working...

... Help me to see.

I do not know the way...

... Help me to see.

I'm worried I might stumble...

... Help me to see.


*   *   *

Monday, November 23, 2015

365 Project - Day 327 - "Frustration"

November 23, 2015 - "Frustration"

It's frustrating when you're doing everything you can possibly think of to do, and it just isn't working.

It's frustrating when you seem to have been taking major steps forward, and are suddenly pulled backwards in a very big way.

It's frustrating when you just don't know where to go next... or what else to do to try to make things better.

It's frustrating.

*    *   *

Sunday, November 22, 2015

365 Project - Day 326 - "A Gift From My Father - A Gift From My Dad"

November 22, 2015 - "A Gift From My Father - A Gift From My Dad"

Yesterday my son and I went to visit my dad. When we arrived, he was in the Chapel for Mass... something he does every single day.

As soon as he saw us walk by his face lit up and he snuck in a wave towards us as we - not wanting to be a disruption - continued to the back of the Chapel to wait as Mass came to a close.

When Mass had ended he slowly exited the Chapel and wheeled his way toward us saying that he had just been thinking about us and that he knew he'd be seeing us sometime soon and was so happy that we were there. We went up to his room and sat and talked and talked and talked - just the three of us.

We talked about many things. We talked about life, and the way things once were. He told me his regrets and apologies... and I tried to reassure him that he had no reason to apologize... no reason to regret. That I "knew"... That I "understood"... That I "know".

We talked about happy memories... of Sundays spent taking long drives from Stamford to Cornwall... of Sunday afternoons spent at my Grandparent's house... of camping trips... of special days spent together.

We talked about family. We talked, of course, about my brother Peter as we gazed at his photo hanging on the wall beside my father's bed. We talked about our daily thoughts... and our daily prayers.

The visit was only a couple of minutes shy of an hour. Eventually the staff came in to serve lunch and we decided to not disturb his lunch and head out to have our own.

Just before we left he wheeled himself over to his dresser, saying that he had something for me. He returned with this small wooden Crucifix, and placed it in my hands as he told me that he prays for me and for my brothers and for all of his daughters-in-law and grandchildren every single day. He had tears in his eyes as he told me that he loved me... and my eyes had tears in them as well.

As we hugged goodbye he hugged me tighter than I ever remember him hugging me... and much, much tighter than I thought he would be able to, considering his health. He did not want to let go. I did not want to either.

We made our way downstairs as he turned and made his way back to his room.

My son and I then went to lunch together... just the two of us... to the same place where my Dad and I have sat together over a pizza countless times.

Every parent wants their children to have a better life than they did themselves. Every parent has a time where they feel that they did not do a good enough job... that they somehow failed at the task. My childhood was indeed a rocky one... and yet I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for the road I've journeyed. The obstacles faced and the lessons learned during all of those years have brought me to this point in my life. They've brought me to "now". They've brought me to today - The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - when I shall sit with my own son... before our Father... with tears in my eyes as I pray that the hugs I give my son will always be the tightest hugs I am able to offer.

*   *   *

Saturday, November 21, 2015

365 Project - Day 325 - "Angela Mia"

November 21, 2015 - "Angela Mia"


Take one aged Italian-American and add one birthday, holiday, holy day or just about any other day for that matter. Slowly mix in said Italian-American's family members and season with friends to taste. Serve in abundance within a single room, hall, house or back yard. That's how Italian Rum Cake is made.

Well... sort of. I mean, if you happen to live in the Tri-State area and follow that particular recipe an Italian Rum Cake is guaranteed to appear. Some crazy uncle is bound to arrive with one. If not a crazy uncle, than it's probably a very short aunt who likes to squeeze cheeks.

And if you follow that recipe and you happen to live in Southwestern Connecticut - there's a very good chance that said "crazy uncle"/"cheek squeezer" probably got the cake from Angela Mia... and the box is saturated with rum that is pooling up in the corners.

So I guess this time I've become the crazy uncle... as I'm here at Angela Mia's ordering an Italian Rum Cake for a post-Memorial Mass gathering next weekend.

After all... you can NOT have an Italian gathering without a Rum Cake. It'd be a sin!


*   *   *

Friday, November 20, 2015

365 Project - Day 324 - "Abstract (White)"

November 20, 2015 - "Abstract (White)"

It really bugs me when I see the same actor/actress in television commercials for different products. I mean, why is the "Glad Bag Lady" talking about how comfortable she is with her husband's dumb ideas while she's laying on a Serta iComfort mattress that has no sheets on it after having eaten a bunch of bottomless fries at Red Robin? Who does that sort of thing? It's just not believable!

