Archive for the ‘HOLIDAY’ Tag

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AGAIN?!?!?!   Leave a comment

Is it that time already? Again? Well we are thinking about it now. Go on a diet. Walk a couple of miles a day. Exercise. No more sweets. Cut back on bread. Cut up the charge cards. Write more often. Call. Do this and that. Don’t do this and that.

Yes that tradition known as New Year’s resolutions. Almost the same as that tradition of breaking New Year’s resolutions.

When I was younger I made resolutions and, like you, I broke them. At one time I made a resolution to break whatever resolutions I made. In 1985 I decided no more New Year’s resolutions and I haven’t made any since. Well I didn’t make them New Year’s Eve or Day but I found myself making them during the year. Just a few months ago I decided to put X amount of dollars a month aside for my Leap Year birthday party on Monday, February 29, 2016, and I have been doing that.

There is nothing wrong with making resolutions but why the same ones all the time? Wait, the blog sites will be loaded with “I am going to lose weight”, “I will join the gym and exercise” posts and they will eagerly tell you how great they are doing and then they will confess there first ’cheat’ and will rationalize it away and tell you they are going right back, that they are not giving up. Funny but by February you won’t read a post about diets, exercise, losing weight, getting healthier.

How about something different this year? Don’t make any resolutions, don’t talk about what you are GOING to do–JUST DO IT! Then in July or even better in December, 2015, tell us what you did since January!


Posted December 31, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL   Leave a comment

It’s all been said, the gifts are unwrapped with the wrapping paper and ribbons all over. Christmas dinner/supper has been served and the dishes, pots and pans are ready to be washed and dry.

You went to a theatre to see a movie or you are watching one at home, the latter probably a Christmas movie. You are full, content and have a smile on your face.

For those who believe in Santa like I do, and were a good boy all year like I was, had that mysterious visit at midnight and we aren’t talking about it to those who are ‘adults’ and don’t believe anymore. They don’t know what they are missing!

For those who are, or were, alone just be grateful that you woke up this morning and you can start now to see that you aren’t alone next December. There are people who want to share that day with you and only you can make it possible.

To all my friends past and present, to those I have met on the Internet and have developed a friendship with to those I don’t know yet but will meet, to all those I have ‘lost’, to all I want you to know I am thinking of you and wish you a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Kwanzaa and to others a happy day!

Posted December 25, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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CHRISTMAS IN FLORIDA   Leave a comment

December 25, 1982, was the worse Christmas I ever had and it has basically affected every Christmas I have had since then with just seeing houses, apartments, malls, streets, parks and Santa in his multitude of settings that got the feeling of the holiday back to me. My beloved Flo died that day and I still feel the pain I felt that day. Flo was my aunt by definition but more of a mother than my own. She showed me what unconditional love was, she made me feel like the most precious human being. Oh she could give me a scathing lecture when she thought I was doing something wrong and call me all sorts of names but don’t you dare to try the same or she would turn on you so quick you wouldn’t know what happened. Bill and I would soon be separating but I will always be grateful for his being there.

As I look over my diaries the past 35 years it seems until I retired I worked on Christmas Day and since I retired I spend the day at the movies.

December 25, 1992 Worked from 10 AM to 10 PM December 25, 2002 Retired Went to see “Catch Me If You Can” with Ray (a doctor friend of mine who died the following year) December 25, 2012 Went to see “Les Miz” by myself.

Here and there Christmas Day varied like in 2011 spent the afternoon on the Breezeway with John B., Poochie (now deceased), Larry, Linda (now deceased) Roosevelt, Jim, Dot (now deceased) having pizza and sodas. There was the year (1999) I spent in the hospital with congestive heart failure but for 23 years it was working long hours–I would usually take an extra shift so someone could spend the day with their family–and the last 12 years going to the movies.

Either Christmas Eve or Day I would make a turkey with all the trimmings and fix plates for the security guard on duty and a few people I knew who didn’t have anyone and so they stayed locked in their apartment waiting for the holidays to pass.

