A Missing Picture, A Mean Letter, but Thank You, and Here’s to 2009!


The Dude on the Right

I have been getting a bit sentimental lately, coming on Christmas (did I ever
mention that I really love Robert Downey Jr’s version of
and him in

"Iron Man"
?), it’s been a season of happiness, sharing it with my new BFF as
well as old friends, and a season of sadness, being the first Christmas after
both my


died. In preparation for this blog post, well, I tried to do some quick
looking through old family photos for a picture of the Christmas tree we, or
mostly Mom, would put up, but sadly I couldn’t find one of the tree, a beautiful
tree – an artificial tree, white instead of green, some forty years old, with
some ornaments that were probably older than that, and Mom always put bubble
lights on the tree, and as kids we would each pick a bubble light, hoping ours
was the first to bubble. It also had normal-er sized bulbs, not those tiny bulbs
most trees have, some were blinky bulbs, and back in the day we would have the
train set up on the floor, on a sheet of plywood, that would drive the dog nuts!
In my searching I did, however, find some pictures of my first girlfriend, my
first car, Dad smoking a stogie, my fraternity brother Ken, one that my
brother’s girlfriend would get a kick out of, and some pictures of me I hope no
one ever see. I also found a copy of a letter I wrote to my sister that even I
have to admit was kind of mean, but sadly, no picture of that Christmas tree.
It’s not that they don’t exist, I know they do, and if I recall correctly, we
had a picture of it on the collage of photos at my Mom’s funeral, but I don’t
have the photos from that collage, and I don’t have days to search through the
boxes of family photos and negatives that I have, to find one.  Yet.

without getting uber-sentimental, in the few days before Christmas this year,
all I can give you right now is a picture of my Christmas tree (filled with
ornaments thanks to my Mom), and wish all of you, no matter what you celebrate,
a nice end to 2008, and a 2009 filled with more joyness than sadness, more
loveness than hateness, and more smileness than frown-ness.

2008 has been a year of weirdness, but thankfully to all of you who visit,
and my friends, and my BFF, it’s also been a year of happiness through it all!

Here’s to 2009, and if it goes as I hope, it will really be a year of change!

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

The Only Change We Can Truly Believe In is The Change of Seasons


The Dude on the Right

to Barack Obama on winning the nomination for President of the United States,
and kudos to John McCain for giving what might be the most gracious concession
speech ever.  In an election season that has gone on way too long, where I
thank God I live in the Chicago area which limited the amount of campaign adds
on my TV (I visited Ohio, and TV really sucked without TiVo to fast-forward you
through the crap), now we move on, and wonder what "change" can really be

I found the "change" concept sort of inspiring when Barack
originally adopted it at the beginning of his candidacy, but then, wouldn’t you
know, as other candidates realized "change" became a buzz-word, suddenly Hillary
Clinton adopted the word as her own, and then, low and behold, John McCain did
the same.  It didn’t matter that Barack adopted the word first, all that
mattered was that now everyone was about change. The thing is, as much as change
is professed, it’s easier to talk about doing it than actually accomplishing it.

And so, whether or not Barack Obama can really bring about change we can believe
in, after three days of 70 degree days in November, here in Chicago, when back
in college some of us would have blown off three days of classes to catch the
last sunny rays of the year by hanging out on the roof, I at least took a couple
of walks near the dude-pad and realized there is only one aspect of change you
can always believe in, and that is the change of seasons, maybe a little more
pronounced in a place like Chicago.

As I took those walks, looking at a
retention pond that is changing to hibernation mode for an upcoming winter, I
thought about things earlier this year, when that pond was barren, and I would
walk past it, reflecting on the passing of Dad on the Right last January, and
2008 was looking like a strange year.  Then spring and summer came, the
pond blossomed with new life, and suddenly I reconnected with a friend from my
past who has now become my BFF.  Fall came, Mom on the Right passed away,
and as I looked at the pond the other day, and took the picture accompanying
this blog, it didn’t make me sad that things were dying, it made me smile that
as some things that have changed have made me sad, other things that have
changed just make me smile.

