“That ring on your finger means we did what yesterday?!”

In Part One of this saga, I detailed the trials and tribulations of online dating that at long last compelled me to stop shooting myself in the foot, to meet the love of my life, and to acquire the brains to marry her on June 11, 2017. In this episode, and because today is our third wedding anniversary, I’ll share this story of our very happy beginnings.

Photo by James Besser on Unsplash

Since our marriage managed to survive last weekend’s culinary adventure, Anne and I renewed our vows and decided to have another go at it. Since we went Italian last time, we also determined to sustain our ethnically themed foray into gustatory goodies by baking Irish Honey Oat Bread. Ya gotta love that.

The ingredients for these luscious loaves included Irish Style Wheat Flour, Irish oatmeal, one Irishman (optional), all-purpose flour, local honey (organic, of course, collected from bees raised in climate-controlled hives), a touch of maple syrup, yeast (yep, Anne thought to buy some just before the crazed-induced shortage), sea…

The artist at work.

Aside from being an accomplished painter, an avid gardener, a burgeoning writer, a generous soul, a beautiful woman, and a wonderful wife, Anne is also an Italian and an amazing cook, the last two items, of course, being a blatant redundancy. In the spirit of engaging in some constructive and tasty fun, we decided to make ravioli last weekend. If you grow up, as Anne did, in a family named Graziano, that means you bust out the flour, the water, the eggs, the cutting board, the rolling pin, and the pasta maker.

Needless to say, the only other thing every…


Doctor Benjamin Spock’s book, The Common Sense Book of Child and Baby Care, was first published in 1946. One of its principal tenets is that children crave the knowledge of their limitations. Some parents learn that more quickly than others. Some parents never learn it at all. And sometimes children come to learn it, to the astonishment of their parents.

And So it Begins …

The older of my two sons, Sean, was born 37 years after the publication of Dr. Spock’s book — on October 6, 1983, to be precise. Sixteen years later, he was acting out his adolescent irrationality in myriad ways that…

Everyone from the CDC to the WHO (Won’t get fooled again), from the airlines to OSHA, from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal, from the AMA to the ADA, from the American Heart Association to the Red Cross, from the Mayo Clinic to your Uncle Louie has published guidelines for safely contending with and protecting ourselves from exposure to the coronavirus in the workplace. But what about those of us who work from home?

The summers I was 15 and 16, I volunteered at a place that was then called the Regional Training Center Camp (RTCC), adjacent to the grounds of the Powder Ridge ski area in Middlefield, Connecticut. (It’s now the John J. Nerden RTC Camp, named for the saint who was its first Executive Director.) The camp was for people of all ages, with all manner of cognitive disabilities. They would arrive by the busload every morning for a full day of activities.

Photo courtesy of the John J. Nerden RTC Camp.

The first summer I was there, I worked in Outdoor Rec. I got to spend every day in the…

The findings presented here shouldn’t be considered in any way scientific. What’s more, the evidence compiled herein certainly doesn’t constitute a statistically significant sampling. And the story I’m about to relate should positively be considered anecdotal. But all of that notwithstanding, I finally found out where all the polite people ended up: They’re working at Dunkin’.

I gathered the results of this decidedly informal survey at three local Dunkin’ outlets. By local, I mean in or near South Windsor, Connecticut, the town in which we reside. Since America, after all, runs on Dunkin’, geographic specificity is of paramount importance here…

Ignorance is bliss.

In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal reported in late September that the FTC was suing Match.com for:

allegedly using fake love-interest advertisements to trick hundreds of thousands of users into buying subscriptions.

This is the rough equivalent of reporting that the Vatican is suing Pope Francis for being Catholic. What the hell did anyone expect? If you make money by selling subscriptions, you sell subscriptions, no matter what you have to do to sell them. And from what I can recall, I don’t believe the word, scrupulous, appears in any of the contractual language Match.com uses with…

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Nearly 20 years ago, I took my younger son, Quinn (who’s now 33), along with his friend and teammate, Kevin, to play in a weekend AAU basketball tournament in Albany, New York. After the games, as we wound our way out of town on a chilly, overcast Sunday afternoon, we saw a Starbucks. I pulled in. The boys opted to wait in the car. I took their drink orders and went inside.

As I took my place in line, about five people deep in the queue, I noticed the woman directly in front of me. She had thick, wavy, dark…

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash.

My friend and LinkedIn connection, the amazingly talented and courageous writer, Erin Winfrey, created a ten-day Gratitude Challenge for the end of 2019. The poem she published on Day Five inspired me to write this one. For that inspiration and so much more, I’m deeply …


For each and ev’ry laugh or tear,
For all the joys that banish fear,
For all the loved ones I hold dear,
For black turned white, year after year.

For my ability to write,
For all the wrongs that love sets right,
For hope that won’t give up the fight,
For day that always follows night…

Mark O'Brien

Trust yourself. Question everything. Settle for nothing. Conform to as little as possible. Write relentlessly. And never quit.

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