#73 Brother & Sister — National Siblings Day is April 10

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#73 Brother & Sis­ter
Click to view full-​​size or down­load hi-​​rez image for gallery-​​quality print­ing and fram­ing.
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April 10 is National Sib­lings Day.

Clau­dia Evart, after los­ing both of her sib­lings early in life, felt inspired to cre­ate National Sib­lings Day, to be cel­e­brated annu­ally on April 10, the birth­day of her late sis­ter, Lisette.  Here’s her video.

I like what Clau­dia says about our brother & sis­ter rela­tion­ships. I couldn’t say it bet­ter myself, so here are excerpts from her web­site, www​.sib​lings​day​foun​da​tion​.org:

♥ The sib­lings bonds are life-​​long rela­tion­ships usu­ally last­ing from cra­dle to grave.  It is  usu­ally the longest rela­tion­ship of a person’s life and typ­i­cally much longer than a mother’s and father’s relationship.

♥ Because of the blood rela­tion­ship, we look alike and enjoy feel­ings of close­ness which may never be sur­passed in any other rela­tion­ship.  It is usu­ally the longest rela­tion­ship of a person’s life (typ­i­cally much longer than a mother’s and father’s rela­tion­ship).   We must always remem­ber that the strength of fam­i­lies is vital to the strength of our com­mu­ni­ties, state and nation.

♥ Sib­lings Day can be cel­e­brated by send­ing a card or gift or mak­ing a din­ner invi­ta­tion* to your sib­lings on April 10th as done on Mother’s and Father’s Day.  This day does not nec­es­sar­ily have to be attached to a mon­e­tary gift.  Indi­vid­u­als can do some­thing spe­cial like a good deed or favor, errand or chore for their brother or sister.

*as my sis­ter did for her broth­ers right before Valentine’s Day this year — read chaz sez below.

Claudia’s web­site also states these facts:

  • The Sib­lings Day Foun­da­tion is a New York and Mass­a­chu­setts based orga­ni­za­tion with the prin­ci­pal office located in Man­hat­tan.  It was incor­po­rated in Mass­a­chu­setts 1997 and became a not-​​for-​​profit orga­ni­za­tion in Jan­u­ary, 1999.
  • In 1996, Con­gress stripped itself of the author­ity to cre­ate com­mem­o­ra­tives leav­ing sole power to do so in the hands of the pres­i­dent.  Dur­ing their pres­i­dency, George Bush in 2008 and Bill Clin­ton in 2000 signed a Pres­i­den­tial Mes­sage rec­og­niz­ing April 10 as Sib­lings Day.  A Pres­i­den­tial Procla­ma­tion is needed to offi­cially estab­lish April 10th as National Sib­lings Day.
  • Since 1998, 85 gov­er­nors have signed guber­na­to­r­ial procla­ma­tions in 49 states includ­ing for­mer gov­er­nors and White House cab­i­net mem­bers – Tom Ridge of PA, Bill Richard­son of NM, Janet Napoli­tano of AZ, Gary Locke of WA, Chris­tine Todd Whit­man of NJ and Tommy Thomp­son of WI.
  • Mother’s Day (founded by Anna Jarvis of Philadel­phia, PA, 1907) and Father’s Day (founded by Mrs. John Dodd of Spokane, WA, 1910) were estab­lished almost 110 years ago.
  • Sib­lings Day fol­lows the spirit of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day – a great Amer­i­can tra­di­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of family-​​unit val­ues.  It is an uplift­ing cel­e­bra­tion hon­or­ing peo­ple who have shaped our val­ues, beliefs and ideals.  It is a rela­tion­ship as equally impor­tant as a parent’s rela­tion­ship. Sib­lings are the rea­son we cel­e­brate Mother’s and Father’s Day.
  • Almost one hun­dred ten years have gone by with­out hon­or­ing sib­lings!  By estab­lish­ing this spe­cial day each mem­ber of the fam­ily unit will be finally rec­og­nized on a National Recog­ni­tion Day (Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Sib­lings Day).
  • Oprah Win­frey fea­tured and cel­e­brated Sib­lings Day on her national and inter­na­tional daily tele­vi­sion show for three con­sec­u­tive years. SD was broad­casted world­wide on Voice of Amer­ica six years and cov­ered on many news outlets.
  • Sib­lings Day – a cel­e­bra­tion for all ages. It has been rec­og­nized as an annual event for thou­sands of years in North­ern India, Guyana in South Amer­ica and sev­eral South Asian countries.
  • Sib­lings Day Sup­port­ers: Six for­mer gov­er­nors who became White House Cab­i­net Mem­bers: Gary F. Locke (WA – ‘04); Janet A. Napoli­tano (AZ– ‘07); Tom J. Ridge of (PA– ’99); Bill B. Richard­son of (NM– ’07); Chris­tine Todd Whit­man of (NJ– ’98); and Tommy G. Thomp­son of (WI– ‘98).
  •  Con­gres­sional Records issued by Con­gress­woman Car­olyn B. Mal­oney (D-​​NY) 1997, 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2013. Late Sen­a­tor Edward M. Kennedy (1997 –2010) along with Con­gress­woman Mal­oney (1997 to the present) wrote let­ters to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton and Pres­i­dent Bush which resulted in two Pres­i­den­tial Mes­sages sup­port­ing April 10th as Sib­lings Day.
  •  Guber­na­to­r­ial mes­sages issued by Gov­er­nor Steve Bul­lock (MT) 2013; Gov­er­nor Jack Markell (DE) 2012; Gov­er­nor Brian Schweitzer (MT) 2007 to 2009; Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush (FL) April 2001; Gov­er­nor Tom Ridge (PA) March 1998; and Gov­er­nor George E. Pataki (NY) 1997.
  •  May­oral mes­sages issued by NYC Mayor Guil­iani in 2001 and Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 to 2012.
  •  Office of Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent, Scott M. Stringer (D-​​NY) issued Procla­ma­tions from 2009 to 2013. Mem­bers of NY State Leg­isla­tive, Assem­bly­man Richard N. Got­tfried (1997) and Sen­a­tor Cather­ine M. Abate (1997) wrote let­ters of support.