Mother Nature knows how to do change right, so
that every season is beautiful.  I wonder if there is any way politicians
can learn from Mom.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

Reviews Are Coming Soon, For Now It’s About Pumpkins and Trees!


The Dude on the Right

It’s a weird thing to go through, the death of a parent, let alone two within a
year, but sometimes weird things lead to beautiful things, reflective things,
and things you might have never done before.  Beautiful were the trees and
stars (and my BFF – as always!), reflective were a batch of 6ish hour drives
between the old country of Lorain and the new country of Chicago, and something
I’ve never done before is carve a pumpkin.  I think.

So as I’m working my
way back to normalcy, being torn if I should really buy a new MacBook Pro and
contemplating getting back into reviewing mode this weekend with the release of
the movies "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and/or "Changeling" or seeing "High
School Musical 3," these last few days I’m just working on getting back to
posting things, catching up on my TiVo, and hopefully getting a podcast done

But to keep this blog simple, let’s get to "Beautiful" and
"Reflective" first.

thought about trying to quantify how many times I’ve driven between Chicago and
Lorain (Lorain is in the state of Ohio for those of you who might not know) over
the years, but in simplest terms it has been at least five times a years for the
last 22 years, with that number increasing in the past few years.  I’d say
it’s a long drive, but really it’s only about five or six hours, depending on
potty breaks, and many a time I have used those hours as personal therapy for a
variety of reasons.  People ask why I don’t fly home, but in reality, how
much time am I really saving by flying?  You’re supposed to get to the
airport at least an hour and half before your flight, it’s about 45 minutes of
flying time, and if you factor in airport delays, sitting on the tarmac, having
to either get picked up at the airport or rent a car, and then the half hour
drive to the old homestead, in the end, I’ve always found driving to be the
prudent mode of travel, with the only wrinkle being when the Lake Michigan snow
machine rears its ugly head, dumping snow into the Indiana snowbelt.  The
odd things is that in all of those travels I never made that trip to Lorain
during the height of the change of seasons in the fall, when the trees were at
their brilliant colors and travel was a little lighter because the trip wasn’t
during a holiday season.  But as things worked out, as my mom’s health was
fading, I found myself, for a change, on the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike
as the colors of the trees seemed to be peaking.  As stressful as the times
were, between the travel to Lorain knowing it would be for the passing of my
mom, to the quick trip back to Chicago after she died to button some things up
when the trees were brilliant (and I’m not advocating trying to take a picture
with your camera phone while you are driving, but hey, they were some colorful
trees), and then driving back to Ohio to bury my mom, during a cold Ohio night,
with the constellation Orion being utterly striking, rising over the eastern
horizon, so much so that I felt bad keeping it to myself and not waking my BFF
to see it, you know, sometimes beauty, wonder, and even pumping gas in the cold
air can ease a stressful mind, just when it needs it.

And then came pumpkins.

funeral had come and gone, but my nephew, niece, and family were still in town,
and everyone needed something to do.  I reverted back to normalcy for them
– seeing a movie, which sounds bizarre for some folks, but generally worked for
all of us at the various holiday times we would get together.  The crappy
part is that the movie choices during the weekend of my mom’s funeral were crap,
but thankfully my BFF was there to save the day.  Well, at first she laid
an egg, suggesting bowling, but who knew "bowlers" wouldn’t go bowling if they
didn’t have their own equipment, i.e. balls, bags, shoes, towels, etc., to bowl
with.  So when my BFF (and I) suggested going bowling instead of a movie,
that suggestions crashed quicker than the Hindenburg.  Then my BFF
suggested getting some pumpkins, carving them, and then maybe a dinner, and
wouldn’t you know it, as complicated as pumpkin picking can sometimes be
(especially when the original destination doesn’t have any more pumpkins in
their patch), somehow pumpkin carving is easier, thanks to those pumpkin carving
kits readily available at a Walgreens near you.

