My Dad and The Last Pickle

19 Sep

It had been at least twenty-five years since we’d been there, maybe more.

I was driving back from a meeting near the heart of the city and knew it was close by. I didn’t have to go that way. I could have taken the shortcut and made my way back to the freeway, avoiding traffic.

But I made a left turn instead.

And there it was … the yellow letters against a green backdrop. Not block letters, but smooth cursive writing.


Langer's Delicatessen.

Langer’s Delicatessen.


Every other week.

We’d sit in the third booth on the left.

Sun was always shining. Didn’t seem to be cloudy whenever we were there, always bright, always busy.

An older waitress with dark rimmed glasses and red lipstick would greet my Dad and call him honey before taking our order. She’d call everybody honey. We’d start off with a lemonade for myself, cup of coffee for Dad. Black, two sugars.

We’d browse through the menu, but already knew what we wanted. I’d get the chicken noodle soup and club sandwich. Dad would get the pastrami with cold slaw and the pickle. He liked pickles, it was the highlight of his lunch combination, to enjoy a pickle with pastrami. Pickles were an awesome part of lunch. We’d sit and talk about life. Elementary and early middle school life seemed complicated and dramatic back then. A Days of Our Lives kind of saga.

I thought life was difficult.

Dad would do the Dad thing.

He listened.

He saw me. He heard me. And what I had to say was important back then, even when it wasn’t.

This was before the teen years of course when ridiculous battles over tone of voice began.

We’d sit in our booth and talk. Sometimes laugh, sometimes people watch, sometimes just enjoy each other’s company in silence or between pickle crunches.

I missed having lunches. Didn’t realize how important they’d be to me.

I sat there at the stop light thinking.

I miss my friend. I miss someone eating pastrami across the way from me and listening.

I miss someone offering their last pickle just to see me smile.

I was tempted to park the car and go inside, just to get a feel for things. Maybe sit in the third booth, on the left. Order a chicken noodle soup and club sandwich. But I knew it wouldn’t be the same. I couldn’t manage to go in, a heavy sadness hit me at the stop light and I wished so much that my Dad was still here so that we could talk.

I made a right turn and headed to the freeway. Perhaps I’d return with my son and daughter and we could have lunch. I’d order the pastrami this time and probably give them my last pickle.


For When You Can’t Get Over Hump Day …

17 Sep


When Your Molly Ringwald Story Becomes a Diane Lane Adventure …

15 Sep

At first you’re in love.

You got that Corinthians passage memorized and you go in with hope and faith.

You go in thinking you’ve met you’re Jake Ryan.

But then you realize this is not Sixteen Candles and your girlish idea of romance is just that … an idea.

Although … sometimes it pans out and runs the course. You celebrate 50 years, but not just 50 years, 50 good years. Nicholas Sparks romance novel good years.

Other times love gets you to the seven-year itch mark and you find yourself being Diane Lane in any of the Diane Lane-I’m-gonna-dig-myself-out-of-this-disasterous-break-up movies.



But what ends up happening is that you try your best not to be like the lead in Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

This is what’s happened to three of my friends in the last two months.

They say half of marriages end in divorce, my side of the block is up to 75%.

I feel pretty bad about that as none of them did anything to deserve the situation they currently find themselves in, and I couldn’t find the words to express how bad I felt about the situation. All I could do was listen and do my best to make them laugh with whatever personal disaster was happening to me at the moment.

And then I came across a fellow blogger that hadn’t posted in months.

I was happy to see her on my reader until I realized what happened.

They say it’s rare when people get hit by lightning. Extremely low percentage. Even more rare when you get struck twice. But it happens.

And unfortunately for her it happened this way.

However she’s handled it with such strength that it blew me away. What’s even crazier is that she managed to find humor in a completely unfunny situation.



So in an effort to champion my friends back to a better state I sent the posts to them. I was hoping it would give them strength and laughter when they needed it most. And then I realized that there could be others out there living the same quiet moments of sadness who haven’t discovered this blogger. So I thought I would post links Mikalee Byerman’s blog.

Me 2.0 … If necessity is the mother of invention, then divorce is the mother of re-invention…

Here is her story.

The Brick(ginning)

The Brick Part 2

Even if you’re not going through relationship issues, it’s a good blog, full of comedy and heart.

So if you know someone at the end of their Molly Ringwald romance, help them get through their Diane Lane Adventure.

Step one?

Encourage them to visit Byerman’s blog and read her story.

It will get you out of any funk.