This has abso-freakin'-lutely NOTHING to do with today's photo, by-the-way. That's just a photo of a stack of plastic hangers. 


*   *   *

Thursday, November 19, 2015

365 Project - Day 323 - "The Comfort of Grandma's Lamp"

November 19, 2015 - "The Comfort of Grandma's Lamp"

Standing for a moment... absorbing the comforting glow of my Grandmother's lamp... and the feeling that she is still with me.


*   *   *

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

365 Project - Day 322 - "The Un-Cushioning (Playing the Game)"

November 18, 2015 - "The Un-Cushioning (Playing the Game)"

It's time.

It's time for you to step up to the plate.

It's time for you to ready yourself for the challenges that life pitches to you.

It's time for you to learn which of those pitches you need to swing at... and which of those pitches you need to let continue past you.

It's time for you to gather the strength to push through the swing... to hit the obstacles and tests you're faced with head-on, and send them soaring.

It's time for you to know when to walk and when to run.

It's time for you to be willing to dive... sliding... reaching for what you know you can achieve.

It's time.

One of the most powerful realizations I've had this year is the realization that you will NEVER know when your last chance to swing might be. You will never know just how many innings you will be blessed with playing. You never know if you're going to be hit by a pitch... or if you're going to be pulled from the game that is life. You never know.

But I do know that I am here for you right now... during THIS game.

I am your batting coach, helping you learn how and when to swing...

I am your first base coach, warning you when another pitch is heading towards you so you can stay safe...

I am your third base coach, guiding you home...

... and I am in the stands, watching you play the game... proudly cheering you on.

But someday I will not be at the plate or the base with you. Someday you'll look in the stands and won't be able to see that I'm there watching you. That day may be tomorrow. That day may come 20,000 tomorrows from now. But come it will... and you'll have to swing and walk and run without me guiding you.

And so it's time.

It's time for the un-cushioning to begin.

It's time for the protective wrapping to start to come off.

It's time for all of the little soft bits that we've surround you with to protect you from life's bumps to be removed... bit by bit.

It's time for you to step away from being a "child" and step toward becoming a "man"...

... and it's time for me to let you start swinging at more of life's pitches on your own.

It's time, son.

It's time.

*   *   *

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

365 Project - Day 321 - "Go and do likewise"

November 17, 2015 - "Go and do likewise."

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

 - Luke 10:25-37

*   *   *

The Story of the Ten Fish

The Story of the Ten Fish:

"Ten fish are in a tank. Two drown... Four swim away... and Three die. How many are left?"

Let's ignore the part about two fish "drowning"- and just focus on the fact that a total of three fish died... and four fish swam away (somehow).

The three that died were actually the fish that were "left". One was a left-wing fish from a middle-class family which was struggling to make ends meet... one was from a low-income family with no political affiliation because they had far more important things to deal with in life than "politics"... and the third was a homeless veteran fish that none of the other fish even noticed was there.

They all died because the four "right" fish ate 99% of the food... shat all over the tank... blamed the shit-filled nature of the tank on other fish... then swam away to their larger, much nicer tanks in the Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard.

BUT that's only 7 fish... and supposedly there were 10 in total, correct? So what about those other three fish?

Those three fish are from foreign tanks. They are border-crossers and refugees who came to this tank because - even though this whole tank is most certainly full of shit - the shit in THIS tank doesn't even begin to compare to the shit that was in the tanks they left behind. Knowing this, however, the four "right" fish will stop at nothing to get those three fish out of the tank and back into their own tanks. They're currently working on a plan to make the removal of those three fish as profitable as possible. This is happening despite the fact that those four fish claim to follow the teachings of a much larger fish who directly told them to care for all other fish - without exceptions.

But none of this matters. Why? Because someone accidentally left the tank's heater on. The four "right" fish refuse to believe that it's on... even though there's a bright power light glowing right in front of their eyes and much, MUCH smarter fish from some of the top schools (Get it? Top "schools"! As in "a school of fish"! Get it? I crack myself up sometimes!) have tried over and over again to show them the measurements that prove without a doubt that the temperature of the tank is in fact rising. Yet the four "right" fish, being goldfish with very small brains and an instinct to consume as much as possible until they outgrow their own tanks, are not interested in anything but their own two-second-long moments of awareness and the endless quest to be "on top". 

The irony is that - in the end - "on top" is exactly where they'll be floating.

(End of rant. Now I need coffee!)