so, after a quick trip to a different, dying, pumpkin patch, various sizes of
pumpkins were secured, goop was scooped out of the innards, intricate carvings
were attempted as well as some not so intricate, and as my sister and I
reminisced about pumpkin carving, well, both of us realized that our family
never attempted it, and that there might have been a time, when we were maybe 8
to 12 years old, when we tried to carve pumpkins at our friend’s house down the
street, and if so, there is no way any of those carvings were as cool as those
done by our family, with stencils and appropriate cutting tools, done that
Saturday, the Saturday after my mom was buried, when our family didn’t go and
see a movie, but instead, carved pumpkins.

And it was cool.

Tomorrow should
be a podcast, this weekend should be a movie review or two, but for now it’s all
about getting back to some semblance of normalcy, even if normalcy is now
without being able to call your mom on a Saturday morning, at 9:15, when you
always do.  And then comes that day when you delete "Mom and Dad" from your
phone.  I guess that’s another story for another blog, but for now normalcy is the changing of the seasons and carving pumpkins, with family.


That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

A New Chapter Begins… Mom on the Right is Okay


The Dude on the Right

death certificate reads "Time of Death: 11:55 PM" and the date of her death was
Monday, October 20, 2008. Actually, I’m not really sure the exact time on the
death certificate, because I haven’t actually seen it, and technically what is
written is wrong even though "officially" correct, but for me my mom will always
have passed away on Saturday, October 18th, at 3:32 PM.

This will
be a long blog post.

It was just over nine months ago that my dad died. Simply put, he was done.
After 78+ years of fighting multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor, thalamic
syndrome, a slight stroke, and a cavalcade of other crap, he was just tired and,
even though this sounds weird, he opted to just let his body die. He entered the
hospice center and a few days later, well, Dad on the Right had passed away, but
not before my sister and I got to see him one last time, which I would like to
say was a lovely, serene scene, but when the body dies over a few days, as
sometimes happens, the visual aspect can be a little jarring. Seeing dad,
though, hours before he passed, was nothing like the experience of hanging with
my mom for the last four days of her life.

But as difficult, emotional, and visually/auditorially disturbing those days
might have been, at 3:32 PM on October 18th, Mom on the Right set my
heart at ease.

You see, Mom wasn’t really ready to die at first, I think, but her body was
finally giving out. She smoked for years, eventually was diagnosed with
emphysema and had some partial blockage requiring a stent, and nowadays all of
that seems to be lumped into something called COPD. Then a few years ago she was
diagnosed with lung cancer, and even though the end was going to eventually
come, she kept up the fight. But Mom didn’t want to die in a hospital or a
hospice center – nope, if she was going to go, well, it was going to be at home,
so she ended up in home hospice, resting comfortably for the past few months in
her easy chair. Then, a few weeks ago, she became increasingly tired (I could
tell because she wasn’t checking or replying to any e-mails), and as my brother
and sister rotated duties caring for her, and from the talk of the hospice
nurses, mom’s time was coming, and my turn came to return to the old country,
Lorain, OH, to take care of her for a spell.

When I arrived she was tired, but still had her wits about her. When she
would have her short bursts of energy we would have quick conversations about
the upcoming election, the Cleveland Browns, how she still can’t stand the
manager of the Cleveland Indians, how Lorain has gone to shit, and she doesn’t
really like Rachael Ray but still watched her show on The Food Network. But as
the body goes, so does the mind, and as a day went on Mom started to become
confused, her eyes started to give her problems focusing, and in my down time I
re-read a couple of times the "Crossing the Creek" guide the hospice center
leaves with their "families" to help them understand the things that will be
happening, and in the end, it is all about helping the person about to pass to
make that journey to their next destination.