The Ones That Shook Me, Pushed Me, Slapped Me, Passionately Embrased Me, Scared the Crap Out of Me and Changed Me

12 Sep

A blogging buddy of mine, Jackie Cangro, recently posted a list of books that influenced her the most, and just as she did with her what-makes-me-happy list she manged to totally inspire me to create one of my own. In my 39 years of eating chocolate these are the books that made the most impact in my life.

It wasn’t just because of the story, it was the characters. They were both flawed and heroic. I wanted to meet them. They inspired me in some way, they changed my perspective. I think any book that changes you in some way is a great book. Some of these are complex, intense sagas, some are simple stories, a few are fiction, while others are based on people’s lives. Fact or fiction they share their truths, sufferings, A-ha moments, life lessons, and successful outcomes.

They’re written with such magic that they’ve left an imprint in my life. These stories left a profound impact and changed the course of my direction, whether I was a teenager in high school, a 20-something learning about myself, or a 30-something badass still learning about myself. There are a lot of books out there I haven’t read yet so many fall on my to-do list. But for now, this is my Shook Me-Pushed Me-Slapped Me-Thelma and Louise Awakened Me- Passionately Embraced Me-Scared The Crap Out of Me-and Changed Me List.

What are some of yours?









The Alchemist–Paulo Coelho



Daughter of Fortune–Isabel Allende



The Catcher in The Rye–J.D. Salinger



Pudd’nhead Wilson–Mark Twain



Life of Pi–Yann Martel



Invisible Man–Ralph Ellison



Native Son–Richard Wright



The Notebook–Nicholas Sparks



The Count of Monte Cristo–Alexandre Dumas


One Hundred Years of Solitude–Gabriel Garcia Marrquez



Eat, Pray, Love–Elizabeth Gilbert



Tuesdays With Morrie–Mitch Albom



The Last Lecture–Randy Pausch



In Cuba I was a German Shephard (The Short Story)–Ana Menendez


Success Comes in Threes

10 Sep

Normally it’s “Photo Challenge Wednesday,” but this week I’m happy to be part of the awesome blog tour supporting the launch of my buddy’s third book.

Yeah … that’s right.

I said third.

Pretty badass isn’t?



Confessions Cover(1)

Her third book



T.B. Markinson is coming out with her third novel and I’m happy to contribute anything I can to her success as an author. Recently she wrote a post about success and how she defined it, and I found it to be pretty inspiring. It helped redefine my perspective a little, as I tend to be hard on myself when defining success. As writers our path is a little different when it comes to declaring “I made it!” It’s not like a teacher, doctor, accountant, or lawyer. It happens in layers, and in moments. Sometimes they are spectacular fireworks, other times in quiet whispers.

But it happens for each of us in our own way.

And it’s happening for her with the release of her third novel.

To celebrate its release, the book is on sale for $0.99 until September 16th.


That’s less than the price of an actual coffee.

And it’s definitely worth your while.

Here’s a little sneak peek.



Kat rose and sat next to me, so Harold’s date could sit next to him. D-Day was just a few minutes away. I sucked in a long breath. God I hoped Amber would show.

Five minutes ticked by. Kat did her best to keep the conversation going, but after ten minutes, I glanced over my shoulder at the worried look on Samantha’s face. Was it possible Amber wouldn’t show?

Beads of perspiration appeared on Harold’s brow. Poor guy. I tried to think of something to say to ease his suffering, but drew blanks. Even Kat looked concerned and wasn’t her chatty self. Harold fiddled with the wrapped book, accidently tearing the corner off.

“Um, are you Harold?” a timid voice came from directly behind me.

Harold glanced up, but didn’t speak.

Kat bounced out of her chair, “Are you Amber?”

“Yeah. I’m so sorry I’m late. Got held up at work.” She continued to stand behind me.

Harold was gaping at her, his eyes bugged. I didn’t want to turn and make the girl feel even more awkward. If I were her, I would be running for the exit.

“Oh, no apologies needed. You’re here, and that’s all that matters.” Kat led Amber to the seat next to the bug-eyed Gaiman fan.

I nudged Harold’s foot under the table, pleading for him to stop gawking. He either ignored me completely or didn’t understand my meaning.

“Let me get the ball rolling. Amber, this is Harold.” Kat motioned to Harold, who finally smiled bashfully and took his eyes off Amber. At least he wasn’t ogling her like she was a science project gone awry. “And this is my girlfriend, Cori.”

I shook Amber’s hand across the table. “Very nice to meet you.”

Harold still said nothing.

“Where do you work, Amber?” asked Kat.

“I’m a paralegal at a law firm.” Amber fidgeted with the purse on her lap and looked miserable.

One minute in, and already I wanted pull the ripcord.

