28 February 2006

Dream On

"There's someone like everyone but there’s no one like Pete."

With these words, James, the best man, kicked off Pete & Apryl's wedding reception. In a toast rife with classic DeLuca anecdotes, James told his audience this long-held sentiment about Pete expired about five years ago when he met his better half. Indeed there is someone like him -- his bride, Apryl.

(Best Man James)

Both Pete & Apryl can kick any moment -- big or small -- up several notches. As James noted, they don't just go skiing, they go skiing in Chile. They don't just go to a Patriots' game, they go to the Super Bowl. They don't just go to a Sox game, they go to the World Series. But the best part is they appreciate every second of their good times. They are always aware when significant moments are unfolding, whether the moments are part of their own personal history or history at large. Pete called James after the Red Sox won the World Series in St. Louis; he and Apryl were leaning over the first base line filling their pockets with dirt from the infield.

So, it's no surprise that their wedding, in keeping with their philosophy, was just as memorable. Let's pause briefly for a few photos...

The ceremony and the reception were at the State Room (formerly the Bay Tower Room), a gorgeous venue on the 33rd floor of Sixty State Street where floor to ceiling windows show off panoramic views of the city and harbor. And once the snow and fog cleared, Pete & Apryl -- in front of friends, family and a crystal clear city night -- exchanged vows as each other's "biggest challenge and best friend."

Their band, Nightshift, was undoubtedly one of the best wedding bands I've ever seen. They transitioned, almost seamlessly, from Pete & Apryl's wedding song "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera, to 70s disco, then to a little funk, to some classic Michael Jackson and even a bit of U2 and Coldplay. Very few people sat down during this wedding as there were musical goodies for all to get down to.

(Out of my way! I must dance to Billie Jean. >>)

When the band played "Beautiful Day" by U2, a wedding guest who had to be in his 70s, stood a few feet away from me with his arms raised, singing, "DAAAAAAY." On the flip side of the family, Kyle and Dan "the Duke" DeLuca made their way inside many a dancefloor circle.

(Paul & Maria catch a bass line)

At the end of the evening, Pete took the mic. He thanked Jamie for inviting Paul and Maria, and Maria for inviting Apryl on the now infamous ski trip to Whistler five years ago where he first met his wife to be. And then, in an unexpected twist that was both surreal and hilarious, Pete and two of his friends on drums and guitar tore into "Dream On" by Aerosmith. It's important to note that Pete has never been in a band. Still, he busted some Steve Tyler-esque antics with the microphone, pulled off a few high kicks, and got really sweaty as the song built to its crescendo. While the singing left much to be desired, the message in the music was something of an invitation: "Sing with me if it's just for today. Maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away." They are words that Pete and Apryl live by. And last Saturday night, everyone at the wedding lived by them too.

24 February 2006

Man vs. Nature

(James reels in a seamonster)

The boys are back from their Costa Rican fishing expedition. I'm still surprised that James, our Arab engineer, made it through customs having grown darker than a Columbian coffee bean in the Costa Rican sun. Since returning, James has been indulging in laptop slide shows every five minutes, wistfully reliving the moments of his trip. To me, much of it seemed like something straight out of Jaws as some of those sailfish are just plain scary looking.

(< Matt's Mammoth Marlin)

Matt Del, like Hemingway's Santiago, engaged in a fierce test of wills with a 750 lb Marlin. When he finally reeled the behemoth in, rumor has it, he openly wept. This spontaneous release of emotion proves once and for all what most of us already knew -- that beneath his curmudgeonly exterior, Matt is all bunnies and rainbows. I was happy to learn -- with the exception of a dolphin fish which they grilled up and drizzled with olive oil -- the boys let all of the fish go after they caught them.

(The Old Men and the Sea)

It wasn't all fishing, however. The boys dined and cocktailed their way through the week, coloring this exclusive resort community with shades of Weymouth. Last year, Prince Albert of Monaco fished on Mr. Del's boat. This year it was B-Mac and Jimmy, Vince and Sepeck -- a much more entertaining cast of characters if you ask me. And while out of his element culturally -- James thrived. Watching endless hours of Dora the Explorer finally paid off as he was able to use his preschool Spanish to make chit-chat with some high-end Costa Rican hookers.