*   *   *

Monday, November 16, 2015

365 Project - Day 320 - "Abstract (Cups)"

November 16, 2015 - "Abstract (Cups)"

I'm seeing blue and white today.

I don't know why.

It's an abstract sort of day today.

I don't know why.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

I don't know why.

Perhaps she'll die.

*   *   *

Sunday, November 15, 2015

365 Project - Day 319 - "Abstract (Curtain)"

November 15, 2015 - "Abstract (Curtain)"

Looking at the abstract path that is "life"...

... and realizing that the journey has only just begun.


*   *   *

Saturday, November 14, 2015

365 Project - Day 318 - "I knew that you were still here with us all along."

November 14, 2015 - "I knew that you were still here with us all along."

Today I felt your presence and I knew without a doubt that you were here...

... the confirmation was given, yet it wasn't something I "needed" per se.


Because I knew that you were still here with us all along.

I know that you are here.

I know that you will ALWAYS be here.

I cannot see you in the same way I saw you before...

I cannot hear you in the same way I heard you before...

But I do see you.

I do hear you.

I do know that you are here.

But then again... I knew that you were still here with us all along.


My heart told me so.

*   *   *

Friday, November 13, 2015

365 Project - Day 317 - "Abstract (Paint Tray)"

November 13, 2015 - "Abstract (Paint Tray)"

Spending the day doing lots and lots of cleaning... and a few home-repairs, including painting part of the ceiling.



*   *   *

Thursday, November 12, 2015

365 Project - Day 316 - "Abstract (White Candles)"

November 12, 2015 - "Abstract (White Candles)"

I love white candles. They're such a simple thing and yet, when they're lit and glowing - they seem so "purifying" and "comforting".

I love white candles.


*   *   *

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

365 Project - Day 315 - "Abstract (Pill Organizer Happiness)"

November 11, 2015 - "Abstract (Pill Organizer Happiness)"

You know you're getting kinda old when one of the highlights of your week is that your new pill organizer finally arrived.

It is a really awesome pill organizer though... much better and much easier to use than the one I've been dealing with for the last few years.

Plus it apparently likes to pose for my camera... so it really is a win-win.


*   *   *

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

365 Project - Day 314 - "You're Focusing On The Wrong Cup"

November 10, 2015 - "You're Focusing On The Wrong Cup"

If you truly believe in Christ's teachings...

If you truly consider yourself to be a follower of Christ...

If you truly wish to call yourself a Christian...

Make sure that you're living as one.

The Bible does NOT say:

"This I command you. Each year to celebrate my birth you shall taketh all cups and decorate them with snowflakes and garlands and pretty scenes of winter. And you shall condemn those who do not decorate their cups, for their faith in me is not strong. Do this in memory of me."

What the Bible DOES say when it comes to "Jesus" and "Cups" can be found in Matthew's Gospel... Chapter 26... Verses 27-29:

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

Graphics on paper cups... Decorations in storefront windows... Saying "Merry Christmas" instead of just "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" is NOT how you celebrate the Lord.

Christmas is NOT being attacked by those who are not Christian. Christmas IS, however, being defaced by supposed followers of Christ who have forgotten what it truly means to be Christian.

(You're focusing on the wrong "Cup".)

STOP trying to put the "Christ" back in "Christmas"...

START living in a way that puts the "Christ" back in "Christian".

*   *   *

Monday, November 9, 2015

365 Project - Day 313 - "Abstract (Wrap Me Up)"

November 09, 2015 - "Abstract (Wrap Me Up)"

I'm going to wrap myself up in bubble wrap today.

I'm going to wrap myself up, and hide under a fort of blankets.

I'm going to wrap myself up and hide under a fort of blankets to shield myself from everything else that it going on in the world...

... so I can calm my mind...

... so I can ease the pain my body is in...

... until I've recovered.

*   *   *

Sunday, November 8, 2015

365 Project - Day 312 - "Abstract (Ramones)"

November 08, 2015 - "Abstract (Ramones)"

I love listening to music.

I love The Ramones.

I love vinyl records.

I love Red.

I love listening to red vinyl records of music by The Ramones.


*   *   *

Saturday, November 7, 2015

365 Project - Day 311 - "The Kingdom of Heaven"

November 07, 2015 - "The Kingdom of God"

These are the secret words
that the living Christ spoke
and were scribed
by his disciple Thomas...

"If those who lead you
say 'God's Kingdom's in Heaven,'
then birds will fly there first.
If they say "It's in the sea,'
the fish will swim there first.

For God's Kingdom dwells in
your heart and all around you;
when you know your Self
you too shall be known!