Something I don’t talk about is that we celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah the third Tuesday of December. Who are ‘we’? We are the ‘Buddy’ volunteers who work all year round with teenagers who are HIV+ and/or have AIDS and have been kicked out of their home. There are about a dozen volunteers and a dozen kids and the kids decide what kind of food they want (pizza usually wins) and we will go to an Italian restaurant and have a day filled with fun and laughter but NO food fights! LOL

One thing I do know is that every Christmas Santa will visit me and that’s the bottom line!

Posted December 24, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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The only family events I remember as a child was the Sundays we spent going to my mother’s parents who lived on the lower east side of Manhattan. They were poor and worked hard to support and feed their 7 children. I don’t remember if it was a certain Sunday of the month but all sisters and brothers would bring their spouses and children to my grandparents who lived in a 6 flight walkup in what was referred to as ‘railroad’ apartment with each room laid out one after the other all leading to the large living room where we all sat around a large table and ate. After we were finished grandma took all the kids down to what was referred to as the ‘lower’ east side, Orchid street, where we would get a chance to pick out a huge sour pickle from barrel. I don’t remember celebrating holidays except Passover. I do remember the 5 sisters, who were very competitive, always would have shouting matches ending with everyone leaving mad.

The only time I had a traditional Christmas dinner was when I lived in Memphis and my lover, at that time, took me up to Covington where his folks, grandparents, cousins, nephews, etc. would gather with all the adults pitching in to make the humongous meal. My job became ‘the Yankee who picked the greens’ from the garden in back for the soups. For some reason everyone got a big laugh out of that happening. It was great–I loved the dressing his grandmother made and every year, after she found out that I liked it, made a separate pan just for me.

Though I would give many Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners over the years, usually having open house, I finally stopped when I made the decision to live alone but I never forgot those Covington, Tennessee, Thanksgivings. There was such a feeling of family that the warmth just wrapped around you. Even when we broke up I was always invited and I remember those days over 38 years ago as if they were yesterday.

Posted December 23, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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SANTA, CHRISTMAS, A JEW PART 1   Leave a comment

Last year I posted a 3 part series A Jew Looks At Christmas which, immodestly, I think was one of my better posts. I LOVE this time of the year and I really believe in Santa.

There is a magic in the air and even Scrooge, once he gets away from the mobs shopping and relaxes, gets a smile on his face. It doesn’t make a difference whether you are a Christian, a Jew, an Atheist, the last two weeks of the year is different from the rest of the year. Yes there definitely is a religious aspect to the season but I am talking about the season people have taken and made a separate part of the holiday. Christmas trees with ‘icicles’, ribbons, bells, lights, Santa and his helpers ringing bells, telling good kids they will get gifts knowing even ‘bad kids’ will and adults acting like kids.

Wrapping paper, ribbons, boxes, cards, home baked cookies, running around like crazy, lines at the post office, not knowing what to get Grandma, declaring ‘no gifts this year’ and cards being sent on the Internet along with the smells of the season from pine cones and those cookies, streets having special décor, houses, apartments, gardens, roofs, steps all decorated with lights and music coming from unseen places are just a few of the things that bring smiles to faces.

It is a time lost loves, the homeless, the poor, kids, people are thought of and more kindness fills every day chores. It is the one time of the year that people living in hot climates wouldn’t mind one cold day and people living in cold climates wouldn’t complain if there was a slight dusting of snow.

It is a time when we start thinking of what changes we want to make in our life and we even think we will.

Following this will be a new three part series from me about how I, a Jew, celebrate Christmas. Going back in time I want to share the most perfect two weeks in my life, another time when I experienced what a true family Christmas was like and how I celebrate my Christmas now.

Posted December 20, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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HAPPY HANUKKAH TO ALL   Leave a comment

Hannukkah, Hanukkah, Chanukah or Chanukkah are all acceptable spellings of the holiday celebrated by Jewish people sometime between late November and mid December, all according to the Jewish calendar and when the 25th eve of the Jewish month Kislev comes about this year starting at sundown Tuesday, December 16th and ending sundown Wednesday December 24th .

