And so….

This fellow is turning 31 on Sunday.

Egad! I am getting old.

I remember when I could carry him on my shoulders. He’s now towers over me. We used to play with trains and hot wheels and look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. He’s married and puts up their lights, and I like to think he picked up his love for animals from me. He and his wife have two cats, which warms my heart.

Happiest of birthdays to my Matt. Couldn’t be prouder of you if I tried.

Good Memories

When my nephews were younger, my brother would take them to Ocean City, New Jersey to spend their vacation.It was a new experience for me, as I had always been a Stone Harbor/Angelsea/Cape May type of girl.

We would do bikes on the boardwalk, later on rides and the beach, breakfasts and bakeries with donuts and sticky buns, but one thing haunts me to this day.

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Jim and I were coming back from the doctor’s office in Somers’Point, and decided to go to Ocean City. OK,when someone says that,I think,”Johnson’s Popcorn”.

I am sure everywhere on the Eastern seaboard is a popcorn stand that professes to have the best popcorn of all varieties.Johnson’s has been around since 1945.I absolutely adore their caramel corn.The biggest rub is that my local grocery story, where I worked last spring for a brief interlude, carries their popcorn and actually, it was fifty cents cheaper.

When you go to Mecca, er, the Ocean City boardwalk stores where they make this, you show up with your $12 for a FRESH,large tub of the caramel corn, say you need a bag, and to leave the lid off.The excess popcorn that gathers in the bottom of your bag is at least two dollars more, and, in our case today, we nibbled on it as we were headed down the Garden State Parkway to get home to the fur girls.
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Even after the delicious memory is gone, I recycle the container to either use the next time we go up there, or, in the meantime, to make Christmas cookies I want to hide in.

Thanks, Matt and Greg! #GOODTIMES

Football…Packer Football

Yes, right now, technically, I am a Philadelphian.

I am watching the Green Bay Packers on tv.

My oldest nephew on the east coast, Matthias, grew up a devout Packer fan thanks to my brother and his wife sending their godson, Matt, Christmas and birthday Packer gifts.

Now, I have to admit that the Eagles were kind of exciting this year, but fizzled out at the end.Being a Philadelphian, I am used to the disappointment.

This Aaron Rodgers,though,looked like he was having fun playing today. He had a messed up calf, then he goes off the field in the cart. Hearts sink. Out comes Rodgers a little later.

Joe Buck just said that” It’s a well-run machine here in Green Bay.”

I agree!

Christmas Lights

One of the perks of walking the dogs at night right now is, despite that it’s cold out right now, folks have Christmas lights up.

At my age, I remember the lights my father would put up on our row home porch every year.The tradition was, he put them up in time for my Mom’s December 18th birthday: it was the traditional flip of the first switch.We loved it. It was tradition, it celebrated Mom’s birthday, my birthday and the most important birthday,Christmas.As I got older and my nephew Greg was born on December 19th, I took my toddler nephew Matt out through the neighborhood to ooh and ah at all the lights.

Now I walk the girls at night and there are blown up reindeer and snow globes and God knows what else adorning lawns in neighborhoods.The lights are no longer simple,in fact some of them are LED giving a whole different glow to Christmas.I always look and admire the handiwork that I see in front of me, no matter the amount of kitsch in it, because I remember the lights of the row home 50 years ago and the warm memories with it.

Nothing like it in the world.

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Eagles vs. Packers

Down here at Undisclosed watching my Eagles getting spanked by the Green Bay Packers. The score, at the time of this writing is Green Bay 53 and Eagles 13.

We have a little family dissension in this game, as my nephew Matt roots his heart out for Green Bay and my Sister in law Dawn and her husband are big Eagles fans.She has posted the shot of her husband and their dog watching the game.

I honestly would have been shocked if the Eagles had won this, but they obviously aren’t. I can hardly wait to hear sports radio when we come up for the city in the morning.Should be pretty interesting.

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Memories

One of the things I’ll miss about living at our current spot is a tree.

In front of the house, there is a Japanese maple.Nice and cooling in the summer, and vibrant in color now, we have had many memories of that tree.

In honor of my nephew Matthias’ birthday today, the one I will share with you is this. My late niece was in town with my brother and their family, and Matthias, Sandy, and I had a good day at Mom’s, playing whiffle ball in the back driveway. Afterward, Matthias, who loved the tree, would climb up in it, and we have a picture of Matthias and Sandy and myself at the tree, with young Matt actually in the tree.

Below this post is a picture of the current beautiful color out front in the tree.It’s bittersweet that I won’t see it next year, but the memories, happily, will go with me.

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The Beat goes on….

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Another Thursday night.

Well, not another. It’s November. My oldest nephew turns 27 on Tuesday.I remember when Matt and I were best of buddies, and I could carry him on my shoulders, and we played “zoomie cars”.**sigh**

I can’t believe it.