You'll be aware that you're 
the sons and daughters of
our living Father.

But if you fail to know
your own Self
you're in hardship
and are that hardship."

   - The Gospel of St. Thomas - Verse 3

The Kingdom of God dwells within your heart... and all around you.

The Kingdom of God dwells within your heart.

The Kingdom of God dwells within you.

God dwells within you.

God is with you.

God is with us.

God is within us.

The Kingdom of God is within us.

The Kingdom of God is within our hearts.

The Kingdom of God is within our hearts... and all around us.

If you're looking for God... look within yourself and those around you - for together we are "the sons and daughters of our living Father"...

... together, we are the Kingdom of God.

*   *   *

Friday, November 6, 2015

365 Project - Day 310 - "Just In Case"

November 06, 2015 - "Just In Case"

Today I had to go in for a "procedure". That's what you call it when you reach a certain age and don't want to say "surgery".

Very, VERY few people knew that it was happening... and even fewer knew what it was that was happening. The details of what it was are personal... so please don't ask about any of that - just know that I'm obviously still here and everything is OK.

Still... when a doctor tells you that you have to have a "procedure" - it doesn't matter how routine it happens to be, certain thoughts run through your head. I've known that it was happening for about four months now... so I've had plenty of time for such thoughts to be running through my head - and run through my head they did. Well... at least at first they did. To be honest I haven't been thinking about it very much at all until earlier this week when the surgeon's office called for information.

When you're asked questions like "Are you an organ donor?", "Do you have a Living Will?" and "Is there a particular clergyman or church you would like us to contact if it becomes necessary?" - well, lets just say that it 'gets your attention'. Life suddenly becomes more "real". And when you're standing there signing a Living Will in front of witnesses - then watching THEM sign it - life becomes even MORE real.

The reality is that the procedure was so minor and routine that the chances of anything going wrong were virtually nil... and yet after you've checked in at the desk and are sitting there waiting for the nurse to come get you, you can't help but have an "Oh Shit!" moment.

My "Oh Shit!" moment came and went rather quickly. I reached into my bag and pulled out one of the cameras I always have with me... got Holly laughing as I snapped a pic. Focus. Snap. Capture. A photo of the most important thing in the world to me... "just in case" it would become the last photo I'd ever take.

But it wasn't the last photo I'd ever take. Several hours later I was snapping a photo of a plate of very-much-needed bacon on the table before me... and with that, life went on.

The truth is - every night when I go to bed is sort of an "Oh Shit!" moment. I know that it sounds very morbid and all - but this year has shown me that you NEVER know when the last time is that you'll kiss your best friend goodnight... or hug your children... or eat a plate full of bacon.

No - I do not go to bed at night thinking these thoughts... that would be a very unhealthy way to live. I do, however, wake up each morning with a quick "Thank You" for being blessed with another day... because I truly am thankful for each and every day I am given... just as I am thankful for each and every person who is part of my life.

Someday the moment will come when I will have looked through the viewfinder for the final time. That is reality. That is life. But since I have no way of knowing when that final image will be captured, I'm going to take every chance I have to look through the viewfinder of life... to Focus. Snap. Capture.

Life. IS. Good!

*   *   *

Thursday, November 5, 2015

365 Project - Day 309 - "Atari"

November 05, 2015 - "Atari"

I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours... how many days... how many months were spent playing the games!

Switching between Channel 2 and Channel 3 to try to get the image to be as clear as possible...

Blowing in the cartridges whenever there was a problem...

Hoping to God that nobody walked in front of the TV and snagged the wires, ruining your game...

Watching the game go haywire when the console got too hot from being on for too long...

Those were the days!


*   *   *

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

365 Project - Day 308 - "Abstract (Reaching the Ceiling)"

November 04, 2015 - "Abstract (Reaching the Ceiling)"

Well... the roof has been patched and sealed - but there's still moisture that needs to dry and the ceiling needs to be repaired.


(Have I mentioned lately that this whole "being a grown-up" thing really sucks!?!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

365 Project - Day 307 - "Drips and Snakes and Drips"

November 03, 2015 - "Drips and Snakes and Drips"

It started with a drip from the ceiling.

Next it was a drain that wouldn't, well... "drain".

Then it was a disintegrated pipe, with more drips.

I think it's safe to say that we've definitely got an abundance of "water-related issues" this week.

So we've been on the roof to patch up the seams.

I've replaced the pipes and stopped the drips.

And now I've got a 50-foot snake down the main drain pipe, trying to get the water to flow away from the house... instead of inside of it.