It is basically to celebrate the Jews regaining the Temple which was stolen by the Syrian-Greeks in 165 BC, who dedicated it to the worship of their God Zeus, when the army overtook the Jews making it an offense to be Jewish punishable by death. When the Jews took it back in order to purify the Temple they wanted to burn uncontaminated olive oil but only had enough for one night but still they lit it and it lasted for 8 days.

Hanukkah is a happy time known as The Festival of Lights and in modern times, since it usually is so close to Christmas, Jewish children receive gifts of Hanukkah, one every night for 8 nights. They also play a game with the Dreidel which is a top with 4 sides with Hebrew letters on each side. The game is usually played for Gelt which are chocolate coins covered with foil.

Eating fried foods are part of the rituals with potato Latkes, pancakes made with potatoes and onions and served with apple sauce, and Sufganiyot, a fried jelly donut.

A serious part of the holiday is a lighting of the Menorah–a candelabra having nine holders for candles with the middle higher than the 4 on each side. Every night one of the 8 are lit with the middle having been lit at the beginning of the holiday.

Lighting candles, playing games, eating chocolates, potato pancakes and fried donuts–what is not to like about Hanukkah which means ‘dedication’?

Posted December 16, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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I WILL NEVER EAT AGAIN—HA   Leave a comment

Was it only a couple of days ago we spent Thanksgiving Day afternoon at the Isle Casino? Seems like weeks ago!

Allen and Philip picked me up at 1 PM and off we went to the casino. I was very surprised when we got to the buffet restaurant as last year we had to wait almost 2 hours and this year we went right in! Didn’t even have time to lose money before we went it.

You might want to look at the slideshow as you read this–can you do both at the same time?–but I think you will know what I am referring to here as you look at the pictures.

Pictures 1, 2, 4, 10 and 11 are pictures of the buffet, people, food and slot machines. When I was taking picture #3 the chef jumped in front with a big smile so how could I tell him to get out of the way of the food?!

Pictures 5 and 6 are of some of the foods I remember eating: 3 different kinds of pizza, chicken wings, prime ribs, bbq ribs, fried shrimp, pork, rice, seafood salad, more ribs, etc. I didn’t have any of the turkey and trimmings because I had a turkey and trimmings cooking in my crockpot at home for the rest of the week!

Picture 7 is of some of the desserts they have and if you look at picture 8, right side, you will see a plate missing and now if you look at picture 9 on the right you will see the missing plate–it’s a slice of carrot cake sitting in front of me!!! Isn’t that amazing/surprising? Oh yes, there are a few of the other desserts I had plus I forgot to take a picture of the ice cream.

The important picture is number 12–that is the machine I played and penny machine or not I walked out with $7.60, including my meal paid for, ahead for the day!

All in all it was a nice pleasant way to spend Thanksgiving Day. Why don’t you join us next year?

Posted November 29, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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ME IN 1988

I very seldom repeat past posts but I get so tired at this time of the year regarding “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy Kwanzaa”–I personally don’t care what you say as long as this time of the year means something to you for whatever reason. This is a 3 part series that I wrote for a paper years ago–hope you enjoy reading it again or reading it for the first time!


I LOVE Christmas and have since the days stores didn’t decorate for the holiday until Thanksgiving weekend when Santa appeared magically all over town and the Salvation Army went out in force and didn’t take credit cards and the men stood by their big, black kettles ringing bells. It was back in the days when there were Christmas, not holiday, trees and people gleefully yelled “Merry Christmas”, not “Happy Holidays”.

I remember 63 years ago sneaking out to my front yard where we had a tall, huge fir tree and decorating it with balls and silver strips and my mother lamenting, & quote; “What will the neighbors think?” and I didn’t care. We lived on Bogart Avenue, between Lydig and Pelham Parkway, the dividing line between the Sharks and the Jets–for those who don’t get the reference it separated the Jews from the Italians and our block was made up of both.