22 February 2006

Red's Baron

Congratulations to Code Red on her new arrival, Baron! Annie has adopted a six month old pooch into her life and loft after deciding she was "ready to care for something else besides herself." She said she has some house plants that may disagree with this notion, but to them we say: Shut your pie holes, house plants! Maybe if you'd had Baron's soulful eyes and sweet nature, you'd have made it. Ever hear of survival of the fittest? Ok..that was kind of weird. Anyway, Vito, Patch, Wrigley and Logan, the canines of our group, are chomping at the bit for a field day with Baron. In the meantime, Vito has been grounded after Caroline busted him humping "Valentino," the stuffed dog that James gave her for Valentine's Day.

21 February 2006

Paulie Decimates Assinippi General Store...Again

(photo: Paulie "The Milkman" Jackson has an appetite for destruction)

For the second time in two months, Paulie cut a swath of destruction through the Assinippi General Store, our favorite neighborhood convenience store. Last month when we went in to buy some bread, he launched loaves of Scali off the shelves, took a bite out of an apple and put it back, and then tackled a newspaper rack on his way out. I promised the owner I wouldn't bring him back until he was past this stage. But Saturday, with James away and no babysitter, I was forced to bring him because we were fresh out of diapers and Cavit. Again, I figured I'd run in and run out. How much damage could he do in under 4 minutes? Within seconds, he'd grabbed a giant bag of Cheetos from the snack shelves and sat on it. The bag exploded and Cheetos crunched beneath my feet while I shooed him away. My arms were loaded up with diapers and wine so I tried to sort of herd him toward the check out line. He stayed in front of me, rolling a can of Bush's Baked Beans down the not-so-clean aisle. Then he overturned a bucket of ATM receipts and used coffee cups. I offered to clean everything up but the owner kindly said "not to worry." I bought the flattened Cheetos, went home and bathed Paulie in Purell.

17 February 2006

Cream Shop Friday: Oprah as It Should've Been

Spend one minute and 13 seconds in the Cream Shop today and check out this creative mash-up of two key Oprah interviews: The confrontational one where Oprah tears James Frey a new one and the supergoo interview of sofa jockey in fake-love, Tom Cruise. If only...

15 February 2006

TomKat and a Crazy Dangle

The latest issue of Life & Style magazine which hits newsstands tomorrow is reporting that TomKat, that monkey-charade of a romance wrapped in a heavy beard, is over. Before the story even broke, Cruise's publicists Paul Bloch and Arnold Robinson swooped in to issue a forceful denial. "It should be known that this story is 100 percent false." Then they climbed back into their spaceship and spirited away.

I personally thought Katie Holmes was rocking a fake belly but now I'm convinced she consulted with Debbie Rowe (Michael Jackson's baby mama) and made her acquaintance with a turkey baster. Since announcing her pregnancy, Holmes has been closeted as tightly as Cruise's homosexuality and only gets out once a day for a cup of Peet's coffee -- with several "handlers" from the Church of Scientology in tow, of course. There is likely a billion dollar contract involved so we can't feel too sorry for her self-made mess.

The "insiders" quoted by L & S mag say that Tom, 43, and Katie, 27, plan to keep up the farce until after their baby’s birth this spring and then announce a separation shortly thereafter.

MEANWHILE...Cruise was spotted dangling from a balcony at a Kanye West concert this past weekend. Apparently he became completely unhinged during "Golddigger," when during Kanye's line about pre-nups, he threw his hands in the air and started climbing up cables to latch onto the upper balcony. You just can't make this stuff up.

13 February 2006


(Jim's Camera phone photographs auras. Mine and Annie's apparently consist of static)

In celebration of Ernie's birthday, we headed to dBar in Dorchester for dinner and dancing with the boys. From the outside, dBar blends into Dot Ave perfectly. The sign is spelled out in the Celtic lettering of a typical Irish bar and inside, it's mahogany city, but trust me -- this ain't the Eire Pub. After experiencing the "Hot & Dirty" martinis and Sesame Crusted Tuna, you get the feeling you're not in Dot anymore. Also, there is not a whiff of the New England Reserve which is often so prevalent at neighborhood taverns. Here, instead of pretending you don't exist, the patrons and waitstaff are laid back and friendly (and quite ripped).