Bottom-line: This whole "being a grown-up" thing really sucks!

*   *   *

Monday, November 2, 2015

365 Project - Day 306 - "Why I'm NOT Sad Today"

November 02, 2015 - "Why I'm NOT Sad Today"

Last night at CitiField in Queens, the Kansas City Royals defeated the New York Mets in Game 5 to win the World Series Championship.

So I should be upset today, right? At the very least I should be feeling a little sad today, right? Well, I'm not. Far from it, actually.

You see... seven months ago I couldn't possibly care less about baseball. I wouldn't say it was my "least-favorite" of the major team sports (that would be basketball, because I can't stand the squeaking sound the player's shoes make on the court) - but it was far from being my favorite. If I'd go to a baseball game I'd have a good time... but to sit and watch a game on TV, or to actually care about how a particular team was doing - that just wasn't me. Watching a baseball game on TV was almost as boring to me as watching a video recording of Henry Kissinger reading one of his memoirs. If baseball was on, I'd change the channel. Period.

And then I lost my brother.

My brother Peter was a Mets fan in a part of the world dominated by Yankees fans. Heck, those in the area who weren't Yankees fans were more likely to be Red Sox fans than Mets fans - but a Mets fan he was, all the same. His love of the Mets did not rule his life, the way some people allow their devotions to a certain team to do - but it was so strong that when I gave the eulogy at his Funeral Mass, I made sure there was a Mets reference in there. The flowers my brothers Kenny, Xavier and I bought for the services were in Mets colors. In fact, it was a frame of Mets colored flowers surrounding one of Peter's Mets jerseys.

Standing in the receiving line at my brother's Wake, I cannot even begin to tell you how many people who came up to me were letting me know that the Mets were beating the Washington Nationals. The next day - the day of the Funeral - the same thing happened - people coming up to me to let me know that the Mets had won the night of the Wake, and that Peter must have had something to do with that because, well... because it was the Mets - and the Mets were not supposed to be winning.

As the days and weeks passed the Mets seemed to creep into my life more and more. They were winning games they "shouldn't" be winning... and people felt the need to let me know that. One night I even found myself sitting on the couch after a long day of working to close up Peter's shop - drinking a beer while half-watching a Mets game. Little-by-little that scene happened more-and-more often. "His" team was starting to become "my" team. I found myself actually caring about how they were playing. I was getting to know the players. I was in awe of Jacob deGrom... of Curtis Granderson... of Noah Syndergaard - just to name a few.

The next thing I knew I was sitting in the stands at CitiField, wearing a Jacob deGrom shirt and wearing a Mets cap watching the Mets destroy the Nationals, with Duda, Murphy and Granderson all hitting home runs.

The funny thing is, people still kept telling me how the Mets "shouldn't" be doing so well. When the Mets would lose a game, people - especially Yankees fans - seemed to enjoy letting me know that fact. I cannot begin to count how many times people - especially Yankees fans - told me that the Mets were going to collapse and would definitely NOT make it into the Post-Season and had a snowball's chance in hell of making it to the World Series. The Mets going to the World Series just wasn't "supposed" to happen. That's just the way it was.

But I kept watching and watching and watching. If I couldn't watch a game, I'd be checking the scores and updates on my iPhone. And the Mets kept winning and winning and winning.

People felt the need to tell me that the Dodgers were going to end it all for the Mets. But that did not happen. Then they told me that the Chicago Cubs were going to kill the Mets. But that did not happen either. The Mets went on to win the National League Championship... and made it to the World Series.

Let me repeat that last line: The Mets went on to win the National League Championship... and made it to the World Series.

Did they win it all? No. Could they have? I believe that at the very least they could have pushed it into a Game 7. Am I disappointed that they lost the World Series? Yes... a little bit. Am I "upset" or "sad" about them losing the World Series? No. Not in the least bit. Why? Because the New York Mets - who were NOT "supposed" to make it anywhere - made it to the World Series... and I know my brother would have loved pointing out that fact to all of the people - especially the Yankees fans - who would have been telling him all season that it wasn't going to happen.

I look at a Mets logo now, and I see my brother smiling. In his own special way he made me actually give a damn about baseball. In his own special way he got me to actually be looking forward to next season...

After all - one year ago it was the Kansas City Royals who lost the World Series. Just keep that little bit of info in mind!

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

365 Project - Day 305 - "All Saints Day"

November 01, 2015 - "All Saints Day"

"Pray. Pray to the Lord with me, because the whole world needs prayer. And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, pray. Pray to the Lord, because even God needs our prayers." - Saint Padre Pio

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