I didn’t think of it as a religious holiday but as a time for peace towards all men. Way back then–in the ice age–you didn’t hear songs like “Jingle Bells”  until Thanksgiving weekend, certainly not in October as a theme song for a cruise line. The celebration of the Christmas feeling started when you heard Nat King Cole sing, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” from The Christmas Song or Judy Garland’s sweet, sad voice sang “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” and, of course, wherever you went you heard Der Bingle (Bing Crosby) sing “White Christmas”.

Christmas wasn’t a religious time for a Jewish boy in New York but a time of cold weather, snow flurries, people running here to there with a smile on their face and everyone carrying wrapped packages with bows and ribbons. Of course I had an unfair advantage over my Italian friends because I, also, got to celebrate Hanukkah where children were given geldt (money) and went to the houses (apartments) of their grandparents who had immigrated from Russia and England and were surrounded by very large families and ate and ate and ate, because that is what Jews did on holidays, though I was to learn so did Greeks, Italians, Filipinos, Germans, etc.

Again, it wasn’t the religion of the holiday that attracted me to attend Christmas midnight mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral but the pageantry, the voices of the choir ringing out and the sound of the Latin language, again this was many years ago, echoing through the cathedral. I must confess–hey, it’s a Catholic church–that years later, in the 60s, Ronnie, Joe and I use to go for ‘camp’ reasons–to see Cardinal Spellman all dressed up in his finery, his red robes looking like a gown and, we thought, in all probability, hiding his red, ruby slippers.

None of this is meant, or said, in disrespect of the Christmas holiday and its true meaning but looking at an aspect of it that was open to all children who had imagination and loved to see their world almost become magical for 4 weeks–not like now where by the time the holiday comes around you are ready to scream if you hear one more Christmas song because you have been hearing them since August when you started getting the catalogs and the stores were decorated with wreaths and holly even before Halloween.


Posted December 23, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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A couple of days ago I wrote about this plant basically saying  there is my amazing Christmas cactus plant that I have had a few years. It once again is in bloom this year having only missed 2011 BUT it did bloom in time for my Leap Birthday February 29, 2012–that was strange. Now it is even stranger as in the past few days among the pink flowers some white ones have bloomed!

Just when you think you have everything figured out Mother Nature throws a curve ball at you. Last year I cut off a few pieces of the mother plant and potted them around the house. Most have continued to grow giving out green leaves but no flowers—until today!!! I was getting ready to water the plants when I noticed one of the odd potted plants had bloomed a white cactus flower!!

Why only this one boggles my mind but I have come to learn when it comes to her you just have to accept whatever Mother Nature throws your way and to just revel in what she bestows on you.

I know the northen half of the USA is having wild storms and will continue to while we have a high of 81 degress today! I really shouldn’t gloat but she can change things around here in a minute. As it is we have not had a hurricane in 8 years so I really shouldn’t tempt fate by saying “Don’t you wish you were here where you could spend the day on the beach and take a swim in December?” I won’t even think about it though I know when we start freezing here with temperatures in the 40s and 50s, for a night or two, you won’t feel any empathy for us.

In any case I want to publicly thank Mother Nature for a beautiful day and surrounding my apartment with beautiful flowers and I wish you all a happy, warm, present filled Christmas holiday week!

Posted December 21, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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I’ve got it all ready including the turkey. There are the cans of cream of mushroom soup, strings beans and fried onions to make a casserole. There are the pie shell and the can of pumpkin to amke the pie along with an Italian wedding cake for those who don’t like pumpkin–like me!  The stuffing, cranberry sauce, apples, peppers and oranges to place in the turkey and around it–the loaf of bread to break with friends!

In all probability I will roast the turkey over night at 225 degrees so when I wake up I’ll be greeted by the smell of the perfectly done turkey. Some years I baste it with orange juice and other years with diet soda so that’s one decision I have to make yet.

Actually I will probably do this all Friday evening so I can celebrate Thanksgiving all weekend as people stop by because, as we have done for a few years in the past, Allen and I will be going to the Isles Casino in Pompano Beach Thanksgiving Day to have their wall to wall buffet of which they added a new angle—I am getting so healthy eating all this ‘healthy’ food! LOL


By the way in case you didn’t know

Posted November 27, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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