(Ernie, Annie and I ensconced in the ghostly blue static of the Jim Cam)

After 10 p.m., the vibe shifts; the tables are gradually cleared and the whole place becomes a nightclub. DJs spin disco, dry ice creeps in, requisite gay sing-a-longs and shirtless dancing ensue. It's such a great concept and I can't wait to go back. LP, Di, Annie, Ernie and Jim partook in the fun and it's official: We have a new favorite place to dance. At the very least, a tradition is born. Who's birthday is up next?

09 February 2006

Random Quizzilla

1) When was the last time you swam in a pool?
Last summer, I swam in my pool twice. It took us five weeks to open it properly and then the season started to turn.

2) Describe your personality in terms of a certain vehicle and explain why.
A Mini Cooper. Because it's small, self conscious and completely impractical.

3) If you were to win a superlative award just for today, what would it be?
Most likely to finish the Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins my babysitter brought over earlier.

4)What song do you like to sing along to in your car?
"Always Love" by Nada Surf. A perfect driving tune and as satisfying as Spree candy. I crank it up and sing it loudly, even when the babies are on board. Paulie is a bit of a rocker and shakes his head from side to side whenever I do something like this. Caroline, however, frowns in disapproval, "Turn it down, mommy. And no singing, please."

5) On a scale of 1-10, how sociable are you?

08 February 2006

Serendipity & Red Bull in NYC

(< Photo: Velvet-roped and we don't know why)

The last time I traveled to New York with this particular crew was in Feb 1996. We had a crazy co-worker along with us named Ginger who was obsessed with returning a two year-old dress to Bergdorf's and putting wrestling holds on men. This time, happily Ginger-free, we more than made up for the nine-year gulf between trips. As usual things did not start out smoothly. A harrowing Jet Blue experience delayed the fun for several hours. At 10 p.m., Annie and I were finally in Manhattan but Jen, Jonae and Siobhan were still drinking wine at Legal Seafoods at Logan with a giggly businessman named Todd. They didn't arrive until 1 a.m. But from thereon, good times and serendipity reigned, bringing us places where we never intended to go that proved to be much better than our original destinations.

On a recommendation, Annie and I headed out to a Thai restaurant named Rain which had two locations in Manhattan. We naturally chose the location closest to us but when the cab dropped us off in front of the address, it was boarded up and painted black. And the paint looked fresh. We walked down Lexington Ave and popped into a small French bistro called Sel & Poivre which ended up being exactly what we wanted. Cocktails and chair dancing at Rue 57 followed, where we were greeted by a patron being dragged out "Weekend at Bernie-Style."

The next morning, we met up with the weary travelers for brunch at Balthazar in SoHo to load up before a long day shopping for crappy bags on Canal and Spring streets. Anna Wintour, the notoriously evil editor of Vogue, dined just a few booths away from us and we averted our eyes for fear we'd turn to stone. At one point, however, I had to restrain Annie from asking Wintour if she was planning to feature "plump redheads" on the cover any time soon. We ventured down Canal Street in an icy drizzle, constantly accosted by peddlers muttering "louis vuitt, louis vuitt" which sounded like "ribbit, ribbit." They ushered us into "secret" back rooms with walls of counterfeit bags, acting rushed and shady like the cops had no idea they existed.

(photo: "louis-vuitt, louis-vuitt")

Soon, it was high time for a snack and a cocktail. Annie, Jonae and I headed to the SoHo Grand. Jen and Siobhan, who continued to maurader for bags, met us there two hours later. Pupils dilated, coming down from handbag high: "We bought eight pocketbooks."

Our serendipitous trend continued that evening when we were looking for a restaurant on West 46th but couldn't find it. We asked a man walking past us where it was and he suggested we go to the restaurant where he waited tables instead, swearing it was better. It was. It ended up being Becco, one of Lidia Bastianich's restaurants. Even though there was a wait, the maitre'd seated us immediately and within minutes, we were carbing up thick with breads, pastas and pies. We topped it off with a round of Limoncella - Cin Cin and a second wind.

