Old Habits

I’ve been thinking lately about old habits, and inertia, and what I should be examining and rethinking. A lot of this is due to the change in seasons.

And a little is due to a letter I got in the mail from E-ZPass last week. Apparently, I haven’t used my E-ZPass since 2019, so they’re going to close out my account. I was a little surprised by this, but when I stopped and thought about it, I realized that it’s true. The last time I drove on the Parkway or Turnpike was June 22, 2019, according to my E-ZPass history. Looking at my Day One journal, I see that I’d gone down to Whiting on that day, to visit my old friend Gloria’s family, and to visit the cemetery. And I haven’t been down there since. I’ve thought about visiting the cemetery on multiple occasions over the last few years, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

I guess I can keep my E-ZPass account active if I use it within the next couple of weeks. So maybe I should drive down to the cemetery and say hello to my parents. Or I could just give up on E-ZPass and return it.

Another thing I’m thinking about, and this one is definitely related to the change in seasons, is football. I haven’t paid much attention to the NFL the last few years, but I’m going to give it a try again this year. Today is the first Sunday of the season, and I’m currently watching the Jets game. I’ll watch the Giants game at 4 PM too, and maybe the Sunday night game on NBC after that. Or maybe not. I’m not paying a lot of attention to the Jets game right now, but I’m getting a nice feeling of comfort and familiarity from it. Just the sound of the game in the background is kind of nice, especially on a rainy Sunday in September.

I just googled “comfort of the familiar” and found some interesting stuff. It can be a good thing and a bad thing. I don’t think there’s any harm in getting some comfort from the sounds of a football game. But if I find that it’s not doing much for me, there’s also no harm in turning it off and reading a book.

On another subject, I just got my badge for NYCC in the mail. I still have plenty of time to decide if I’m actually going or not. I haven’t made a hotel reservation. If I go, I guess I’ll just take the train in each day. And if I don’t go, I’m out $210, unless I can resell my badge to someone else, but that’s not a big deal if that’s the way it goes. I’m fine either way.

I just looking at Evernote and Day One, trying to figure out when the last time I’d been in NYC was. When I went up to Albany in March, I spent an hour or so in NYC, to switch trains. But the last time I really did anything in NYC was October 2021, for last year’s NYCC. I’d thought about going in for some museum visits on various weekends this summer, but just never got around to it. So I’m wondering if I should keep paying for my Met and MoMA memberships, or let them expire.

I’m starting to wonder if my life is ever going to get back to what it used to be, pre-COVID. And I’m wondering if I actually want it to, or need it to. Part of me is fine with my “new normal” of spending a lot more time in my apartment, and a lot more time closer to home, in general. I need to think about what I should hold on to, and what I should let go of.

Comfort Food

Looking at the “on this day” widget here on my blog, I see that I haven’t acknowledged my Dad and Gloria’s shared birthday in a few years, so I should go ahead and do that today. Happy birthday, Dad and Gloria! I did want to do something today to honor my Dad’s memory, but I couldn’t come up with much. I could probably have taken a drive up to the cemetery, but with the pandemic restrictions, I’m pretty sure the restrooms would be closed, and I really can’t take a drive that far without a pit stop. I guess the restrooms are open at the Turnpike service areas, so I could have managed it, but, well… I didn’t. (And maybe I’m a little afraid of the Turnpike service area restrooms…) I also noticed an entry from this day in 2004, about honoring my brother Pat’s memory.

Thinking about honoring Dad, Gloria, and Patrick gets me thinking about food: lasagna, pizza with extra cheese, rice and beans, burgers, potato salad… I’m probably going to have a small salad and a veggie burger for dinner though. Maybe I can have a beer tonight too. That’ll be something. I haven’t had much to drink at all during this pandemic. I bought a bottle of red wine in March, and had a few glasses during the first few weeks of the lockdown, but that’s been it. I still have half the bottle left. And I haven’t touched any of the beer in my fridge. I should probably toss the wine. A half-empty bottle of wine that’s been sitting out on a counter for five months is probably not worth drinking at this point. (I do have one of those vacuum caps on it, but those aren’t perfect.)

