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Sunday, June 23, 2013

In Which Even Happy Firsts Are A Little Rattling

In Which Even Happy Firsts Are A Little Rattling

Okay, so last night the first of our friends' children was wed, hitched, and jumped the broom into holy matrimony. I'm risking the wrath of cliche haters here, but it must be said. Where the hell did the time go?!?? I swear to God he was only born a minute ago!! He just started walking, for Pete's sake! How can he possibly be married??!?

floating on bubbles
far less stinging than pelted rice

Vince is 22 years old, a mere child. So young and fresh-faced, his brother two years his junior looks older than he. I'm not even exaggerating. He barely looks old enough to work legally outside of the child labor laws, let alone enter into a lifetime commitment to another human. The truth is he maybe green in number, but he is definitely old of soul. He is an earnest, sincere and gentle spirit.

the rodgers guys
vince's brother, Nick; grandpa Charlie; Marty (father); Vince
also, Marty doesn't look old enough to have a 22 year old
Ever since Vince was a teenager, he has wanted nothing else but to be married and share his life with the girl of his dreams who would fill in his outline. Michelle does just that. Seeing him standing at the altar, his slight frame swimming in his tux, looking at once stunned, nervous and exhilarated, hearing him choke up a little during his vows... my heart swelled for him. So innocent, hopeful and full of life's promise. Standing before his radiant bride, the world and all its ills melted away, rendered insignificant, trumped by the all-consuming power of burgeoning love.

Geo and I held hands, as we instinctively do at weddings, reminded of the greatest of life's gifts, loving another. Hearts and souls entwined as tightly as the fingers on our clasped hands.

first dance under the disco ball

The reception was a fun affair at the local Elks Club. I love these kinds of receptions. Comfortable, casual, no pretensions and no primer necessary to explain copious forks and spoons at place settings. The food was simple and delicious with a cash bar and dude... a variety of cupcakes instead of vanilla frou frou cake that tastes like lard and lost hope left unfinished on the plate. Once the DJ started the jamz kicking, the dance floor was packed with white folk bustin' out awkward, Caucasian moves. Elaine Benes made an appearance more than once, no doubt painfully recorded for an eternity of unending humiliation. Whatever. A fun time was had by all.

Funny note: We sat next to two tables full of Vince and Michelle's friends. My long-time college friend Dennis, nudged me to point out WE used to be that table of rambunctious youngsters at each others weddings. It's so strange to realize that we're the occupants of the "adult/parents" table now. Which is completely ridiculous, and in direct contrast to the infantile shenanigans perpetrated at any given moment. Not to mention, in our heads we're only, what... 30-35 tops, right?

dancing queens
rockin' the casbah, aka Elks

the groom, realizing he's married

three decades of friendship
Mom of the groom, Cathy (in the b/w) still looks 30
completely unfair

Adult table... Pfffft!! (She says while ingesting a fistful of pain relievers to quiet the pains in her back and feet from dancing in heels. HEELS, PEOPLE!! And I kept them on ALL FRIGGIN' NIGHT! Outrageous! If that's not proof of how dear this kid is, well, then you can kiss my aching asp.)

But I digress...

Surrounded by family and friends, this was the perfect celebration to send these two sweet, kids off into the world, armed with the belief they are invincible and together they can conquer anything life throws at them. They have the world by the short hairs. These two are so crazy about each other, it's heartwarming. And a wee bit sickening. Ha Ha! Seriously, their unbridled optimism is a reminder to all of us of the one thing that makes living on this wildly spinning, blue planet worthwhile. Love.

the happy couple, radiating
seriously, babies

During their ceremony, the lovely blue-eyed one's sweetly sentimental Picture This came to mind.

Picture this
many years from now, me and you, you and me
and our two little children
waking up with the sun in the morning
waking up with the sun in the morning


living together happily
and never a dull moment

you'll find me amidst the joy and confusion
the kids will climb up our legs as we're kissing
you catch my eye and you register the moment
I'm tired but I'm not too tired for you

That last line gets me every damn time. The lyrics are custom made for newlyweds and seasoned newlyweds. This song is destined to be a reception staple. Or it should be anyway if I have any say in the matter.

A big bear hug of congratulations to Vince and Michelle. May your life be filled with joy, laughter, adventure, understanding, teamwork, abundant love, and may you never ever be too tired for each other.

Monday, June 10, 2013

In Which I'm Hating On The C-Word

My brother has cancer.

A surreal statement I never expected to utter. A couple weeks ago, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I spoke with Buddy at length, and he's dealing with it quite nicely. He's positive, hopeful and ever pragmatic. Taking it one step at a time. He is to undergo further testing in the form of an MRI and bone scan to determine if the cancer is isolated...or not.


Cancer has been a little too familiar lately. My cousin, Mish has been battling breast cancer since last July. There are apparently a thousand different forms of breast cancer. Okay, maybe just around 20, but still. Hers was contained in one bastard of a tumor which was surgically removed without a hitch. But hers is an aggressive type, so the doctors bombarded her with massive amounts of chemo and then radiation over the course of the last ten months.

She has faced her cancer with candor, grace and humor. Bravely posting updates, milestones and photos of her beautiful, bald head on Facebook for support, because dammit, what's social media for if not to receive comfort, encouragement and reassurance from friends and family in one's time of need.

Her port into which the nurses injected her with a poisonous radioactive cocktail was finally removed several weeks ago. A HUGE milestone for any cancer patient. She is finally back to work, feeling stronger, slowly getting her life back. I'm ecstatic to say she's cancer free now. She's a survivor, but there is and ever shall be a kernel of fear in the back of her (and our) mind(s) that at some point in the future this insatiable mutation will rear its butt-ugly head and ravage a different part of her body. There's a chance her cancer will not go quietly into the night.


My head knows prostate cancer is extremely curable, especially if caught early, which my brother's was, (Thank you PSA blood test!) and yet, I don't know how I feel about all of this. If I follow my gut instincts, the calm reaction of my body is telling me everything will work out just fine, and there's no need to worry. Much like on 9/11 when I knew deep down in my gut, my nephew was safe from the horror of the falling buildings. The medical experts in Manhattan will remove the offending cells from my brother, and he'll be good to go for decades longer. I want to go with that. I prefer to go with that. I NEED to go with that.

He's my only brother. I love him with all my heart. He is NOT expendable.

Buddy has had a challenging year thus far. His thriving electrical contracting business in the Hudson Valley has basically dried up, leaving him no choice but to sell off the equipment of his life's work, one unit at a time, to the highest bidder. I don't care how strong or practical you are, that's gotta sting. And now he's facing this.

The good news is both his kids' college educations and his properties are paid for in full. Unencumbered by deadlines and client demands, this unexpected free time will enable him to focus on his wellness without distraction or outside stress.

Sometimes a hardship is a blessing. Sometimes the Universe does you a solid, and gives you exactly what you need without you realizing it at the time.

My brother has cancer, but I know he's going to beat the SHIT out of that fucker. He's a fighter. A baddass. And you better believe all us crazy Italians are going to be standing by him every step of the way. He and Mish are going to be around for a loooooong time. So you can just suck it, Cancer!

For the love of your own private gender parts, you menfolk, get a PSA test EVERY YEAR. And ladies, save the TaTas. Get your annual mammogram. It won't just save your girls, it'll save your life.