(photo: Late afternoon nosh at SoHo Grand >)

We decided to dance off dinner at The Whiskey . When we arrived, we were immediately -- and quite inexplicably -- whisked into a VIP area with our own bar and velvet couches. We enjoyed a few Red Bulls & Mandarins, but unfortunately, the scene quickly degenerated into Techno Hell so we split.

We walked a few blocks to the China Room Club, where again, we were in line for five minutes before a burly bouncer plucked us from obscurity and led us downstair. Inside, we checked our coats. Siobhan wanted to hold on to hers but was stalked by a hostile coat checker around the bar area until she gave in. Her sparkly green shirt made it impossible to shake the coat checker, even amid the swirling dry ice and disco lights. Here, the music and vibe were much better, and finally - we danced for several hours. Around 2 a.m., though, some creepy silk-shirted men were lurking in the shadows trying to procure Heinekens to us like Jello shots. Soon, the China Room smelled of cheap cologne and the pent-up energy of a crime about to be committed. We decided to leave and get some food. Still in high spirits, the five of us walked down Broadway, arms linked, giddily heading into the early hours of Sunday. I, however, was heading for a Lindsay Lohan moment.

03 February 2006

Cream Shop Friday: Britney & Jesus

The Stechford Baptist Church in Birmingham, England recently kicked off a series of little plays called “What would Jesus say too…..,” in which Jesus speaks to famous people through a radio. And this week Jesus spoke to Britney. Director Martin Turner said the event was less about Britney herself and more a cautionary tale for those who believe fame begets happiness.

"There's nothing wrong with fame--Jesus certainly is the most famous Christian--but that's not where happiness lies," Turner said.

So, what did Jesus ultimately say to Spears?

"What we concluded was that Jesus would say there's more to life than fame, that it's fleeting," Turner said.

In fact, Turner said, he thinks Jesus "would have loved Britney's music."

"I'm not sure he would have loved all over her videos," Turner said, "but I don't think Jesus was ever freaked out by overt sex."

Other notables to get a talking to, in a theoretical sense, in the coming weeks include Princes William and Harry, Bart Simpson, sci-fi icon Dr. Who and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. (Condensed from E!Online)

A QUESTION TO PONDER IN THE CREAM SHOP: What do you think Jesus should have said to Britney? Even better, what would Jesus say to that asshead K-Fed.


02 February 2006


This month's Suppah Club -- at Tulio's in Quincy -- comes with a theme song courtesy of Auntie and Phil Collins. Judging from this photo, it looks more like the Last Suppah than Suppah club, with Annie in the role of Jesus. However, the monthly ritual served up the usual fare of riveting topics and issues. We discussed my unabashed Tello's worship and Paige's concern for her health after spending time in India, a largely toilet-free country. Pete & Apryl made an unexpected cameo, but alas Cameo herself did not.

Then, somewhere between the Caesar salad and the bolognese, things turned a bit more solemn. We were forced to stage a mini intervention after Goy revealed a somewhat unhealthy Tiger Beat-ish obsession with Nick Lachey. In fact, she admitted she may very well be cyberstalking him. "But he's just so cute and clean-cut," said Goy.

01 February 2006

Plagued by the Piano Man

I’m troubled by a vivid dream I had the other night. In the dream, I was working at my satellite office. It was Panera but it wasn’t Panera; it was quieter, dingier, and more harshly lit, kind of like a greasy diner. I was working on my laptop and these renegade pop-ups kept popping up. They were all still shots of Billy Joel, complete with sound, which for reasons unknown were set at ear-splitting decibels. Every two seconds, a different Billy Joel song shattered the quiet of the dirty Panera. YOU MAY BE RIGHT! I MAY BE CRAZY. And before I could shut one down, another one would pop up WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE CLOTHES I’M WEARIN.

It went on and on and on. I couldn’t turn the volume down and was continually pummeled. Chrissy Donahue Harmon would have been appalled. Finally, the manager asked me to leave because I was disturbing the other patrons. I left in shame with BUT IT JUST MAY BE A LUUUUNATIC YOU’RE LOOKIN’ FOR hollerin’ out my laptop bag. This is a classic dream of deep-rooted anxiety. The loss of control, the helplessness. I still don’t know why Billy is the one giving me static.