I whole­heart­edly agree with Clau­dia, as she reminds us…

“If you are for­tu­nate enough to have a sib­ling, you know the rela­tion­ship has a tremen­dous impact on our lives.  It is impor­tant that we under­stand how vital it is to cher­ish, love and respect our broth­ers and sis­ters in the tra­di­tion that was handed down by our par­ents and grand­par­ents. Sib­lings Day strength­ens the fam­ily unit by remind­ing us that a bond with our sib­lings is for­ever a spe­cial gift.”

If you have a brother & sis­ter, or either, please visit www​.sib​lings​day​foun​da​tion​.org

Along with Brother & Sis­ter, here’s Amper­Art #75 Fam­ily & Friends, the other most spe­cial peo­ple in our lives.

 Spaghetti & meat­balls & broth­ers & sister…

 listen up!I’ve been work­ing on an elab­o­rate Amper­Art piece titled “Spaghetti & Meat­balls” to honor a very spe­cial event my sis­ter Roslyn hosted for her three broth­ers, includ­ing me. Just us sib­lings, nobody else, at Roslyn’s din­ing room table on Feb­ru­ary 7, 2014, as she cooked all day and served us Mom’s spaghetti & meat­balls. Roz pulled out all the stops — a huge spread of Ital­ian appe­tiz­ers, includ­ing my favorite pick­led gar­den veg­eta­bles from my child­hood; Ital­ian bread­sticks, olives (espe­cially my favorite, the wrinkly lit­tle dried ones), proscuitto, salame, and pro­volone. The salad was deli­cious, but noth­ing com­pared to the incred­i­ble meat­balls, hot & mild sausages, spaghetti & “succo” as we called the sauce grow­ing up. (Our mother was Ger­man, but our father, born in Sicily in 1899, must have had his mama teach our mom every­thing about Ital­ian cook­ing, because she sure was a great Ital­ian cook. Her Ger­man dishes were excel­lent, too.) Well, Mom must have taught our sis­ter, because that din­ner brought back mem­o­ries of our won­der­ful fam­ily feasts on Sun­days on the “fancy dishes” which Roz served our din­ner on, the china Daddy had bought Mom after they got mar­ried. Deep red fil­i­gree with a red rose in the mid­dle of every plate and a gold rim, some of which is worn off now. Thanks, Roslyn, for this most cher­ished evening where we ate, rem­i­nisced, laughed, and enjoyed our deep love as sib­lings. We even played a fun game that tested our mem­o­ries as senior cit­i­zens: list all the streets to the right and left of our house. We’re not senile yet — among the four of us we remem­bered them all. We also shared some fun child­hood anec­dotes and divulged some sur­pris­ing child­hood secrets (ha — blackmail!).

And for dessert: Can­no­lis!