So I found myself covering the curtains with an extra blanket because the
light was bothering Mom’s eyes. I didn’t watch TV because the glare and images
on the screen bothered her. I brought Mom’s CD player into the living room where
she rested, and luckily I had a way to play her iPod through it (yup, the nurses
at the cancer center were duly impressed an 80 year old woman listened to her
music through an iPod!). At times Mom seemed scared, at times she seemed alone,
at times she had a burst of sadness yet seemed coherent things were coming to an
end (Mom was upset she never made a list of organizations she wanted to donate a
few dollars to at her passing, so we worked on the list together for the minutes
she could), and at times she just seemed, well, pissed.

And through it all, the only thing I could think to simply say is "Mom, it’s
gonna be okay."

Saturday came, and at first it seemed like another day of bizarreness, with
the morning having a slight episode. But then, in the afternoon, Mom woke up
again, looked at me sitting across from her, and I went to sit next to her.

She wasn’t stirring, she wasn’t angry, she didn’t seem sad. I held her hand.
I asked, "Do you need anything?" She looked at me, smiled, and said, "No, Andy,
I’m okay. I’m okay."

Mom went back to sleep after that moment, at 3:32 PM on Saturday, October 18th.

For the next 56ish hours mom’s body worked to finish the dying process. There
was the incoherent talk, the "death rattle" (which I had to keep reminding my
sis that it’s worse for us to hear – not so much for mom – at least so said the
"Crossing the Creek" booklet and mom’s nurse), and sometime around 11:40 PM on
Monday, October 20th, Mom tried to get up one last time, Mom’s
breathing had stopped, my sister said she couldn’t feel Mom’s pulse, and it was
about ten minutes later when the hospice nurse showed up, she tried to find a
pulse, hear a heartbeat, and get a blood pressure reading, and a little before
midnight she pronounced my Mom had passed away.

I’ve never seen anyone die before, and "What is a normal way to die?" might
be a blog for another day, but for me, my Mom died at 3:32 PM on Saturday,
October 18, 2008.  After 82 years she was finally "Okay."  It just
took her body a little while to catch up.

Mom on the Right is now "Okay."

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!! 
Mom, I love you!!!


The Old Country With my BFF, Back to Normal Programming, Spock Philosophy, and an iPhone Update.


The Dude on the Right

As you may have noticed there haven’t been any new posting since nearly a week
ago, and I have to admit that part of it was some laziness, part of it was being
a busybody, and part of it was caused by a quick trip to the old country, where
my BFF got to meet some of the members of my family. Yup, you can guess it, they
all like her more than they like me! Oh well. I’ll talk more about that trip
when I talk to Stu Gotz for our "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast tomorrow, and
hopefully I’ll have my nephew along for this Thursday’s podcast so I can explain
to him why car doors do not need to be opened for dudettes anymore.

For some
quick notes about the trip home, though, some of it was tad melancholy as my mom
isn’t feeling too well, and I would have preferred my BFF’s first visit being
under a different light, but on the other hand, mom’s meeting my BFF seemed to
lift mom’s spirits, especially when she could give my BFF her two word, blunt,
synopsis, of the old country. The trip was also a great time for family members
to pummel me about my lack of chivalrousness, when I was just trying to do some
recon to assess the threat assessment of our group and make sure the coast was
clear on the treacherous path from the safety of the craft store to the safety
of the dude-mobile. I risk my life for the safety of the group, just like Spock
philosophied in "The Wrath of Kahn," that "The needs of the many outweigh,"
responded by Kirk "The needs of the few," with Spock coming back, "Or the one.,"
and what happens, I get chastised for it! Some people are so ungrateful, but I’m
sorry, I digress.

