Five Years

Five years have passed by so very quickly. And yet, every July 3, I recall that day, vividly.

I recall the surreal, foggy morning in Saugatuck.  I was camping with my friends, and decided to call my dad for the first time that weekend.  The calls went unanswered.  I recall seeing “The Devil Wears Prada” with my friends because it had rained that morning, and not being able to enjoy the movie because I kept checking my phone to see if he had called me back.  And then, after the movie, getting the news that tore through my heart.

The ride back to camp, and arriving to find my tent taken down and my car already packed.  I will never, ever forget the kindness and love from my friends as they worked so hard to get me out of there as fast as possible.

Getting my friend Rafael to drive my car so I didn’t have to drive it myself was another blessing.  I don’t remember much of anything from that trip.  I just wanted to get home.

Sitting in my mom’s kitchen that night, hearing fireworks going off in the distance.  The low thuds of each explosion marking the celebration of the holiday that was, on that day, dead to me.  What was there to celebrate?  I was mourning. Independence Day would never be the same for me, and hasn’t since.

The planning, meetings, dinners brought by from friends and family.  Lots of decisions, and lots and lots of tears.  That was all part of it, too.

As rough as that day and the days that followed were, it somehow made our family that much stronger.  We never broke under the pressure and kept on going.

There was immense sadness, but also immense relief.  Dad had suffered for so long, and by the end of his life was so miserable, that he made us miserable, too.  I guess what kept us going (and sane) through all of that was knowing that he was finally at peace.  And consequently, we, too, were at peace.

I wrote about all of this five years ago, so I don’t want to re-hash every detail… but in the five years that have passed, so much has happened.  My nieces were born, and have given such joy to our lives.  How I wish he could have met and known Abby and Emily.  Part of me believes he does know them, and is watching over them closely; but had he been alive to meet them I know he would have loved them dearly.

But on the other end of the spectrum, my uncle– my dad’s brother– is nearing the end of his battle with cancer.  Unlike dad, his suffering is lingering.  I hate what’s happening to him, and how cancer has robbed him of not only his ability to live his life, but his will to live.  Once again, when the time comes, we will have sorrow, but also thankful he is no longer suffering.

So this year I am spending the holiday with my family.  I’m sure we’ll share some tears, but many more happy times.  And we will celebrate Independence Day.  Because although I thought it was dead to me five years ago, eventually, I have to move on.

Dad, wherever you are– I love you.  You’ll always be in my heart.

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I Love New York – 33-29!


Tonight, the New York State Senate passed the bill allowing full GAY MARRIAGE in the state.  This is incredibly significant for equal civil rights, because the precedence set by this passage could pave the way for other states to pass the same legislation.

The bill was passed with provisions protecting religious organizations if they wished to not allow gay marriage, or to refuse couples from using their buildings and/or halls for such celebrations.  These provisions absolutely MAKE SENSE, because they are perfectly within their right to disallow such things under the proclivity of religious freedom.  The provisions greatly helped the bill to pass, and the bill passed with bi-partisan support.

It hit me earlier today that this historic vote falls as the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969 approaches.  That this event is taking place now, on the eve of that anniversary, in the same state where it occurred, is incredibly moving.

I created the above image just as the vote was taking place.  The moment it passed, it became my Facebook profile picture, and within minutes, many of my other friends started to use it as their picture.

Feel free to pass it around.  And proclaim your love for New York loud and proud!

Happy Pride, indeed!

 

 

 

 

Re-Launch: Stop calling me!! (Unless I like you!)

I found this great post that I wrote ‘way back in 2005 that I thought you might enjoy again.  To this day, anytime my phone rings and it’s an 800 number, I remember this ridiculous conversation.

And yes, he truly did say, “You are only harassing yourself.”  

 

Whenever my phone rings, I check the caller ID. If it’s an 800 number, I usually have a good idea who is calling, so I refuse to answer. More than likely it’s yet another telemarketing company.

Yes, I know about the National Do-Not-Call Registry, but I never got around to adding my number to it. Now I’m paying the price. I get calls every day from various outfits offering me a chance to “Win a million dollars by entering our contest” or “Get a quote for siding on your home” or “Refinance your mortgage.”

