Getting back to normal

I ordered these

I finally decided to get back into shape. For most of my life, I would say since high school, I’ve worked out with weights at the gym and at home, but mostly at the gym. But since the start of the pandemic, I have not been back to the gym and that’s been bothering me.

It closed and never reopened and I can’t find another gym that I like. So I’ve been putting it off.

I tried the workout bands, and those are great, but still, I can see the loss of muscle and weight gain.

My slap in the face, the turning point, happened when I needed to fit into a suit last week. The pants did not fit! I’ve been a 31 inch waist since high school, but I needed a larger size – 33-34, and that didn’t sit well with me. So I decided to get weights and workout at home.

I had put that off because I live in a condo and I wasn’t keen on having the weights drop on the floor, but I think I can manage not to do that. Also, I like going to the gym, I like the whole routine from getting up early in the morning, the socializing and the actual workout. But since my rude awaking last week, I realized I need to workout now.

I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and looked around, but they didn’t have the sets I wanted, the things I had seen online. I did pick up the weights in the store and try them out and boy, did that feel good, but another rude awakening was that I could only lift half the usual weight!

Luckily muscle has memory and I plan on getting back into shape real fast.

I ended up purchasing adjustable dumb bells online. They have these sets where with the turn of a button, it changes the weights and you just life the bar up which will then consist of the weight you want to lift, so there’s no screwing on different plates to adjust the weights. I’m really looking forward to this.

I was concerned about the delivery driver having to life all that weight, but I guess since they sell it, they must be used to delivering it. So today, my new weight set arrives and I can maybe start to get back to normal!

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

They get me!

Bored Panda featured me a couple of weeks ago. I had forgotten that they contacted me about an interview a few weeks back, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this.

The feature came out great and I love what Hidrėlėy, the author, wrote about me, he really gets me:

“This artist creates old-school, one-panel comics. They are filled with absurd humor and unexpected twists, weird characters, and situations that not many of us run into.

“The style that this artist uses is very reminiscent of newspaper comics and there’s something very nostalgic about them. The comics are very simple, but at the same time have quite a lot of detail and expression. The artist enjoys puns and wordplay. He sometimes even includes a little dark humor in his comics.”

Bored Panda has 116 million readers a month and 15 million Facebook followers. Not a bad place to be promoted!

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

Saved by an angel?

An angel over a car accident

I’ve been waiting to hear from my Mom, you know, some sort of signal, but nothing yet. When my brother passed we all heard from him the first week, then he disappeared. I had a friend jak, who passed away and for two years, I would feel his presence in the passenger seat of my car. Never in the house, but always in the car. His songs would play on the radio and I just had a sense that he was there next to me as I drove around.

But I think my mom saved me from a bad accident yesterday.

I had a friend visiting for a couple of weeks and yesterday he was headed home. We were out and about all morning and my car was fine, but at 1:30 pm, we jumped in the car so I could take him to the airport and it wouldn’t start. I kept trying and nothing. It wound not turn over. So he ended up taking Uber to the airport.

About an hour later, I was arranging to have the car towed to the service station in the morning and I ran out to get the license number. While I was there, I tried starting the car again and it turned over perfectly! I turned it off, turned it on again and same thing, it started perfectly. I drove it to the service station to have it looked at and Ubered home.

I thought that that was quite strange. Then I thought, what if Mom was protecting my friend and me from a bad accident as we drove to the airport? What if she made the car not work and then it started normally just a short time later?

I have been saved in traffic situations in the past by people from the other side. I just know it. I’ve almost been in accidents where I knew they were going to happen and nothing happened. Not too long after my brother passed, I was almost in an accident. The truck was coming right at me, I steeled myself for a side door impact and nothing happened. It was as if by magic, the oncoming, speeding truck missed me. It was as if it just drove through me and ended up on the other side of my car.

An angel over a truck

A few years back a friend was telling me about a dream he had where his mother, who had passed, told him she had protected me in an accident. As he described the details, I remembered the incident from about 10 years earlier. He had every single detail right – the color of the car, the type of car, the location, and even that the guy was on a cell phone, which caused him to drive through the red light. A brick phone at that!

At the time I couldn’t explain how my car squeezed into the size of an inch between two cars. Literally, the car had to squeeze that small for me to have survived that accident. I could never wrap my head around it, but I knew at the time it was some sort of divine intervention and when my friend explained it all 10 years later, regarding his late mother’s intervention, it made sense.

I’ve had quite a few incidents like that. Am I a bad driver or is it others? I believe it’s others, but either way, I was saved from terrible accidents by divine intervention and I wonder if that was the case yesterday where my car would not start when needed and then when not needed an hour later, it started without any hesitation.

