Well played Facebook, and the geniuses who run the marketing department. This advertisement just showed up in my News Feed. Ironic? Hardly. I’ve spent the last few days creating blogs like a machine (no kids this weekend!), and what-do-ya-know? The crickets are back, and my posts are going unnoticed.
Wait Until Christmas Eve to Post My Next Masterpiece.
Right? I mean, it’s only the last week of summer. I can’t be the only loser protecting my skin from cancer by parking it on the couch. Right?
Keep scrolling…I’d like to answer Facebook’s question….
Dear Marketing Stalkers at Facebook,
Thanks for the cool ad today. You’ve obviously been paying close attention to my blog. Whoot! Whoot! It looks like I’m not the only one working today either–the robots are still clocked in. Boo!
To answer your question:
FACEBOOK: “Tired of Writing Great Articles that Nobody Reads?”
LOSER BLOGGER: “No! I’m not tired of creating hilarious blog posts for my MOM to read. She’s a HUGE fan. Personally, I think I’ll just grab a piece of scented stationary and a pen for the next blog. I’ll whip up some fancy paragraphs full of calligraphy and send the post directly to her mail box. It’ll be cool.”
My nap was interrupted this morning by overwhelming thoughts of my grandpa. We called him Papa Matteri. It’s a good thing I love him so much (may he rest in peace!), because missing my A.M. snooze makes me a little cranky. Originally posted on Robin Matteri Facebook in 2011
Papa died about one-month shy of his 90th birthday, so don’t be sad, he lived a full life. His life was a mixture of ups and downs; some good, some bad, some stupid, and some sad.
The Top 10 Funniest Things Papa Matteri Did (off the top of my head!) before dying at 90
10. His desire to be deaf.
As a child, I remember my grandma constantly yelling at Papa about his hearing. She told us repeatedly that he “only heard what he wanted to hear.” As a child, this never made sense to me. I finally understood her frustration when I was an adult. The aggravation of trying to have a conversation with him became, at times, so unnerving that I just walked away.
Typical Conversation went like this:
Me:“You need hearing aids!!”
Papa:“Oh, shit, I can’t hear you.”
This exact interaction occurred between him and every member of my family on a daily basis.
9. Who wants to spy on Papa?
Let’s just say that as children we weren’t as fortunate as the youth of today with an abundance of technology. When we played, we had to get creative.
My grandpa worked the night shift at Hank’s Deli and would typically sleep a lot during the day. With nothing better to do, Michelle, Alan and I would crawl around the house like we were in the army, creep into Papa’s room with super stealth-like moves and totally mess with him.
We’d tickle his toes with a feather, tickle his nose or just crawl around trying not to laugh. The object of the game was to piss Papa off (for some reason), and we always won.
8. Yeah, I have my license, I can drive. I was 14.
He owned a 1972 Chevy Pick-Up (still parked out on the Ranch somewhere), and I wanted to drive. We were twenty-two miles north of Patterson when I asked him.
I about panicked when he pulled to the side of the road on Highway 33, got out of the pick-up, walked to the passenger side, and told me to take over.
I made it less than a mile before I started crying, and fessed up.
7. Want to kill him and bury him in the backyard?
I cross my heart; he was just acting macho. No one is buried in the backyard.
Papa ain’t that gangsta!
6. Who bought Papa, a cell phone?
Why, thank you Alan. In the event of an emergency, Alan thought it would be good for Papa to have a cell phone. Well, unlike the rest of my family, I answered when he called 300 times a day. Please refer to number ten on this list and imagine those calls.
5. His love of poker.
Back in the day (40-50 years ago), the hottest poker game in town and on the streets was called Lo-Ball. Papa loved his poker.
As the name implies, the object was to get the lowest five-card hand instead of the highest in most poker games.
Now, please keep this in mind: With seventeen years experience in the world of poker and casinos, I have heard everyone use “bad luck” to defend their losses in gambling. In most cases, luck had nothing to do with it.
Most people lose because they play poorly.
However, in all those years, I will confirm TWO people who truly had bad luck at the poker table.
One was Papa.
When I started dealing poker in the Central Valley, Papa began to become a more frequent customer.
“Looks like you’re working for free today Robin,” said my supervisor whenever he walked through the door. The entire card room called him Papa, and every time he played, I bankrolled him with my tips.
He could never figure out how to play “that stupid high game” (as he called it), so he sat down playing Omaha, a version of high and low poker. Without boring you non-poker people with all the details, let’s just say it’s a hard game.