I also can’t believe I have reached a kind of short timer status on the job. It’s surreal as I sit here and think about that.

Fortunately, Zush has a vet appointment with our new vet on Saturday morning as we march forward with maintaining good health for all of us as we approach our new life. It’s kind of weird to even type that, but in a good way.

Off to Undisclosed in the mid-day, hanging out with ourselves,and our new neighbors, and getting ourselves immersed in a different way of life.I am praying it’ll be a smooth transition for all of us.

Weather or not

It was my nephew Matt’s interest in weather that peaked mine.

He studied it and as he did,all of a sudden my weather report, once a glance at a television screen or ear toward the radio, became the NOAA weather page on the computer or the weather channel or weather underground.Thanks to Matt’s interest I learned to pay attention.

The reason I am writing this post is that down here at Undisclosed, it currently is raining and the forecasted for rain through tomorrow.This weekend, traditionally, has a wine festival here this weekend because for a good deal of folks in these parts, it’s a holiday weekend.Normally they would have it at the Cape May Lewes ferry grounds.Evidently, parking was an issue, so they moved the location this year.

They moved it to a large open field off of the Garden State parkway.That’s going to be good. Torrential downpours, and although they have tents, I was never so glad I am not into wine. Schlepping around in mud is not my idea of a good time.

Stay dry and classy, Cape May!

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Fantasy for who?

My preference of sport is baseball, but it’s the time of year for fantasy football.

**fantasy?personally? It’s not MY fantasy…lol**

The last time I participated in fantasy football was back in 2000 and since I was the “old girl” in the office back then, guys were willing to give me tutorials on who to pick and why I am picking them. The only football I ever willingly followed ever in my life was Penn State football, so I knew HOW the game was played. I just didn’t know HOW the point system went. I managed to make it through the season back then, and although I wasn’t in the basement, well, it wasn’t too memorable for me.

One of my buddies, Denise, was spreading word of a fantasy football fundraiser for her son’s hockey team so I figured I’d give it a shot again.The only thing now is that it is a suicide pool so you can’t take the same team twice.I took Green Bay last week and won.I took Kansas City this week.My guide now is my nephew Matt, who is helping me navigate the football pool.

Stay tuned.

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Good and tired.

It has been so sweet having Kat and Matt here this weekend.

Part of it is, I think,Jim and I forget how it is to be around young folks-Kat and Matt are in their mid twenties.It is good to have fresh blood running around once in a while. It is also glad because we love them both and I miss Matthias.He has been out of the city for a while now.

We’ve been out sightseeing and taking the girls out, and in short, we have been very busy. This is a good thing.

Good night.

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Feeling my age

My nephew Matthias and his wife are out tonight at a concert at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, which is outside of the city.The group they are seeing is called “Chevelle”.

Uh, ok?** the old aunt has no clue**

The last concert I went to at the Tower theater was in 1980 and I went with my friend Cindy to go and see….Carly Simon.

I know that if I really wanted to, I could go to Wikipedia or You-Tube…

No thanks…rather go to sleep.

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Trying…

The lack of sleep we had on Sunday night/Monday morning has still not released me from its’ grip…that really stinks!

The weather has decided to go back to summer, so of course the humidity adds with wearing us all down,and what’s funny is that even going to bed early, well, it’s like I always say: “I’ll never get that time back again.” We keep kicking though, and can not wait until the end of the week when we get a chance to decompress.

What time I do have free during this week, though, I am getting ready to have my nephew Matt and Kat, his wife, down to Undisclosed Deux. They had been down once in the old house, and we are really looking forward to seeing them this weekend.It’s amazing when you think you have a stocked up house, looking at it with a visitor’s eye, well, it’s lie, whoa…major shopping to do.

Here’s hoping you all have a good week. As for us? We’re going to sleep!**wink**

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It Was Thirty Years Ago Today**

** with apologies to Lennon and Mc Cartney

It was thirty years ago today,
The city of Philly started giving me pay….

Nah, I can’t twist those lyrics that badly, especially since I like that song.

But…

On this day in 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service.On this day in 1977, NASA sent the Voyager II, an unmanned 1,820 pound spacecraft into orbit.On this day in 1984, I became a full-time employee of the city of Philadelphia.

Thirty years.**shaking my head**

I can’t believe it.

I am truly blessed, especially in the day of companies relocating, folding, high unemployment….

My nephews Matthias and Gregory weren’t even born yet.My parents were both alive and I was living in the home I grew up in.I was probably**gulp** 80 pounds thinner and a lot more optimistic.I know I was scared. I left a small publishing house to work for the city.And now, thirty years later, I work a half city block away from the home of that first post college job.