UPDATE ON THE CAR: The service station called me this morning. There is not a thing wrong with the car. It starts up perfectly. It starts right up. THANKS MOM!

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

My Mom, Madeline Falco

My mother passed away October 20. Madeline Falco.

It was and wasn’t unexpected. She had been ill for awhile and each time she went into the hospital we were told that was it, the end, so we sort of mourned throughout the year. Each time we were told that, I expected the worst and I went through the grieving process. Now that it actually happened, I am not in too bad of a shape, since it was building up to this point.

I’m probably at the funeral as you read this.

I didn’t post the memorial info anywhere and didn’t tell any of my friends until this post now. I figured those who needed to know didn’t need to see it posted on social media and I just couldn’t do it – I didn’t have it in me to post it and make it real.

She was 88, and lived a wonderful life. She did it all, and was into everything. One of her grandchildren wrote this about her: “Grammy, I will never forget your unending love for all of us, your laugh, your sarcasm, your meatballs, and your encouragement to blast the music and dance around the house. You were one of a kind.”

Another wrote: “I’ll never forget playing records and dancing around the kitchen with you, watching endless musicals during our sleepovers, sneaking to the kitchen for ice cream or frozen watermelon in the middle of the night, seeing you at every show and every performance I ever did, and cooking with you and the massive amounts of garlic you used. 😂 You were an extraordinary grandmother and I’ll always be so grateful for our time together. I hope they play lots of Frank Sinatra for you in heaven. Rest In Peace. I love you forever, Grammy.”

Truth be told, “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” was her favorite song, or one of her favorites. I would always request it when one of my cousins, a musician, was performing. I suspect everyone thought it was my favorite song, but I would always request it thinking of Mom, who was alive and well all those times.

Mom not only loved to dance around, she loved to cook, she was a gourmet cook a gourmet baker, an artist – she painted wonderfully, she also loved any type of music, including Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Elvis, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Guns n’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen and so much more.. She loved it all. I remember her at Bruce Springsteen’s concert at the Orange Bowl one year. She used to call him “Bruce,” just “Bruce”. One name. She used to call “Murder She Wrote,” ‘Jessica,’ She would say, “Jessica’s on.” Or “Archie’s on, for “All in the Family.”

One time we had Merv Griffin on tv, and someone was talking about music not being any good anymore. I think it was the mid ’70s, and he was saying all the good music was from the past. Mom said, “Not true, what about ‘The Spy Who Loved Me?” And I laughed because the title of the song is funny, but she was always up on the latest music.

She traveled – she loved to travel and she loved astronomy. So many times we would get in the car in the middle of the night to drive to a secluded spot, away from city lights, to look for whatever was in the sky that night – a shooting star, Jupiter, a full moon, whatever. I bought her a big telescope once, because she loved it all so much.

She loved Britcoms and would always call me to tell me something funny was on. We loved Archie Bunker, we would quote his nonsense to each other. When I was a kid she would sometimes cut my hair and she would ask me how I wanted it, I would say, in Archie’s voice – “Without blood, ma, without blood. And when you get to an ear, for god sake, stop!”

We would go on adventures, like one time we went searching around Brooklyn for the Moonstruck house in Brooklyn Heights and we would do so many things like that.

She worked out at a gym well into her 80s. She would laugh and say, “I was working out at the gym today and there working out next to me was my grandson!” because one of her grandchildren happened to be working out at the same gym.

She worked when we were growing up and she did that along with all her other activities, but I don’t ever remember her not being there. She fit it all in and always had dinner on the table. She never neglected us. Ever. She was at every school event, every sporting event, gymnastics event, etc. She was involved at both – for her kids and her grandkids.

When she was younger, she drove fast. We used to say she rounded the corners on two wheels.

I heard so many nice things at the wake, that I didn’t know. Our former next door neighbor, for so many years, Brian, my youngest brother Joey’s friend, was telling me about a time when Brian’s brand new car was in an accident about 50 miles from home. He and Joey were out for the night. He was scared to call his father, so my mother ended up driving the 50 miles to bring them home. She never mentioned the accident to Brian’s father. But the father found out and started to shun Brian.

My mother found out and went over and really let the father have it, saying things like, “How dare you treat your son like that ….” She was feisty. Love that. She was the first one to Brian’s mother’s side, when she found out his mother had cancer. Brian remembered all this and told me it all at the wake. But we were next door neighbors or so many years, our fathers worked together, so our mothers were each second mothers to us.

My aunt passed six months ago, another second (third?) mother to me. Two wonderful women dancing with the angels today. My father lost a sister and a wife this year. But he is doing quite well, all things considered.

