– Nani, when are they going to start crushing?

– Very soon, Emma, very soon.

Maheen was able to confirm this information with the utmost certainty to her three and a half year old granddaughter because for the second time in twice that many days the Nani (known for No Naps) had watched this particular movie.

The Karate Kid.

The 2010 version with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith that takes place in China and culminates in a massive kung fu tournament at the end.

I happened upon the film several months ago when it was playing on one of the two dozen premium cable channels we subscribe to, and ever since that day, every time I notice that it appears on the program guide, I like to watch it.

Regardless of what part is on at the time.

Such were the situations when Nani was over.

She would patiently explain to Emma what was transpiring during each scene while I grinned from ear to ear on my recliner at the two of them.

At last the tournament began and The Bug got to see some crushing.

-Mommy, when can I take karate lessons?

-When you’re older, Emma, when you’re older.


Reveille at 0530

It starts off well for the first six hours.

I sleep pleasantly enough on my side until I wake up on my back. One (or several) call(s) to the night nurse gets me laying with my left cheek on the pillow once again.

This pattern typically continues until the caregiver comes in at a quarter past seven to get me up (and at ’em).

Did you notice I said typically?

For the past three consecutive mornings I’ve had to break from the normal routine and head off to the recliner at thirty minutes to six.

The issue is phlegm.

At this point in the morning, my saliva really starts to flow out of my throat.

Unfortunately, this past week I’ve been battling a cold and that saliva has transformed into large globules of phlegm.

Since I am unable to muster up the strength to cough it out and the suction machine is largely ineffective in situations like this, my only recourse is to get myself seated in an upright position so the phlegm can drain back from where it came.

Probably not the most elegant solution to the problem but it provides the relief I need at the time.

Voting for Contest #13

Hey there, lads and lasses, and welcome back to another vote for your favorite caption in our latest edition of our contest.

Choose the best one and cast your ballot in the poll that appears just below the picture of the most handsome San Brunon (or is it San Brunan) teenaged boy circa 1983.

A Rebranding Opportunity

Most evenings, from about 8 o’clock onward, the time I spend on the recliner with the Bi-Pap tethered to my face is a complete mystery to me as to how the television program I catch the beginning of actually ends.

I know that was an awkwardly constructed sentence. My bad.

Basically, I usually fall asleep midway through whatever it is we’re watching.

But that was not the case last night.

Sort of.

Once Emma headed off to dreamland, Fehmeen grabbed the Comcast remote from the coffee table and pressed the My DVR button so we could begin to make a dent in our backlogged show queue.

My wife pressed play on the latest episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and away we went…

…to join our sleeping daughter in dreamland.

I sacked out almost immediately after the opening credits were done. I even missed out on watching the replay of Teresa’s inebriated hubby, Joe Giudice, chipping a tooth by bouncing his face off the floor of his foyer.

All I knew is that I woke up during a commercial.

Which was weird because typically Fehmeen fast-forwards right past any advertisements that happen to appear on our 42″ Mitsubishi flat screen.

One quarter turn of my head to the right and I saw that my matrimonial partner had fallen asleep as well. Aww, how cute, was my initial thought.

Groggily, I refocused my attention on the television and this is what I think I saw:

It was an ad for some kind of supplement, like a fish oil or an omega 3, created by the fine folks at Chia.

Yes, that Chia.

Ch Ch Ch Chia.

Apparently, the same stuff that grows on the ceramic cats, dogs, and even Mr T’s and Obama’s has nutritional value and/or is good for you.

Go figure!

The next thing you know they’ll be selling us that Sea Monkeys are high in fiber, that ShamWows make excellent diapers, and that if you wear a Snuggy backwards, it’s almost the same as a robe.

Please someone tell me they’ve seen this commercial and that I wasn’t hallucinating the whole thing.

Bursting the Bieber Bubble

Sunday evening around seven, seven thirty or so, the three youngest Picetti’s were hanging together in the family room.

My neck was sore from watching football and football related programming since nine in the AM. Fehmeen must have sensed that my fantasy team was losing because she offered to massage my neck for the duration of three Zac Brown Band songs.

Always the nimble negotiator, Emma inserted her voice into the convo and suggested that we listen (and dance) to the musical stylings of Justin Bieber.

I nodded my head as if my neck didn’t hurt to let Fehmeen know where my loyalties were lying for the evening’s soundtrack. She smiled the ‘of course you’re going to agree with anything your daughter says’ kind of smile as she loaded the disc into the player.

Emma started moving and grooving the second the familiar Whoa Oooh Oooh introductory refrains of the lead track Baby.

After the second chorus and sometime before the Ludacris rapping section, Emma put this little gem out there: “I really like her voice!”

My wife and I looked at each other and Fehmeen informed our not even three-and-a-half year old little girl that the sweet sounding soprano voice she loved to sing along with belonged to a boy.

Her response was simply: “No, Mama.”

She came around a bit when Fehmeen showed Justin’s picture from the cd case and by the time track two began it was pretty much a non-issue for her…

…as it was for me. The massage lasted almost eight songs. You go, Justin(e) Bieber.

Calling All Captions #13

Hello everybody and welcome back to another crazy caption contest.

The results are in from the nationwide vote and although it was close, Marty’s “sister wives” caption took the win over Sean B’s “preferred to be shot” and Robin’s “shotgun wedding” comments. Congratulations (again!), Marty. You deserve to take the old Wally Wagon out for a victory lap in the La Entrada parking lot. Enjoy.