My sis­ter Roz, in true Ital­ian fash­ion, sent me home with plates of food, olives and the pick­les that I love so much, that lasted me for weeks. (That was the next day; I spent the night and enjoyed her com­pany all day Sun­day as well.)

Even­tu­ally I will fin­ish Amper­Art “Spaghetti & Meat­balls” (ever try twist­ing strands of pasta into an amper­sand? In Pho­to­shop?). For­tu­nately, just yes­ter­day, I dis­cov­ered National Sib­lings Day, thanks to Marlo Anderson’s National Day Cal­en­dar web­site: nation​al​day​cal​en​dar​.com so was able to give a shout out to my own sib­lings with Amper­art #73 “Brother & Sis­ter” on this 2015 National Sib­lings Day. (Maybe I’ll release “Spaghetti & Meat­balls” right before National Pasta Day, Octo­ber 17.)

To my sis­ter Roslyn & my brother Andrew & my brother Robert:
I love you!

Pro­duc­tion notes for #73 Brother & Sis­ter:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Adobe Illus­tra­tor
Fonts: Eccen­tric*, Har­ring­ton
Amper­sand: Hand-​​drawn
Cred­its for #73 Brother & Sis­ter:
Sil­hou­ettes: stock
*appro­pri­ately named font for this brother, I’m sure my fam­ily would say

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!


#63 Upper & Lowercase (do you know which “case” this refers to?)

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#63 Upper & Low­er­case
Click to view full-​​size or down­load hi-​​rez image for gallery-​​quality print­ing and fram­ing.
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UPPER & low­er­case, as in cap­i­tal and “small” let­ters, are called upper & low­er­case for a rea­son. It’s not because they are taller & shorter.

Upper & Lowercase job cases.The terms “upper” &low­er­case” orig­i­nated in the early days of hand-​​​​set type where each char­ac­ter was cast on a sep­a­rate piece of metal and stored in shal­low draw­ers known as job cases. Fre­quently there were two cases (draw­ers) for each font, one placed on top of the other while com­posit­ing type. The upper case con­tained the majus­cules. The lower case con­tained the minus­cules (these are the proper terms, though not heard much anymore).

This illus­tra­tion has the cases reversed — low­er­case is on top — to clearly show the var­i­ous sizes of indi­vid­ual com­part­ments needed to accom­mo­date the quan­tity of each low­er­case let­ter used for the aver­age com­po­si­tion. (The upper­case com­part­ments are all the same size.) There are more e’s used in the Eng­lish lan­guage than any other let­ter, hence e is stored in the largest section.

Our friend the amper­sand is stored in the upper case (bot­tom in this illus­tra­tion), near the lower right cor­ner: bot­tom row & sec­ond box in — see it?

Proof­read­ers’ marks

The red lines and dots in Amper­Art #63 Upper & Low­er­case are proof­read­ers’ marks. Although today’s man­u­scripts are proof­read and edited with high­lights, tags and “sticky tag” call­outs — or just edited directly in the word pro­cess­ing or page lay­out pro­gram — there’s noth­ing quite like proof­ing a hard copy printed page — you know, paper, not pix­els. That’s usu­ally where the last elu­sive typo will be dis­cov­ered. Proof­ing hard copy is done best with a red pen and a set of good old-​​fashioned proof­read­ers’ marks. Here’s a rather com­plete list:

Upper & Lowercase & many more proofreaders' symbols.


Upper & LowercaseCan you fig­ure out what the red marks in #63 Upper & Low­er­case mean?
Note: the design shows the final result after the revi­sions were car­ried out.
1. Close up (pull let­ters tighter together).
2. Make this a cap­i­tal (upper case) let­ter.
3. “Stet” — let stand, ignore changes, revert to orig­i­nal.
4. Change to lowercase.

Online ref­er­ence from Edit Fast, a ser­vice for writ­ers: online proof­read­ers’ marks chart.

Triva: See where it says “insert lead” and ”take out lead”? Most writ­ers and design­ers today know that “lead­ing” is the term for space between lines of type. But why is it called “lead­ing”? When type was set by hand (or even by machine, but still cast line-​​by-​​line) space was increased between the lines by insert­ing a flat strip of lead which var­ied from 14 point in thick­ness up to 12 points or more. Beyond stack­ing sev­eral strips of lead for a very large blank space, blocks of wood were fre­quently used. These strips really were made of lead, which is why many com­pos­i­tors ended up with cancer.

Upper & Lowercase & all sorts of other edits!