“Harold and Cori work at Beantown Café together. That’s how we all know each other.” Kat was grasping at straws.

“Oh, that’s nice.” Amber didn’t sound impressed.

“I also teach at Adams University. British lit,” I added, and then kicked myself. She wasn’t my date to impress and I made Harold look even more like a loser. Dammit, Cori, you and your ego.

“Really?” Finally, her face had some expression: excitement. “I love to read.”

Her statement kindled an ounce of life in Harold’s body language. He nodded and peeked at her from the corner of his eyes. Then he stared at the water again. Baby steps, Harold, baby steps.

“Who’s your favorite author?” I held my breath after my query. Please say Neil Gaiman. Please, please.

I felt Kat squeeze my leg in anticipation, digging all five nails deep into my thigh.

“J.K. Rowling.”



Cori Tisdale was on top of the world. A basketball star at Harvard and a promising author with a lucrative book deal.

A few years later, Cori’s life is falling apart. Her beautiful girlfriend, Kat Finn, has a shopping addiction. To make ends meet, Cori takes a part-time job at a coffee shop.

Just when Cori thinks her life can’t get any worse, an old crush appears out of the blue. Cori’s friendship with Samantha Clarke pushes Cori further into a dangerous abyss when Sam reveals two secrets to Cori and asks her not to tell a soul, including Kat.

Will this be the end of Cori’s and Kat’s relationship?


About the Author:

B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. T. B. has published A Woman Lost, Marionette, and Confessions From A Coffee Shop.


Purchase Links:

Amazon (US):

Amazon (UK):


Mailing List:

Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.


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The Final Ride … I’m All In Favor For Revenge

8 Sep



I can’t even tell you …

I can’t even.

Am I ready?

Am I ready!


I’ve been ready since the end of last season.

I’ve been living in shock.

I’ve been wallowing in heartbreak.

The death of my poor Tara, and not just any death, but a violent one at the hands of crazy Gemma.

The death of happily ever after for Jax and Tara.

The death of the truth behind his father’s murder.

The death of a future for his sons, Abel and Thomas.

The birth of more lies.

But hopefully it’s also the birth of revenge.

I’m waiting.

I’ve been waiting.


I know people say you should always take the higher ground, but being that it’s the final season, I’m all in favor of revenge.

Revenge is a good thing, especially when your mom is Gemma … she deserves to go down.

Kurt, are you listening?


You keep killing people who don’t need to die.

First Donna

Then Piney.

Then Opie.

Then Tara.


I damn near lost it with Opie.

And my heart broke with Tara.


You need to rectify the situation.

It’s Gemma’s time.

And I’ll be watching … closely.

The Final Ride starts Tuesday.


I’ll be watching.

Nobody better call me.







The Real Kind of Tired Hits Fridays

5 Sep

I was beginning to see a pattern happening every Friday night, but it wasn’t deliberate.

It was exhaustion.


For some reason Friday night has been the end of me.

I clock out.

I’m done.

My body is weary, not tired … weary.






Completely falls into a let’s lie down on the couch and exhale for five minutes … the kind of five minutes that turns into a two-hour veg out session, followed by a crash-out session that last until the crack of dawn.

I blame it on parenthood and the lack of staff around here … you know personal chef, dishwasher, chauffeur, babysitter, cleaning lady, gardener, and masseuse. I have none of that, and I’m sure plenty of you out there also get by on what I have, but come Friday don’t you just wanna crash?

Doesn’t your body say, c’mon now … c’mon now. That’s enough. You take one more step and you’ll be sorry.

And then you do, and you are.


It’s hit me this month and I’ve had no reserve to get me by, I’m on echale!

And so my Friday night wild outings to the Regal Beagle have ceased to exist, and my dedicated musings on my blog have been absent. But I’m back on the wagon tonight, trying my best to get my writing juices flowing after getting a punch-me-in-my-stomach-thanks-for-trying-there-were-so-many-noteworthy-applicant-stories-this-year-so-it-was-hard-making-a-decision-but-we’re-just-not-that-into-you letter.


I got one this week and Ben & Jerry’s became a little richer as I emptied out the freezer section of my local VONS Supermarket. And even though I was still exhausted tonight, still on empty, and wallowing in cookie-dough ice cream I managed to break my Friday writing drought and get something on the page.

So for those of you who follow me regularly I apologize for my Friday absences, I wasn’t off enjoying spectacular three-day weekends, just making the butt print on my couch a little bit more permanent due to fatigue and exhaustion. Not the fake celebrity/actress/singers I’m tired because I’m on tour with my entourage tired. The real kind of tired. The working class, struggling to pay my bills existence, parent of two who hasn’t been on an actual vacation in seven years kind of exhaustion. That kind of tired. Getting one of those it’s-not-you-it’s-me letters didn’t help the cause either.