I sent a big thing of flowers to the funeral home and it says, “Thank you, Mom – Love Tommy.” It sounds like a weird message to have on flowers, but I am thanking her for being my mother.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

Getting through security

The new LaGuardia Airport

I haven’t been traveling much since the pandemic started – actually not at all. But I did go to New York in the summer and then again just recently.

I noticed many changes of course and one big one is at LaGuardia airport and maybe it’s something new at all airports – the new security and conveyor system.

First off, while LaGuardia is still being transformed into something big and beautiful, many areas are completely done after years of renovation and it’s quite daunting at times. It’s huge. It seems like you walk for miles to get from one area to another. And just entering the airport and going from one area to the next is quite confusing.

As for the new conveyor system, it’s sort of a three-way-thing now. You don’t just push your bags down the line. You sort of put them on the conveyor rollers and then push them in and then a TSA Agent seems to push them in and out at will.

Coming home from New York yesterday, I was stopped, my bag went down a separate roller system and a TSA agent on the other end took it out, he called out, “Whose bag is this?” And I said, “Mine and I went over to him.

He said, “Don’t touch anything” And I said, “I know, I watch ‘How to Catch A Smuggler.” And he laughed, and said, “So do I.”

And then we talked about the tv show for a bit as he searched my bag.

It seems a small fingernail scissors set the system off and that’s why I was stopped. He let me keep the scissors and I was on my way. I was under the belief that they had allowed small things like that back on the airplanes, after all, a pen can do more damage than a tiny pair of scissors. I guess I was right since he let me through.

The above image is by Untapped New York, where you can see more great images of the new LaGuardia Airport.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

Pumpkin pickin’

On Saturday, we went pumpkin pickin’ in the Hudson Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the country.

The leaves hadn’t really turned yet, but it was still fall up there.

We stopped a few farms, got pumpkins, apples, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, you know, the works. We also got mums for the season.

Going pumpkin picking and the works is a new tradition – a great one.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

Summer in October

Friday in NY was fantastic. It was like summer.

I usually prefer fall and would want the weather to be in the 50s and 60s, but this past summer was crap – 107 degrees or heavy rain constantly and this past week was blah, overcast and not really cool, but not really hot.

But Friday, was bright, the sky was blue, the temperature was 80 degrees and it seems like the whole city was out. Every park was full of people of all types from school children to office workers.

I watched in delight as some school boys climbed up on one of the statues in Union Square, where one of them struggled to get up there with his friends. Just matter-of-factly, two friends grabbed him by the arms and dragged him up. And then it looked as if they all had lunch sitting up on the statue base.

An older guy played the guitar and sang old hippie songs from the 1960s, and was amazing. The whole day was amazing.

I took the subway out to Coney Island. While the weather was great, strangely enough, there weren’t many people out there and it wasn’t as lively as it was in the summer. But I still enjoyed it.

Thursday night I spent with my cousins, We all went to dinner and it had been almost two years since we did that due to the pandemic, so it was very enjoyable, one of those nights I’ll always remember.

We may go apple and pumpkin picking upstate this weekend, but the weather is supposed to turn to rain again, bringing in a cold front, so we’ll see. The rain would stop us from going, not the cold front.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

It’s a subdued NY Comic Con

So I made it to NY Comic Con 2021! I hopped on a plane and got myself to NYC.

It was a bit subdued this year, the massive crowds weren’t here. They Comic Con people, Reed Pop, have been very good about covid protocols and I guess regulating the amount of people permitted into the event is one of them.

It’s all the excitement of every year, just with less people.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.

NY Comic Con

I was supposed to be in New York today for the start of NY Comic Con, but I’ve been delayed, due to a family issue. Hopefully I can get there this weekend.

I am all set for my visit to the Jacob Javits Center. There is an app called “Clear” where you enter all your covid info – you have to scan a copy of your vaccine card, then scan your driver’s license, then take a current photo of yourself and then scan yourself live, to show that the photo you snapped is you!

They’re being quite careful, but still, thousands of people will be there shoulder to shoulder.

My cousin Michael is there already, he is showing his work at a booth, he’s a cartoon artist. And the photos are making me “homesick” for Comic Con.

A friend asked me yesterday what the big deal was – same thing year after year. I couldn’t explain it. It’s an experience. From the moment you get on the 7 train and see that most of the people on the train are dressed as a character from tv, movies or the comics, to the large crowds exiting the Hudson Yards train station, heading west to the Jacob Javits Center.

It’s electric. The whole four days are electric. Indescribable.

Receive an email each time I publish a blog post by clicking here.