Category Archives: Heartwarming

The Ultimate Hand

Way back almost three years ago, I wrote in this space about my search for some hand love out on the roadways of Massachusetts.  What I mean is, when you yield your vehicle for the express purpose of letting another vehicle make a turn in front of you, speed ahead of you, or something like that.  In fact, I’ve been so bummed out lately about the lack of the gracious and thankful hand wave that I have failed to give the hand myself a couple of times.  But I am feeling pretty jazzed up right now!

I was just driving home from work and as I paused when the traffic light turned from red to green to let a driver across the intersection take a left turn in front of me, I sighed and fully expected to be taken for granted.  Nope.  The woman behind the wheel gave me a long, extended peace sign.  In fact, she was so thankful (that’s all I ask), that she extended her arm right across her passenger to her right in order to make sure I saw the peace sign.  I was so happy to see this that I even let the next car take a left turn in front of me.  See what can happen when one generous driver is properly thanked by another?  It leads to a “pay it forward” scenario from which everyone benefits. 

It’s the exact opposite that is ongoing now.  Just the other day, at a red light, someone nearly moved my car out of the way in order to cross my lane and another lane to take a left turn.  I beeped for a solid three-count and then when I passed them, I gave them some hand.  Actually, it was more of a finger.  That really pissed me off, so I was in a semi-road rage mood the rest of the way home.  But let’s hope there are more drivers out there who are okay with the easy give-and-take of pausing, yielding, and showing some hand (of the peace sign or five-fingered variety).

Catching you up on my Christmas

* This is the very first time ever that I have a Christmas tree of my own. I will admit that I was being rather Scroogelike and it took continued prodding from Swedish Girl to make it happen. Still, it looks great and I love just sitting down at night with only those Christmas tree lights on and admiring it. I’m soaking it all in while it lasts.

* I’m completely flummoxed about the spelling of Hanukkah/Chanukkah. I’ve even seen it spelled Hannukah and maybe Channukah. With a “C,” or without? With two k’s or two n’s? Will somebody please pick a spelling and stick with it!!!

* I may have outdone myself this year. I think I may have picked up all the gifts I need to buy, except one, in one day of mall shopping. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. My arms were sore. But this has been my modus operandi for as long as I can remember. And the fact that I did this on December 16 was a bonus. In certain years, I try to add a degree of difficulty by waiting until December 20-something. I will have one or two gifts to shop for on December 22, but that doesn’t count, since all the heavy shopping is over.

* God bless Fox Family Channel’s 25 Days of Christmas. Not everything it shows is a winner, but that channel earned its keep by showing the 1974 animated classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This gem used to be shown every year on network TV, but I haven’t noticed it in years and I cannot remember the last time I watched it. Seeing it again the other night instantly made me feel five years-old again. Good times.

* I’m feeling pretty good about getting in the Christmas spirit. The wildly unseasonably warm weather, while nice, hasn’t helped make this December feel like Christmas time. Trimming the tree has really kickstarted the season. Sending/receiving cards has been key. Watching the classic TV specials and Christmas movies probably does the trick the best, though.

* I finally own It’s A Wonderful Life on DVD. This might be my favorite movie ever. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve watched it over the years. Back when I was younger and it was on every TV channel around the clock, I used to watch it whenever I could find it. Then I got it on tape and would watch it every day after school. There were times I’d watch it twice in the same day. I may have watched it at least 100 times by now. But adult life is trickier these days. Free time is harder to come by. My viewings have diminished over the last several years, mostly because I didn’t own a copy and because NBC only aired it twice a season. But I channeled the 13 year-old Cool Jesus and stayed up past 2am the other night to watch it. I think I’ve rediscovered that this film is instrumental in turning on my Christmas spirit.

The bottom line is that rekindling childhood memories from when times were simpler is what Christmas is all about.

Uncle Jesus

I’ve been a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson, a brother-in-law, a husband, a son-in-law, and now I am proud to say that I am an uncle. I just got the call from Swedish Girl that halfway across the world, on November 8, 2006, our nephew was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. We don’t yet have the young lad’s name, but I do know that he weighed in at 3.9 kilograms and measures a long 59 centimeters. My metric system is a little rusty, so forgive me if I goofed on the length. When it hit me that I was going to be an uncle, even by marriage, I could not wait for this boy to be born. Uncle Jesus has a pretty neat ring to it.


I have to apologize for the delay, but I was able to get the photos from our recent escapades up in Boston last weekend. A very nice time was had by all, and I’m sure the Bride & Groom had a lovely time as well.

In other photo-related news, in case you were recently looking for some of those older photos — apparently Flickr hid them while I was an unpaid member.. those should all have returned now that I’ve paid my yearly dues. Enjoy!

No Ordinary Monkey

My dad wanted a monkey when he was younger, before he and my mom had kids.  My mom wouldn’t allow it because she heard they can be unruly and messy.  Well, they never saw the monkeys I saw on the news last night.

CBS premiered Love Monkey last night, so it was hardly a coincidence that Boston’s Channel 4 news at 11 pm ran a story about a helper monkey.  Incidentally, I was doing tearing my apartment apart looking for a DVD, so I didn’t get to fully watch the whole hour of Love Monkey.  However, there probably aren’t many people out there who like Judy Greer and Tom Cavanaugh more than I, so I hope the show succeeds.  Anyway, when Channel 4 cut to reporter Scott Wahle with a monkey on his shoulder before going to commercial, I rolled my eyes and groaned.  It’s a major pet peeve of mine how the news shows all these fluff pieces.  BBC news doesn’t do this, so why do the national and local news stations do it here?  You’re telling me you can’t find enough news to fill 22 minutes? 

The three-minute story about these monkeys was heartwarming, hilarious, and inspiring.  A company trains monkeys to assist diabled individuals so they can lead more normal lives at home.  It costs $35,000 to train each monkey and, so far, 100 have been placed with disabled people across the U.S.  First, they showed a monkey with its new owner, a quadriplegic, and this monkey can do everything.  The guy aims a laser pointer at what he wants the monkey to bring him, says “fetch” and other words of encouragement, and that little guy snaps into action.  He can turn on the TV, put your eyeglasses on you, bring you a bottle of water AND put in a straw, and he can even turn on the stereo and put in a CD!

I had never been a fan of monkeys before, but if I ever come into some money, I’m getting one of these trained little guys.  The disabled owner sounded so grateful to not only have someone to help him around the house, but to have a companion.  And according to the experts who train these monkeys, they are extremely loyal and love having human companionship.  The sight that made me almost lose it was when a monkey hopped into the sink and began giving himself a bath.  A clean, sweet-smelling, cute little friend who will sit on your shoulder and watch TV with you – what more do you need?