The trip home also had the tech nerd in me in total withdrawal because, while
I was gone, Apple came out with their giant update for the iPhone, and although
I’m waiting for a 3g version of the phone that will hold all of my music before
I buy a new one (and from the news reports of the activation meltdowns that
occurred last Friday I’m kinda glad for that), I kept looking at my iPhone, with
its old, crappy, obsolete version of firmware, knowing it would be days before I
could have a lightsaber duel with another iPhone user, be able to "scratch my
records" like a DJ, or have a better way to organize my grocery store list. As
I’m typing this blog, though, my iPhone is doing all of its updating, and
hopefully, as opposed to those poor schlubs who had problems on Friday, maybe my
utmost patience (it is a virtue, don’t ya know?) in not pulling out my laptop
while I was at the old country, on Friday, to spend the time to upgrade it the
minute I could and ignore my BFF, will pay off. See, who says chivalry is dead?

Well, my iPhone is almost done upgrading, it’s time to get back to work, so
normal programming of Entertainment Ave! is ready to be back on track tomorrow,
with a fantastic, phenomenal, enlightening, and exciting new podcast of "Stu &
The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast. I hope.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Davidson and San Diego – I Hate You. And I Love You.


The Dude on the Right

back!  It was an Easter Weekend, and with

my Dad’s passing in January
, and my sister making her way to the cold
weather, instead of normally visiting a week earlier to avoid the holiday
traffic, well, I ventured to Ohio this Easter Weekend just in time for about 6
inches of snow to shovel.  I also changed a bathroom sink faucet, but those
are both stories for another blog or maybe a podcast.  This blog is about
basketball, and my not being able to scream at my internet screen.

You see,
for the first time in years, I wasn’t able to sit at work and waste the bosses
money, umm, my money, by paying attention to the first weekend for the NCAA
March Madness tournament.  And then, when I was able to take a look, my
picks were already looking bad.  Siena beating Vanderbilt hurt me a lot,
although it probably hurt a lot of people, except those folks who were Siena
alumni, but what really hurt in that first round was San Diego beating U Conn,
one of the teams I had in the final two.  I figured I was sort of screwed,
but who, other than San Diego fans, were actually thinking San Diego could win? 
And as my brackets started to fall, it was today that I knew I was done,
because, well, my final four is left at a final two, with one of them not
getting to my finals.

That said, Davidson College, University, whatever the
hell you are, I hate you, because my last chance for maybe a couple of big
screen TV’s, or some cash, well, was left with Georgetown.  If you had a
fun college name like Gonzaga, or a fun mascot name like the Saluki’s, or maybe
a name referenced with God (Like St. Mary’s who didn’t seem to have God on their
side losing to Miami), I would have picked you, but you were playing
Georgetown, Hoyas, and you were a 10 seed, v. a 2 seed, whom I had at least
going to the final four.  In my goofy name category, Wildcats v. Hoyas, I’m
picking a Hoya.

And I lost.

And so, pretty much, I’m done with this year’s
NCAA March Madness season.  Davidson and San Diego, you both took me out of
winning cool stuff, but with that winning I can quicklier get back to my life
after one weekend.

For me it’s one weekend and done for my NCAA Tourney picks,
and now I have to go back to the Mega Millions this week, with a jackpot of $95
Million on Tuesday.  With numbers like 65, 87, 69, 87, 96, and a Mega Ball
of 102, I know I can win.  Oh, wait, I don’t think I can pick any of those
numbers.  Maybe I’ll just go with 1,2,3,4,5 and a Mega Ball of 6.  I
think it has the same odds.

Happy March Madness!  Umm, it’s almost April.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Daylight Saving Time Just Isn’t the Same


The Dude on the Right

So a group of us got together last night and since this is the new weekend for
Daylight Saving Time, we reminisced a bit about how back in college the changing
of the clocks pretty much had two meanings – "Spring"ing forward sucked because
it was one less hour to drink, while Fall"ing backward was party time, but for
each season there was always the untold rule of pretty much doing absolutely
nothing during the afternoon except watch TV (my choice was golf) in order to
begin resetting the body clock, and then getting back to studying that night.  I told the tale of how I was late for Easter mass one
Sunday because I forget to set my clock ahead and walked in halfway through
mass, while Whammy now laments one less hour of sleep.  The Dude on the
Left sees things a little differently, namely that you shouldn’t miss out on
your hour of sleep, that you should still get your prescribed nine hours and the
hell with the rest of the day, while Stu Gotz and Mama Gotz quickly reminded The
Dude on the Left of his lack of children who don’t really grasp the concept of
time changes nor sleeping in.