Let’s also say that in small poker rooms customers are enticed to play with promotions and jackpots worth thousands of dollars. Poker players everywhere are waiting to hit the “jackpot” to break even from their losses.
One night I walked up behind Papa, as he was in a hand of Omaha, and I heard him say, “raise!”
He was excited; his hands were shaking like a leaf (odd for a veteran like him), and he couldn’t wait to dump all his chips into the pot.
Which he eventually did after a series of re-raises between two players. Papa, of course, was one of them.
When Papa was out of chips, it was time for the showdown. This is the part where the players turn their cards face-up.
I looked at Papa’s hand,and there it was in all its beauty…… 3-3-3-3. Quad 3’s. As Papa started to get excited, his opponent turned his hand over and beat him with a Straight Flush.
Papa was about 80 at the time, and this was the first time he had ever made a hand this big. AND OF COURSE, it got beat. And to kick an old man while he was already down, the hand didn’t qualify for any promotional jackpot. Papa got screwed that night. But don’t worry, he didn’t lose any money, I did.
He was back the following day as if nothing ever happened.
4. Papa and his scooter.
There are so many funny things to say about this and then, of course, there is a picture that will forever be in my heart. Him on his scooter and Nicholas on his tricycle, cruising around as happy as can be. BUT, the funniest thing ever was the time he ran Uncle Jack over with that thing—-TWICE!
It had apparently been having some problems so Uncle Jack said he would look at it. As he was inspecting the front-end, Papa hit the accelerator and knocked Jack to the ground. Funny huh?
Well, imagine what happened when Uncle Jack attempted to examine the rear of the vessel? You guessed it; one wrong move and Papa backed over Jack.
Happiness is witnessing those moments.
3. An illegal left turn.
As Papa approached 87 or 88-years old, the California Department of Motor Vehicles made him take a behind-the-wheel driving test before they would renew his license. Thank you DMV!
Papa failed this test due to an illegal left-hand turn on a red light.
Of course, his failed test was my fault.
According to Papa, I had messed with his visor earlier in the day, which obstructed his view, and caused him to think that under the RED light, there was a green arrow instructing drivers to turn left.
2. All these old people.
At one point in Papa’s life, he was forced to stay in a nursing home to recover from a hospital visit. It was minor; his stay was short and we visited almost every day. He was 88 years-old.
At one visit, he looked at me and said, “all these old people are making me depressed.” I freaking busted up laughing.
First of all, he had them all out-aged by at least 20 years, and second, every time we visited he would lay in his bed and all dramatic about his situation. Seriously, it was a wound on his leg that was taking a long time to heal. However, the drama king didn’t realize how depressed he made us by begging us to kill him on every single visit.
“Just put a pillow over my head!”—Papa from the Nursing Home to Me
OMG…… oh and while I’m thinking about it….thanks to the facility for also allowing him access to a PHONE!!
“Robin come kill me. Robin, come kill me”
To which I responded:
“I can’t Papa. Tyler and Nicholas need a mom who isn’t in prison.”
1. Going to Alaska.
In 2005, Papa was about 82 or 83-years old, when he called me. “Robin, I’m going to Alaska.”
Papa needed me to go with him to Modesto to get his birth certificate so he could get a passport, because he was “going to drive an old man and his camping trailer to Alaska so the old man could go fishing.”
The “old man” was 90 and blind. Why was this happening? How did no one in the family try to stop him? Why were we already at the point in this mission where he was convinced he was going? Why was I getting in my car to take him to get his birth certificate?
Well, because he was an old man. To hell with it. Let it be known now, since it’s obvious they made it to Alaska and back safely, that Papa had very little feeling in his feet and had to tap his hands continuously because they felt numb all the time.
The deaf old man (refer to number 10), and the blind old man took a three-week journey to Alaska and back. If I had honestly thought they were going all the way, I would have contacted Hollywood and installed hidden cameras. I thought for sure Papa would get to Sacramento (the next day) and say something similar to this: “forget this, I’m going home.”
I suck at grammar, so sue me. Since my inception (is that the right word?) into this industry, I’ve been struggling to learn how to properly punctuate a sentence. The only problem? I’m using the term “learn” loosely. The truth is, I’ve been lazy. Editors have picked up the slack for me. I’ve been reprimanded for horrible uses of the comma, the semi-colon, and of course, the exclamation point!