Full circle? Yup, it certainly seems that way.

I thank my brother Bob for kicking my butt into getting this job.Without this job I’d probably not be here writing this blog.My medical plan from this job got me into a protocol for my first cancer.Without it, I might have died.When I started this job, my Mom asked me to call her in the morning when I got to my desk so she didn’t have to worry about me here in the city. Toward the waning years of her life, I called her every morning to make sure she was ok.The circle of life strikes again.

It’s funny.I appreciate being my age, but that melancholia can envelope you when you stop to think about back then.I’d like to think I have learned from my mistakes I have made, and with what I have learned, stare the future down and say ,”Here I come.”

Thank God!

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180 more days…

…and I,hopefully, will see 55.

Where did the time go?

When will it get here?

I get torn,especially when this past month, I had Matt Miziorko get married and Greg Miziorko graduate college and get accepted to graduate school.

Then, in the next breath, I think about getting in the office tomorrow and the job of public transportation and its’ navigation, irate taxpayers, and summer weather.The three in tandem are not my favorite trio.

One of my best buddies, Kate, threw me a birthday,rather,a half birthday party around thirty-three years ago.Egad, as I remember it like it was yesterday.She made me feel good, because having a birthday on the shortest day of the year always sucked. You were cheated in sunlight.Not that her birthday was too much better than mine because hers is in February. Boy, they were good times.

Here’s to many more!

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Missing my Pop

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Tomorrow will be 16 years without my Pop on father’s day.

Sixteen birthdays, Zush, Kasia, marriage, passing of my mom, graduation of grandsons and Matthias’ wedding…all without Dad. When I got married there are pictures of me crying, and although my brother Bob was loving enough to stand in,there were no bones about it. I missed Pop.

I live to think he is here looking over my shoulder as I type this, and I find special peace in the fact that he would have loved Undisclosed, as he was a navy man and loved the water.

I miss you Daddy, every day, and will love you forever.

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It’s hell being a social butterfly.

That is, when you are used to doing your own thing, on your own time or your employer’s time, and, quite frankly, life is routine.

For two weekends we had Jim’s surprise party, Mother’s day, time with my mother-in-law at the casino,a breast cancer walk, Gregory’s college graduation from Temple and Matt and Kat’s wedding to wrap it up with. Oh yeah, top that off with a chaser of food shopping and three loads of laundry yesterday.

Friday we are back to Undisclosed. We wonder if it misses us, because we sure missed it.It’ll be nice, as great as all these life events are, to get back to schedule.

Wedding in the family

My nephew Matthias is marrying his fiancée Kat tomorrow.

Whoa!

Where did time go?

I was twenty-eight when Matt was born.We have been through”zoomie cars”, stray cats, the family, school, the shore, my cancers,the National Weather Service, Atlantic City train trips,college acceptance….and now, a wedding.Hell, it’s only a nephew:he’s not even my son, although we always were close.

I wish the two of them all the love and patience they need for a happy and long marriage, and above all, may they never feel, as my late father-in-law used to quote:

“Marriage isn’t a word,it’s a sentence.”LOL

Congratulations!

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A little afraid

I am working a traditional 9 to 5 shift today, since I will be heading westward to attend my nephew Matt’s wedding to his fiancée Kat.

In the meantime,it’s due to rain today.BIG TIME…I just read the weather and there is also the chance of a thundershower.I can only hope that if it does happen, it’s when Jim is home. Zush, who is 12,is an old girl like me. As she has gotten older, thunder scares her to no end. Fortunately we are not to point of wearing thunder shirts or medicating her, but it’s rough to think of what her day will be like today.

It’s rough being a dog mom: I can only imagine what you real moms go through.

Happy Friday!

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Weekend off

Thanks to the fine quality of service Comcast delivers, I couldn’t blog yesterday due to
“Circumstances beyond our control”…

Argh!

Jim’s surprise party went off without a hitch on Saturday and I think it was safe to say a good time was had by all.The food was fabulous, and I had gotten the party trays from Jim’s employer, T&F deli. The trays were really impressive.

Sunday morning I did a breast cancer walk and got a sunburnt nose to boot. You would think I would ALWAYS remember sunscreen after the last go round at the dermatologist!In the afternoon, we went with Jim’s sister Kathy and my mother-in-law to Harrah’s casino in Chester.It was cool to hang together-we don’t get a chance to do that enough.

Now, this week, I have my godson Greg’s college graduation on Wednesday night and my nephew Matthias’ wedding. I am looking forward to both events, as both of them have grown into such men and I am so proud of both of them.

But I’m not going to lie.

I want to go “home”…I am so looking forward to getting back down to Undisclosed Deux.

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April Showers

My nephew Matt is marrying his fiancée’ Kat next month. Yesterday was the shower. It was the reason I was not with the family down at Undisclosed.