Mostly Entertainment
And while I had many intentions of being very
productive today, maybe catching another movie, doing some DVD reviews, or
cleaning, when I woke up this morning, looked at the clock that said 8:15, which
really meant 9:15 because I didn’t reset it yet, I knew today was going to be
pretty much useless in terms of getting much done because I was already out of
synch with my day.  So resigned to the fact of a discombobulated Sunday, my
accomplishments have been few today, but I think I’m okay with that.  I did
watch a DVD I need to review, called "Spiral," which I’ll write about later this
week, I did get this cool Headline Animator going for our
Mostly Entertainment
on the web site (sure, it’s only on the home page right now, and here, but
I did say today was going to be useless).  Such was my afternoon.

evening is even looking even more exciting as I finally decide if Flickr will be
the site for posting all of the old family photos I am trying to scan,
archive, and get out on the web for all to see. 
I mentioned in a previous blog about enlisting Mom’s help in
identifying a batch of photos, and since I’ve finally settled on my Canon
scanner to do the job, I’ve been e-mailing her copies of the pictures, at first
just looking for simple things like who is in the photo, maybe an age or year,
but Mom has gone a step further, giving some nice back stories, like for this
picture of a baby and a dog she e-mailed me back (My Mom is so hip!): "I’m
positive that is me in the
rocker as Mother always talked about how the dog would be by my side to protect
me.  The dog’s name was Skippy.  There was another dog who was the
mascot of the Boy Scout’s Troop, and he was called Trooper.  A beautiful
dog.  His dog house was back by the garage."

My body clock should be
back to normal tomorrow, and maybe having Daylight Saving Time a few weeks
earlier isn’t so bad, especially since it looks like those of us in Chicagoland
will be breaking out of our cold spell for a week.  All I do know is that
it was so much easier to deal with time changes back in college.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Mom, You Better Stick Around for A While.


The Dude on the Right

At first I was going to blog about how I may never shop at Best Buy again,
then I was going to type a follow-up blog about how I found a new scanner
(though I’m still torn between posting pictures at Picasa or Flickr), and then I
was going to blog about my Mom not feeling well, but she better plan on sticking
around a while.  Since, though, they are all related, oh hell, let’s
intertwine them all.

The Best Buy and new scanner stories kind of fold together, so this blog
starts with my scanner buying experience.  As I mentioned in

a previous blog
my scanner shopping was necessitated by needing to scan
medium format negatives, and although liking the Epson scanner, I hated their
software.  Best Buy let me return the scanner, which was nice of them, and
then I headed to Staples who had an HP flatbed scanner that almost sounded too
good to be true, and it was.  First I was disappointed in the software they
were using (maybe I am just too used to the Photosmart S20 software and afraid
of change), but when it started to look like it would take hours to scan
negatives, well, I started to get worried that my search for a medium format
scanner under a thousand bucks was for naught.  Staples took the HP scanner
back (Yay!), but I had one more hope, a Canon flatbed scanner, and that took me
back to Best Buy.  The medium format photos in this blog were all done with
my new scanner, a Canon 8800F, and so far I am happy with it because the speed
of the scanning is acceptable for what I want to do, and their software is a
little more intuitive (but damn, I still like that Photosmart S20 format), so I
think I’m going to stick with the Canon scanner.  As such, Best Buy, don’t
expect another return from me, at least for this scanner.