It sucks even more that I claim to be a writer but lack the necessary equipment to qualify as one. I couldn’t be a plumber without a plunger.
Or, could I?
I began writing by accident, and I didn’t think I’d ever make it this far, so I didn’t care too much about brushing up on (or learning, for that matter!) English. I wanted to write words, lyrics, poetry, and creative essays.
To be honest, I didn’t have a fair shot from the get go anyway. I learned nothing in high school about writing, grammar, English, punctuation, or rules. NO JOKE…. I even spent my senior year in HONORS ENGLISH. (That just occurred to me.) I came from a very small farming community— population 1,300 people. Anyway…. it gets better, I promise……
My high school English teacher called me Sparrow. His play on words did not go over my head.
Sparrow, the species of birds ——> Robin, the species of the birds.
Sparrow Brain ——-> Dense
Hence ———-> Sparrow
He was hilarious, or so he thought, and probably dead now.
I obviously got an inadequate education in anything to do with punctuation, grammar, and the rules of the English language (I already said that), although I’m pretty sure I was taught something. I can’t blame it all on Mr. Griffin. Can I?
In college (community college, that is!), I scored so low on the English portion of my entry exams, I’m assuming the administration thought I was from Russia, and that English was my second language. I was placed in English 125BCD (or something dumb like that), and remember being shocked at the syllabus. I’m pretty sure we had to study spelling, and how to keep a journal. Once again, NO JOKE, I still have the book, and the only thing I remember from that class was how to annotate as I read. Which to me—considering I was from B.F.E., was the coolest thing I was ever taught.
For the record: I still write in every book I read. “I learned that in college, YO!”
Considering I only lasted three semesters in school, I failed to complete anything beyond the “English for the Lazy” (note: I’m ONLY referring to myself here. Considering there was absolutely NO GOOD reason for me to score so poorly, I can only chalk it up to stubbornness and laziness.
So, today, as I attempt to live as a full-time writer, I understand the perception of my authority is based largely on my ability to SPELL, and PUNCTUATE.
Until recently, I assumed a grammar-editing program was cheating, but apparently, it’s not cheating at all. It’s called being smart!
Have no fear friends with hypothetical red ink pens! I have paid for Grammarly and will no longer bother you with inadequate writing skills (just kidding!).
I write as I speak, rarely use a thesaurus, and become confused with an overload of lessons I’m rushing to learn. I’m developing the curriculum for educating myself, and that, my friends, takes a lot of time.
My freestyle writing days are behind me.
Live well and comma on!
Note: This post was checked using the software program. If there is any additional editing required in this piece, please direct your comments to the help desk.
These are a crowd favorite at every function. They are simple to make and packed with flavor.
6 pieces butcher bacon
12 cherry tomatoes
Lettuce (as garnish)
Fry bacon and break into pieces. Set aside. Boil eggs, peel and slice in half. Scoop out yolk and place into mixing bowl. Place halved eggs on tray garnished with lettuce. In bowl, gently mash up yolks and add mayonnaise, mustard, and relish. Use preferred amounts to your desired taste. Mix in crumbled bacon pieces. Spoon egg yolk mixture into individual egg halves and garnish each egg with half of a cherry tomato.
Nick’s Slider Burger
This is the favorite of my 8-year old. It is a “play” on his favorite cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger. The secret is the special space. My secret is the substitution of mayonnaise and ketchup for Mexican crema and salsa.
¼ pound ground beef
12 slider buns
2 T. Mexican Crema
2 T. Salsa (You can choose texture and spiciness!)
Form twelve, 1 inch burgers and place on barbecue. Barbecue to preferred wellness. Mix together crema and salsa. To build burgers, spread crema and ketchup on buns, add beef patty and serve.
Optional: Season ground beef with salt, pepper, garlic or other family favorites
The salsa acts as condiments but slice tomato, onion and lettuce to add more veggies
I’m officially the parent of an adult. If this revelation doesn’t make a girl feel old, well, nothing will. At the end of this year, I’ll turn forty and that still doesn’t make me feel as old as I do when I look at my baby boy-and an adult stares back at me.
I never thought this day would come, for two reasons:
I’m pretty sure I should be dead by now. It took me a few years to get it “together” and there were times when I wasn’t sure.
Yes, friends, my son is eighteen. He’s still a senior in high school, but I’m sure, as I type these words, he’s out buying lottery tickets, cigarettes, and adult magazines. After all, I planned his birth so perfectly that his admission into adulthood fell on a Friday. The “party” I had for him tonight should have been for me.