We traveled out to Mount Joy PA and the shower was really nice. As I watched Kat opening the gifts, I kept thinking, hmm, I’d like one of those and two of these….but in the grand scheme of things, I am very happy with my Jim and my girls-all the new “toys” in the world wouldn’t have me trade.

Congratulations Kat and Matt! Love you both!
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It’s Veterans’ Day

…and although I have no immediate member in the family who serves, there are plenty
of guys I know, who are basically sons of friends of mine.I also had my grandfather,
my Dad and uncles who have served. To those of you still serving, thank you for the
security and safety you give us and I keep you all in my prayers. To those in the
heavenly corps. I salute you.

…and it’s also my nephew Matt’s birthday. It seems as though it was only yesterday
I went with him and his dad and Zush for road trips out to Millersville for Zush to
get some serious squirrel chasing in.Now he’s got a good woman by his side, a decent
job, and hopes for a great future.Happy birthday Matthias. I have never been so proud
of you.

Sto Lat!
Bog Zaplac!

Feeling my age

My nephew, Matthias, turns 25 today.

Twenty five.

A lot has happened over those 25 years. Matt was joined by his brother Greg almost two years after he made his debut.

A lot of us have gotten older.Some folks are no longer with us. A lot of autumns have come and gone, and with it good and not so good times. But that’s life. It makes me aware of one thing, especially today.

I love you, Matt, and am proud of the man you’ve become. No Cioci could be prouder!

Sto lat!

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Hurricane Sandy

I only had one niece.

Her name was Alexandra, and she passed away in September of 1997.

My two nephews here, Matt and Greg, used to call her Sandy.

I don’t think Greg remembers her that much, but Matt and I chatted about her the other day, and about how we missed her.

I am hoping “Sandy” will cut us some slack and send her namesake further up the coast, leaving Undisclosed in one piece.

**Fingers crossed**

Getting older

My nephew, Matthias, received his Masters’ degree last night from Millersville university.

My Matt.
My Matt who I used to carry on my shoulders and bounce around to make him the Penn State Blue Band drum major.
My Matt, who I used to play zoomie cars with.
My Matt, who loved my fur children as much as I did.
My Matt, who I used to take for walks to see Christmas lights.

He’s grown up on me.

Consider me one proud Cioci ( Polish for Aunt) who wishes only the best for a great guy!

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Holy Saturday

Well, after cleaning out Mom’s closet today to the tune of seven black trash bags, well, suffice it to say I put a dent in the process: hard to do with a heavy heart.

My night was capped off with Greg , my nephew, and my brother Bob, and dying Easter eggs. We even had my nephew Matt on the speaker phone for a bit , and that made it nice . Eggs are dyed, kielbasa is ready, now on to Holy Saturday!!

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Another Friday Five

With this being a really, really rough week for me, I had to dig deep for this week’s five things I am thankful for.

1. In thinking back to Mom’s last four years, I am thankful I still have my mind, although I know there are friends of mine who would argue that fact…lol. Watching someone you love and care about slip into dementia is a horrible thing. I thank God for every day that I can sit at this computer and put thoughts together in my head and they make it out to the screen in front of me.

2.I am thankful for (almost) all the men in my life, past and present. Shingleman leads the way, but my brother Bob, nephews Matt and Greg,” Mr.Mel”, my honorary father-in-law,JP, who became a friend from the moment I met him professionally but look forward to holding our friendship as we get a little older, Jamie Moyer, who although he is in Colorado, I had the pleasure of talking to him once on a corner in Center City and he really, really put class in the definition of athlete, and the guys I have loved and lost, or they have loved  and lost me….either way, I am wiser and stronger person for having the experience of knowing them, …I could go on and on…you get my drift, right?

3. I am thankful that I have a clean, made bed upstairs waiting for me to go to sleep in. Some folks don’t.

4. I am thankful for you all who read this blog: it is so uplifting to know someone is actually reading this and so far, almost all of you seem to think this is pretty good sometimes and I am not totally losing my mind yet….just kidding.

5.Butter krak and butter creme, hell, even coconut creme Easter eggs…after all, doesn’t chocolate solve all the worlds problems?  😉

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marian

So in the meanwhile…

…thanks to my bud Kate, an inhaler, and some benzonate pearls, the cough is a little less choking. It is a pleasure to only sporadically be choking and perhaps just saving a stayfree for another day…

…and on another day that is coming up,…My oldest nephew, Matt, will be celebrating his 24th birthday on Friday. Matt has turned into a helluva guy who I am so proud to say he is my nephew.He literally has gotten himself together and is ready to take it on the road. It was a joy watching Matt through the years, and I know he will be at peace in his life. He is the best guy I know, and I love him very much. He knows the door is always open to him where ever I am.