But Best Buy, what the hell is with the overly-friendly associates.

In this world where they say the easiest way to get sick is to shake the hand
of someone who has a cold/flu virus, both of my trips to Best Buy were greeted
with dudes overly-enthusiastic to help me, and wanting to shake my hand. 
There I am, just looking for a scanner I already had decided I wanted to buy,
but it was "Hi, my name is Joe.  What’s your name?" as they extended their
hand for a handshake. 

Not wanting to seem like a total ass, I extended my
hand to shake theirs (how do they know I didn’t just pick my nose or scratch my
ass, and conversely, how do I know they didn’t just pick their nose or scratch
their ass), and said "I’m The Dude.  I want to buy this scanner." 
Suddenly germs were transferred, Best Buy doesn’t have an easy access to Purell,
or those wipes the grocery stores have so you can clean off the cart handle, and
now, in addition to finally hoping this scanner will do the job I want to do, I
have to remember not to let my hands get anywhere near my eyes nor mouth, much
less pick my nose.  And if these Best Buy associates are going to continue
this process of wanting to shake my hand I’m going to have to either be an
asshole when I shop there by not shaking their hands, bring my own bottle of
Purell, or just not go to Best Buy anymore and shop online where now all I have
to worry about is if the UPS driver has a cold, but can, at least, easily wash
my hands before I pick my nose.

So what does any of this have to do with my Mom and her sticking around a
while?  Well, since I have a new scanner that seems to do the job, I have
over 100 medium format negatives to scan and post somewhere, and the only person
I know who can help me identify the people, places, and things in these photos
is my Mom.  For example, from the photos I have posted for this blog, I
have no idea who the dude is with the old car, the delivery truck is for the old
Home Dairy in Lorain, OH, but I’m wondering who is John Lopatkowvich, and have I
always been spelling my Mom’s maiden name improperly, or what happened to the
"w"?  The photo of the three children, I’m assuming, are my Mom, my Uncle
Ed, and my Aunt Lily, and I’m 99.9999999% sure the cute girl in the dancing
outfit is my Mom.  As I quickly flicked through these negatives they almost
seem to encompass from about 1935 thru the late 1950’s, and Mom, if you’re
reading this, I’ll need your help to identify/place them all, and it might take
a little while.  You’d better stick around.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

I Don’t Think Mom Will Need a T-Shirt


The Dude on the Right

As I continue to use my blogging for some psychotherapy in dealing with the
death of my father last month, a couple of strange thoughts hit me the last
couple of days, some now dealing with my Mom, brought on by the death of my Dad.
And as bizarre as this sounds, I’m wondering now what should be put in her
coffin. Since she’s still in the land of the living, I suppose we should just
ask her, but hopefully she won’t need a t-shirt.

Here’s the thing: Even with
my Dad’s many health issues, he always seemed to just soldier on, but with Mom
being diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back, and sorry, no offense Mom,
most of those in my family figured Dad would stick around and Mom would be the
one to go first. But Dad had other plans, because he always had to do things his
way, and last month his time on Earth was done. As we finalized his official
obituary (I’m still working on my version), we also found/wanted some things
buried with him.

In the couple of days following his death, as we were going through things,
we found his wedding ring, which he never wore as long as I could remember, but
it was stowed away, separately, distinctively, in his box of cufflinks. It was
decided Dad would be buried with his wedding ring on, and from my perspective,
to make sure, in Heaven, he remembered he couldn’t pick up other women.

It was also decided that Dad would be buried with a puzzle, because he liked
doing puzzles. We debated about burying him with an old puzzle he had already
completed, or a new puzzle for him to work on. So there, for him, is a puzzle of
the Chicago skyline that I gave him for Christmas but he never got a chance to
work on.