I did all the work—from creation to enduring fat ankles, to pushing, to raising, to panicking…. I’m the one who had to quit drinking and smoking for nine months, give or take!
He just popped out into the world like, “WAT up lady! I’m gonna give you a heart-attack by the time you’re thirty.”“What’s up lady! I’m gonna give you a heart-attack by the time you’re thirty.”
And I, like a naive new mother, just stared at him in amazement-completely oblivious to the fact that one day, he’d be a man.
The Big Question: What Do I Do Now?
After some consideration and a few tears, I devised a plan that offers solutions for my greatest challenges and concerns.
Recognize the Past as the Past: Every parent has regret, guilt, and a bit of remorse over things that could’ve been done differently. God knows I’ve cried myself to sleep at times with worry. In order to be the best Mother, going forward, I can only acknowledge mistakes from the past and learn from them. In order to get over the past, I have to forgive myself. (Check!)
Let Him Figure Explore Life Through His Own Mistakes: There, I said it, and it’s the truth. In order to make sure I don’t hinder the life lesson’s my son deserves, I have no choice but to allow him to make his own decisions. I have to also allow him to experience success and failure in decision-making. The hardest part is shutting up. I’ve been practicing though, so I’m feeling confident. (Check!)
Tip: New parents can avoid the regret, and guilt or minimize it by learning how to plan for all the stages of growth. I wish I had.
Build a Relationship With an Adult: He’s no longer my baby; that realization is finally sinking in. With that being said, I’m committed to building a relationship that is solid in respect, admiration, and love. I’m excited to watch my son navigate through life as an adult, I really a. (Check!)
Tell Him I’m Ready to be a Grandma: What!! He’s a teenager, he refuses to do what I say. (Check-MATE!)
Tell Him Only Idiots go to College: Ditto! (Check!)
Tip: Take advantage of the savings Amazon offers to college students when you join Amazon Student. There’s still time to plan ahead for the next leg of the trip.
In 2000, I accidentally landed my first real office job. I worked in a cubicle (OK, semi-office job), as a call center representative with thirty-three co-workers in a space built for about five. It was here I learned why the world loved the nine to five lifestyle, and why office jobs were so popular.
In between calls, we were allowed to use the Internet to enhance our skills as customer service reps. We were allowed to read, learn, and surf the Web during down time as long as goals were met and call quality remained top-notch.
Keep in mind, the Internet was “relatively” new back in those days. There wasn’t easy access to the world via smartphone, there were FEW laptops (if any), and people with home computers were “special” and “rich”–in my mind anyway.
So, this newly discovered vessel was unbelievably exciting to me.
These office prodigies educated me, and I was in awe!
I had spent my adult life working nights as a poker dealer and a bartender. I worked nights because the tips were better, and had never had an office job.
I had adamantly refused to be normal and couldn’t imagine working in an office or working for a paycheck.
It all became clear one morning, on the third floor, in a small office space, in the middle of Wisconsin…….
Bored.com became my favorite website during those breaks intended to enhance my productivity and level of expertise in the field of customer service. It was also during this time as well that my cyber-social life began to explode.
I learned how to email, how to find old friends at reunion sites (WAY before Facebook), and after a quick call to my mom, learned to send an attachment. I wrote letters to people I hadn’t “seen in forever” (I graduated high school seven years earlier), and loved keeping in touch with the group of friends I had just moved away from in California.
Wisconsin was amazing, but the homesick was beginning to set in. Email correspondence cured that.
I emailed everyone (I was popular, ya know!) and waited eagerly for responses. That same year I learned how to use the “refresh” button and found myself cutting customers off so I could refresh my email account. I loved this form of communication.
I “talked” to my Chris the most. He had just graduated from Sacramento State, and found a writing job that allowed him to travel, interview, and share his love of music.
I think I was secretly jealous.
Chris sent me (and still does, by the way), the most hilarious emails ever! During my time in Wisconsin he amused me with stories about the drunk girls we used to work with, his tortured life interviewing Primadonna (not MADONNA!) music artists, and perspectives on the world that he “needed to write” about.
At this point in my life, I was still taking ball point to the Composition book and calling it poetry.
I was totally jealous.
My diligence as a daily journal-keeper had dwindled. I was rarely inspired to write unless drunk, and the illusion of putting music to my words was beginning to fad. I was 25-years old, and my chance at fame had long passed. I was too old to ever be a songwriter, (and too over-dramatic to take a peek at reality!).