As for this week’s new picture, you may or may not recognize the subject. Even if you do notice the resemblance, please don’t hold back on his account. He deserves your best. Post your captions in the comments section below and at some point next week we’ll put the whole thing to a vote.

Good luck.

Marco Polo

Anyone who has ever spent some time in or near a swimming pool is probably familiar with the game Marco Polo.

Just in case you aren’t the kind of person who lounges around a pool or perhaps you are but you still haven’t the foggiest idea to what I am referring, here’s a quick explanation:

It’s basically a variation on the game of tag that takes place in the water. The person who is ‘it’ closes his or her eyes and says “Marco” while everyone else who is participating must respond with “Polo”. The ‘it’ person then tries to tag one of the other players by honing in on the sound of their voices. The call and response continues until someone gets tagged and that person is now ‘it’.

While it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in the water (I wrote about the watsu experience here), that hasn’t stopped me from playing the at-home version several nights a week.

A typical game begins around 2 or 3 in the morning. Since I need to be repositioned and rolled onto my side, I begin grunting for help from the night nurse. Marco.


Seeing as how I just woke up and my grunting voice might be a little weak, I fire off two in a row. Marco Marco.

Silence. The night nurse is fast asleep.

I gird myself and spit out five in rapid succession. Marco x 5!

Movement from the night nurse chair. Polo.

Then silence.

This is the point in the game where I would like to stop playing and be rolled over from my back to my side because 1) it is uncomfortable this way and 2) the saliva in my mouth is forming a miniature pool near the back of my throat.

I wait several moments listening for any additional stirrings from the night nurse and when none are forthcoming, I begin to grunt once every three to four seconds until I run out of steam. Marco pause Marco pause Marco pause Marco pause Mar

Polo. The ottoman part of the night nurse recliner slams down to its initial spot underneath the chair.

This is where you would imagine that I’d have made the proverbial tag to the night nurse and I’d be happily laying on my side but the game is still afoot.

There is still no movement from the chair to the bed.

Marco Marco Marco Marco Marco Ma

Polo Polo Polo Polo (body repositioned)

Polo Polo Polo (rolled onto side)

Polo Polo (given suction)


zzz zzz zzz zzz zzz

25 To Go

Now that we’ve landed in September on the calendar, the San Francisco Giants season comes down to the final 25 games.

It’s good that every one of those games are against the pathetic National League West, including six against the division leading (and not pathetic) Arizona Diamondbacks.

It’s also good that usually the starting pitchers bring their A games with them each time they toe the slab.

And that’s where they run out of good.

The bad is being six games behind in the standings. As well as a porous defense. And a woefully underperforming offense.

It’s not like I’m giving up on the dream of another World Series W, but it doesn’t look so good from my spot on the recliner.

Do any of you feel the same way or are you still drinking the orange Kool-Aid?

A Post with the Most

My apologies for the lack of productivity on the blog lately. There’s nothing wrong with the eye gaze or with me — besides still having ALS — so there’s no need to wonder what’s going on with your friendly neighborhood quadripleege. I’m a-otay!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Preparing for another season of Fantasy Football. Longtime readers will recall Fehmeen’s absolute disdain for the hobby but she had a last-minute change of heart when she appeared on draft day with my league’s entry fee wearing an Al Davis-approved white jogging suit. I knew she was good to go when she told me to “just win, baby!”

Making spreadsheets with Google docs. Since my eye gaze system didn’t come with Office installed on it — and not to mention that it lacks a cd drive — I’ve had to make do without Excel (or even Word). Thank goodness for Google docs! I was able to create a fancy spreadsheet to use on draft day.

In case you were curious, you should be rooting for Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, Falcons WR Roddy White and Saints QB Drew Brees to do well this year as they were my top three picks. If only to make my wife happy by getting our money back at least.

Playing Hearts. It took me a few games to get back into a winning strategy mindset, but I think I’m almost there. Being short suited is helpful as is having relatively low valued hearts. One of these days I may forsake the safety of the desktop and venture online for some human competition.

Field Trip to The City

The Picetti clan, minus Fehmeen (who was teaching) and plus Julian (who is our caregiver and BoostMaster), took a field trip up to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco this morning.

Earlier this summer we saw a commercial advertising the lizards and snakes exhibit there and we knew immediately that it would be right up Emma’s alley. Fehmeen purchased tickets in June but I wasn’t feeling well at the time we originally planned to go. And then two months later the summer and the exhibit are almost over…


The first thing Emma saw as we rolled in was the Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils in the main entryway. “Dinosaur,” she kept saying as she pointed up to it from her stroller. It should be noted that we had just watched the T Rex scene in Jurassic Park not even three days ago.

Our first stop was on the second floor for the aforementioned lizards and snakes extravaganza. Thankfully we had arrived early enough in the day so we had a practically unobstructed view of each one of the reptiles behind the plexiglass. I think Emma enjoyed the iguana most of all, in part because she saw it yawning, and because it has a cool sounding name.

We then visited the rain forest. Seriously. It was amazing to experience that kind of tropical ecosystem in Golden Gate Park. There were giant blue parrots, more snakes and lizards, and even hundreds of butterflies fluttering around. Thank goodness we forgot my Giants wearable blanket in the van because it was hotter than heck in there.

The next port of call was the aquarium. Lots of Emma jawdrops in this room. Especially notable was the large sea turtle and the gigantic catfish that practically swam up to Emma in the tunnel tank. She also liked touching the starfish and seaweed.

We tried to stick around for the Snakes of the Bay Area presentation but were collectively underwhelmed by the educators excessive verbosity and adamant no touching the snakes policy. Basically, we were hungry for lunch.

Except for me. I had a Boost before they started the show.