But it’s all good tonight, I’ve found a pocket of energy and I’m riding that through this post and a little fiction writing later, in the hopes of finally getting the congrats-we-totally-like-you-you’re-in letter.

Yes! Yes! Yes to the hippopotamus!




Hearing Loss … Now I Know It’s Not Because of Old Age

3 Sep




The Stay-Cationers

1 Sep

I don’t know how it happened. But it’s been three years in a row.




It’s been six years in a row.

That burns me out.

I didn’t plan on becoming one, it just happened and it has nothing to do with parenthood. It’s just what happened.

I knew it was on the calendar, been on the calendar for years. It’s been set in stone since the late 1800s. I looked it up. It’s historic, people look forward to these things for months. Months!  Counting down the days until this particular weekend happens.

It’s the weekend where you get extra time, but not just an hour, you get a whole 24 hours to do whatever you want. There’s no one expecting you to clock in. You get three … three days to yourself … to celebrate, relax, unwind in some place that’s not your home. Anywhere but home. It’s your opportunity to sit in traffic or deal with airport personnel on your way to some great destination.

It’s the three-day weekend.

It’s Labor Day Weekend.

In some parts of the world they even call it a holiday. Not vacation, holiday.

A time to live labor-free and celebrate.

And here I was … working my ass off as a parent and letting the weekend pass me by without a boarding pass, or filling up the tank.


It happened to me.

I was one of them.

I’d come to the realization that I’d become one. Didn’t expect to, thought I’d have a timeshare or something, but no … nothing. Not even a huge backyard where I could set up tents and pretend to go camping. No pretending.

I’d become one.

I’d become a Stay-Cationer.

I didn’t mean for it to happen, but looks like once you hit the five years in a row mark, it’s official. You get a card. You’re in the club. You’re in the try to make a vacation for yourself in your own city club. Try to escape your hustle and bustle without boarding a plane or train group.

Normally things of this nature don’t burn me out, but for some reason it did this year.

And it’s probably because it wasn’t a conscious choice. I didn’t say “Hey, Guat why don’t you just stay in this weekend and explore the city.”

No. In fact, I don’t think I said that to myself at all the last five years, I think that’s what dawned on me.

So after a I’m-burned-out-I-can’t-believe-this-whoa-as-me session I came to grips with reality.

I an accidental tourist in my own city.


That was me.

But considering my location, I guess it wasn’t that bad. I was at a place where Coppertone 45 and flip-flops were an essential part of life. There was Framboise.  There was chocolate. There was laughter. And then there was more chocolate. And the fact that my kids weren’t having any meltdowns along the way gave this in-town retreat a five-star rating.

I’d have to admit that it was pretty good after all, even if I’d become a three-day weekend Stay-Cationer, it wasn’t too bad of a place to get stuck in.

Exhibit A

The Beach.

A good starting point for your stay-cation is a visit to the Pacific Ocean.

A good starting point for your stay-cation is a visit to the Pacific Ocean.


Exhibit B


Actually having fun at the beach before we hit some boogie board action, followed by a swim in the pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Actually having fun at the beach before we hit some boogie board action, followed by a swim in the pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.


Exhibit C

Good Food.

After all that fun in the sun we hit the food truck nation, over 30 trucks lined the streets of our neighborhood this weekend where there were so many tasty dishes tempting us.

After all that fun in the sun we hit the food truck nation, over 30 trucks lined the streets of our neighborhood this weekend where there were so many tasty dishes tempting us.


Exhibit D

The Best Truck Ever = The Best Smile Ever.

We found the truck that we'd been searching for ... The Grilled Cheese Truck. We had the Cheesy Mac and Ribs Grilled Cheese. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome ... dude ... I can't even.

We found the truck that we’d been searching for … The Grilled Cheese Truck. We had the Cheesy Mac and Ribs Grilled Cheese. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome … dude … I can’t even.


Exhibit E.

There’s no picture for Exhibit E … it’s just my soft Bed, Bath & Beyond pillow that will assist me in a long restful sleep after my supreme you-do-with-what-you’ve-got-because-what-you’ve-got-is-enough stay-cation.

Shine on.




I Haven’t Had A Coke In Twenty Years But …

27 Aug


I saw a sign ...

I was with my best bud when I saw this … It was a sign. I had to. I had to.  She’s Trent, I’m Mike and we’re both money, sooooooooo money  :)



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