Old school email.
So I wrote emails-For the very first time in my life.
JAN 8, 2001 DEAR CHRIS, THAT WAS THE FUNNIEST EMAIL I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!!!! MAN, I MISS YOU GUYS. THOSE CHICKS ARE STUPID AND SO MUCH DRAMA!! GOOD FOR US THOUGH BECAUSE THEY MAKE THE BEST STORIES. WE NEED TO BECOME WRITERS!!!!! LETS WRITE SOMETHING!!! CASINO STUFF? ANYWAY—-WISCONSIN IS COLD AS SHIT BUT SO MUCH FUN. ILL CALL YOU AGAIN SOMETIME WITH ANOTHER DRUNK KARAOKE SONG TO SING YOU? CAN YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE GAVE ME A JOB AS A BARTENDER/ FUNNY!!!!!!!! GOTTA TAKE A CLL- WRITE BACK SOON ROBIN
January 8, 2001 Dear Robin, Okay, I can’t handle it anymore, what the hell is up with your emails? Every time I read one of them, I feel like you’re yelling at me. HAHAHA! The ALL CAPS, and exclamation points scare me!!!!!
Anyway, the girls here are still the same-hilarious, chain-smoking, white trash, and always ready to party. Of course I love them.
Well, I have to go—-I think my Editor is going to make me interview Britney Spears this week (I WANT MADONNA!), and I’m loathing the thought of it. I have no idea what sort of questions to ask because I could care less.
Talk to you soon.
JANUARY 8, 2001 CHRIS!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HELL!! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TYPE!! WITH THE SHIFT THINGY AND SHIT—-IT’S CONFUSING!!! I DIDN’T’ TAKE TYPING BECAUSE I DIDN’T EVER PLAN ON HAVING A TYPEWRITER OR BEING A SECRETARY!!! HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO PREDICT THE FUTURE AND KNOW COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET WOULD TAKE OVER? IT TAKES ME 45 MINUTES TO FIND LETTER G. I HATE THIS SHIT.
——————— It took me about six years to type well enough to attempt a career as a writer. In addition to passing on the chance to take a typing class, I also had a drunk as a high-school English teacher. I was never formally trained to write. You can read more about my English teacher, (who called me Sparrow, instead of Robin, lol!), and my miseducation (<—-got that word from Lauryn Hill) in the art of punctuation, and grammar.
My apologies if I offend you. I do pay for grammar software, but sometimes even it gives up on me.
Over the course of my history on Facebook, I have shared everything about my life. Here is one from the archives that has put a little pressure on me. In 2009, I had a goal— Oops! I had 4 years and 364 days to accomplish it but like always, I’ve procrastinated. 100 days to go….
A documentation of healing, humor and perspectives that define people
Walkabout was a term coined by the Australian Aborigines. It was a reference to a spiritual journey. Many Aborigines sought out spiritual teachings in the landscape of their land and home as a way of finding a “Sacred Belongingness“.
My dad, who thought he pioneered the term, used it to round up his buddies in an attempt to walk “about” the town looking for fun. Today my family and I use the term as a reference to walking “about” the town in search of people, places and things that are important to us as community members.
A few days after Christmas in 2007, my dad passed away suddenly in his home.
He lived in Patterson for 55 years: was an active member of the community and the owner of Patterson Glass. He spent his lunch hours watching The Andy Griffith Show and his evenings laughing with SpongeBob Squarepants.
Although he dreamed of living on the beach he knew Patterson was home and he loved it.
After spending some time in Patterson, my eagerness to explore the outside world took over and I parted ways from his community and didn’t return until after his death.
I chose a walkabout that led me straight back to the landscape I had originated from.
So, I began my journey of the walkabout. A rather simple one that solely consisted of walking.
I walked every morning and most afternoons; eager to meet the community; eager to talk to anyone that would listen and eager to embrace and be embraced. It became a ritual of getting to know the people, the places and landscape of the town in an attempt to feel a sense of belonging. As it turned out the city I despised a decade ago would come to surprise me in many ways.
As I walked, I began to make peace. Peace with my dad, peace with the community and peace with the people. And, with peace came confidence; and with confidence came ambition; and with ambition came life and excitement.
The overall pleasantness of the community not only surprised me but also gave me hope.
Family and the pursuit of togetherness and belongingness are essential aspects of life to those who reside here.