It’s probably good that I’ve been sticking to my diet and staying away from alcohol these last few months. I’ve been thinking about Tina Fey’s sheetcaking skit from SNL a bit lately. Costco stopped selling sheet cakes at the start of the pandemic, apparently, but they might be back now, at least in some stores. But I’m not going to drive to Costco and buy a sheet cake for myself. Definitely not.

I’ve been spending a lot of my weekend time reading and watching stuff that I’d put in the “comfort food” category. I’m currently watching Trollhunters on Netflix, which is a pretty predictable cartoon, and easy to binge-watch. I’ve also recently finished watching Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts on Netflix, which is also a fun and easily bingeable cartoon. I’ve been watching some old Bugs Bunny cartoons on DVD too. On the comic book front, I’ve been reading some fairly random stuff, most of which is pretty light reading. I started the second Complete Peanuts collection last week, for instance. Nothing says “escape from reality” like Peanuts strips from 1953!

I don’t honestly know if there’s a point to this post, but I felt I had to write one this weekend, and it’s almost 5 PM on Sunday, so I might as well get it done. I think that writing it helped me work through some stuff and amused me, if nothing else. If you’re reading this, I hope it amused you too.


Happy Birthday Dad and Gloria

My father and our friend Gloria shared the same birthday, August 9. Dad’s been gone a while now, but this is the first birthday since Gloria passed away. Here’s a nice picture of the two of them together. Seems weird not to have anyone to call and wish a happy birthday to today.

There’s a timestamp in the bottom of this photo that says “02 8 9”, so this was probably taken on August 9, 2002. I’m guessing my Mom took this photo with my Dad’s camera. And I’m sure my Dad and Gloria had a little drink together that day, and had some fun joking around with each other.

Dad and Gloria


Ken Butler

Yesterday, I went down to Whiting to visit my friend Gloria and celebrate my birthday. Since it was a nice day out, and I got an early start, I decided to stop by the cemetery and visit my parent’s grave.

The cemetery was nice and quiet, and it was a good visit. They seem to have finished the construction that they were doing, so the main entrance is open again, which is good. (But the bad news is that they still don’t seem to have any restrooms open on the weekend.)

I had a good dinner with Gloria and a couple of other friends. But, during dessert, Gloria got a call to let her know that our friend Ken Butler had passed away. He had been having a lot of medical issues lately, and Gloria had told me earlier that he was under hospice care, so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but he’d only recently been moved to hospice, so we assumed he’d have more time. (Coincidentally, his birthday was right after mine, and Gloria had been planning to visit him at the hospital for his birthday.)

Ken was a good friend to my parents, and to Gloria. He had done a number of odd jobs around the house for my parents, and was pretty handy with that stuff, which my Dad admired. (These were the kind of jobs that my Dad would have done himself, before his eyesight got too bad.) And he was a driver for Meals on Wheels when my parents were getting meals through that program.

In recent years, he’d had to stop driving, but he had an old bicycle that he’d ride around on. I’d see him at Gloria’s house often, when I was down there visiting. He’d come by almost every day for a game of dominoes with Gloria, and he was always joking around and making her laugh.

I last saw him only about a month ago, and he seemed to be in good spirits despite his medical issues. He’ll be missed.

Some photos of Patrick

Here are some photos of Patrick that I used to have in a gallery on my old Blogger site, but which got lost when I switched to WordPress. I thought I’d just re-upload them, and put them in a new post.

I honestly don’t remember if I scanned them in myself from prints, but that’s probably what I did. The original post was from 2004, so these predate all the ScanCafe scanning I did a few years back. And I don’t think I had a very good scanner in 2004. I should probably figure out where the originals are for these, and re-scan them.

(Note the awesome “Return of the Jedi” T-shirt he’s wearing in a few of these!)


Today is the 12th anniversary of my brother Patrick’s death. Here’s a photo from his birthday party, long ago. I’m not entirely sure which birthday it was. I notice that he (and a couple of other kids) seem to be drinking out of Star Wars glasses, so that’s a clue, but not much of one, since we were all probably drinking out of Star Wars glasses, on and off, from 1977-1985.

Oh, and if it’s not obvious, Pat is the one in the Roselle Park shirt, with the big smile on his face.