And as his official obituary stated, Dad enjoyed eating chocolate. One of his
favorites was a coconut/chocolate concoction called a "haystack." Back in Lorain
there was a chocolate/candy company called "Faroh’s" that had the best
"haystacks." They were made with long strands of coconut draped in tasty
chocolate, but sadly they aren’t there anymore. Dad did have some "haystacks"
left with him, even though the newer version from another supplier look like
turds with white speckles, and I have to admit, I snuck a few out of the box
before I left the rest for him for his eternity. Though not as pretty as the
Faroh’s brand, they were tasty. Sorry, Dad, I couldn’t resist.

But it wasn’t until the other day when I realized Dad had something of mine,
for the rest of forever, and it’s simply a t-shirt.

I normally don’t wear t-shirts but with the colder winter we have been having
this year, and my wanting to be a little more stylish, on colder days I started
wearing a white t-shirt, and with the pending passing of my Dad, I packed my
arsenal of four, white t-shirts for the trip back home. It wasn’t until the
other day when it was cold outside, and I was looking for a t-shirt, that I
realized I was one short, and that Dad was wearing my t-shirt. Forever.

You see, like most people dealing with the passing of a parent, there is
always that awkward part of what to have them wearing in their coffin. Dad
wasn’t a suit man and definitely not a jean’s man. His general attire, before he
become bedridden when it was just easier to stay in a hospital gown, was a dark
pair of slacks, usually blue, a t-shirt, and a flannel shirt in the winter,
something lighter in the summer. We found the pants, found a nice shirt, but
couldn’t find a crisp, white t-shirt in his dresser, so I gave Dad one last gift
– a t-shirt.

It was weird when it donned on me that Dad was buried with my t-shirt. It
didn’t make me sad, just seemed weird. I hope Mom won’t think it weird when we
ask her if she wants anything buried with her. I doubt she’ll need a t-shirt,
but when that time comes, I might just bring a spare one anyway.

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Today I Cried a Little. For Me He’s Just “Dad.”


The Dude on the Right

We got snowed-in here, today, in Chicagoland.  Some didn’t, or maybe they
had the proper vehicle, equipped with snow-shoes, to travel the glistening,
white roadways, but I didn’t and the snow-plow people
didn’t show up until around 2PM to get the driveway in my townhouse area
cleared.  Hunkered down in my bunker I did get a little bit of work done in
the morning, but shirking some of my duties I also did some cleaning of the
Dude-Pad.  But that’s not why I cried just a little, as the title of this
blog tells.  Nope, as much as my pad needs a good cleaning, and that does
make me sad, it wasn’t until this evening when the tears came.

tonight, I figured, I would also work to clean up and delete stuff on my
computers, and that is when I came across a picture.

There I was, haphazardly
deleting stuff, when I came across a folder named "Home Photos," and the first
picture showing up was one of a lazy, chubby squirrel.  I remembered when I
took it, back in July, for a blog posted in August, and for a moment I was just
ready to hit the "Delete" key because I already had a

blog, posted, with photos of that lazy squirrel.
  But then I scrolled
through the digital camera roll, and there it was, a photo that made me cry, and
it wasn’t just a little.

And that was a couple of hours ago.

As I have been
working on typing, editing, re-typing, re-editing this blog, I have been torn as
to if I should post the picture, or not, because if members of the "… on the
Right" family view this, they might cry a little as well, but hopefully, for the
world that is forever in the Internet, and in having one of the last pictures of
my Dad, maybe the better picture all of us can go to is an image of him smiling,
with his granddaughter.  And that’s not such a bad thing for the world to

So here it is, the last picture I took of my Dad and Favorite Niece –
His Favorite Granddaughter.

As I have been trying to digitize all of the
pictures I have taken in the old version, that with film, in one keystroke I
almost lost a picture of my Dad.  He’s gone from me now, but with this
picture he will live forever, in the digital world.  His name is, umm,
Frank John Labis, it might also be Frank Joseph Labiszewski, it might
also be Frank John Labiszewski,  For me he is, and always will be, just

That’s it for this one! 
I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!