Of course, most of these calls are recordings, but the “actors” on the other end have recorded their voices in such a quasi-conversational style that it borders on sickening.

Occasionally, however, I will get a call from a live person, and usually this person is not from the United States. They always SAY they are calling from the United States, but the heavy Indian accent tells me otherwise.

The other day, I made the mistake of picking up one of those calls. I’ve seen this number repeatedly on my Caller ID, so I wanted to know just what the heck they wanted. I also wanted to ask that they remove my number from their list, which they are SUPPOSED to do, but rarely ever follow through.

So I answered the call.

Me: Hello.

Telemarketer With Thick Indian Accent: Hello Sir?

Me: Yes.

TWTIA: I am calling because you have been selected to participate in a contest for…

Me: Hold on just one minute, please.

TWTIA: …and if you act now…

Me: EXCUSE ME!

TWTIA: Yes, sir?

Me: I have asked you at least once before to please remove my number from your calling list and you have failed to do so. Please do not call me anymore. I am not interested.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Why do I need to tell you why? I am simply asking you to no longer call me. I get 5-6 calls a DAY from you, and I am not interested in anything you have to say.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: Are you deaf? I just said why. Now stop calling me.

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (getting extremely irritated) Listen, I am not going to argue with you. You are harassing me. I am not interested in your products or services. Now STOP CALLING ME!

TWTIA: But why?

Me: (now totally angry) STOP CALLING ME!!!!!

I hang up the phone.

The phone rings AGAIN.

I can’t believe this guy. Is he SERIOUS?

I click to answer and hang up again.

It rings AGAIN.

I hang up again.

IT RINGS AGAIN.

I go to Google and find the National Do-Not-Call Registry. I sign up my phone number– ALL of my phone numbers. This shit has got to stop.

IT RINGS AGAIN.

I pick up the phone.

I answer.

Me: What part of STOP CALLING ME do you not understand!?!?

TWTIA: But Why?

Me: I’m through with you. I want your supervisor.

TWTIA: I am the supervisor.

Me: Then you are an idiot. Why would I buy anything from you? Why would I even listen to anything you have to say? Is this how you do business– to harass people?

TWTIA: You are only harassing yourself.

Me: That doesn’t even make sense! Stop calling me. I will not answer the phone any more. I’ll find a way to report you if you continue. Goodbye.

I hang up the phone.

It rings once more and then I never hear from them again.

I have no idea what the product or service was… but these FREAKS are out there, people. If you haven’t done so yet, go directly to the National Do Not Call Registry right now and add ALL of your phone numbers– Work, Cell, and Home– to the list. It will take 30 days for everything to get squared away, but after that, if you get calls like this one, you can report them and they can be fined for harassment. Don’t put up with what I did. Do it now.

Red Red Line

Red Red Wine
Image via Wikipedia

Preface:  I have a CTA tracker app on my Android phone, and on the menu, the CTA Red Line shows up as “Red Red Line.”  I’m not sure why this is, but I can’t help but think of the classic Neil Diamond/UB40 tune “Red Red Wine” every time I see it.  So one day, I came up with some words for that song:

Red red line
Riding the train
Homeless and businessmen
Riding together

Red red line
Going to work
Everyone looks as if
They just woke up
They just woke up

Pay my fare
Catch the train
Monotony of the morning
Read a book
Read the news
It’s the same thing every day…

Red red line
I hope I find a seat
Why does this train move slow
I’ll be late for work
I’ll be late for work!

Do you have more verses for the song?  Add them in the comments.  How about the rap portion of the UB40 version?  That’d be funny. 🙂

Wisconsin Union Protests 2011

The protesting that has been happening in Wisconsin’s state capital, Madison, has gripped the nation.  I was in Madison this past weekend and made my way to the Capital to see what was going on.  The building was closed, but there were still crowds of people around, chanting, banging drums, and speaking out against the current Governor’s early reign of tyranny.

Below is a link to the set of photos I took.  The crowd was rather light, since I was there on a Friday– but they were just as passionate as ever.

http://rickaiello.smugmug.com/SpecialEvents/Politics/Wisconsin-Union-Protests/16113600_qHBbc