Uh-​​oh. The red pen.

This is how messy a page can get if an ama­teur writer is being red­lined by a pro­fes­sional edi­tor. This photo shows a gal­ley proof, so some of the proofreader’s marks might also indi­cate typesetter’s errors (typos) and artis­tic adjustments.

This image was “bor­rowed” from a won­der­fully enter­tain­ing story on how copy edit­ing used to be. Read it here. Writ­ten by a Lon­don edi­tor, the term you’ll be read­ing is “sub-​​editing” or “sub­bing,” not copy edit­ing as we call it in the States. Fiona Cullinan’s mem­oirs of the days of when copy & paste meant razor blades and rub­ber cement are pure joy. Brings me back to the days of real gal­ley proofs & the “repro­duc­tion com­puter.” Thanks, Fiona.

Image © Peri­od­i­cal Train­ing Coun­cil train­ing material.


Commas, dashes, upper & lowercase, syntax, spelling, &c.

The Fru­gal Editor

If you’re a writer on a bud­get — or if you’re just a com­pul­sive DIYer — you can proof and edit, your­self, with a fan­tas­tic, thor­ough guide on self-​​editing, The Fru­gal Edi­tor, by Car­olyn Howard John­son. I highly rec­om­mend this valu­able & fru­gal invest­ment; see a few pages on ama​zon​.com.

The Fru­gal Book Promoter

Once you edit your book, you might want to sell it — right? Carolyn’s flag­ship book in the Fru­gal series is The Fru­gal Book Pro­moter. See it here. This book is the most com­pre­hen­sive guide on self-​​promoting (or with inex­pen­sive help of oth­ers) I’ve ever read. Just the one state­ment “start pro­mot­ing your book now, even if it’s not pub­lished yet, even if it’s not writ­ten yet!” is worth the price.

Yes, I designed the cov­ers (you’ll see that if you visit the ama­zon links) but I was pas­sion­ate about the project because both books are incred­i­bly thor­ough & help­ful, writ­ten by a bril­liant & delight­ful author & publisher.


 listen up!Print shop was my favorite class in junior & senior high. I printed my own busi­ness cards, greet­ing cards, & fly­ers (which I kept pre­ciously safe in a stor­age facil­ity for over 50 years, intend­ing to share my child­hood cre­ations with you in an arti­cle like this…until they were all auc­tioned off Feb. 8, 2014 and are now in a trash heap some­where along with thou­sands of other bits & pieces of my life, career, art­work — & my soul). My desk is a mess right now — pens, mark­ers, papers & books are every­where* & I guess I’ve had the same bad habit of not putting things away since my early years. You see, the type that I set my fly­ers & such with in print shop should have been called not upper case & low­er­case, but “floor case.” Because I pied (print­ers’ term for spilled) more type than I set, and never went back to pick it up off the floor. I just pulled more type out of the cases. My poor print shop instructor!

*But all my Cray­olas are in the box where they belong.

Pro­duc­tion notes for #63 Upper & Low­er­case:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: InDe­sign
Fonts: Gara­mond, Franklin
Amper­sand: Franklin
Cred­its for #63 Upper & Low­er­case:
Job cases: Unknown
Proof­read­ers’ marks: Pear­son Higher Edu­ca­tion (pear​son​high​ered​.com)
Mark-​​up page: Fiona Cul­li­nan, design​ersin​sights​.com © Peri­od­i­cal Train­ing Coun­cil train­ing mate­r­ial.
Cover of The Fru­gal Edi­tor: I designed it — see the book here.

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!


#82 Full & Empty


82 Full & Empty

#82 Full & Empty
Click to view full-​​size or down­load hi-​​rez image for gallery-​​quality print­ing and fram­ing.
This is a high-​​resolution pdf & may take a few min­utes to down­load.
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I’ll write the full story when my urgent list is empty. If you’re a sub­scriber you’ll get the update.

 chaz sez ...

Noth­ing. Talk later. (Still catch­ing up.)

Pro­duc­tion notes for #82 Full & Empty:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Pho­to­shop
Fonts: Hel­vetica ultra com­pressed, Targa (mod­i­fied)
Amper­sand: Targa (mod­i­fied)
Cred­its for #82 Full & Empty:
Slosh­ing liq­uid (orig­i­nal image is cof­fee): dream​stime​.com/​o​k​e​a​_​i​nfo
Sparkling gunky liq­uid: psd​graph​ics​.com

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design


#81 Devastation & Despair


#81 Dev­as­ta­tion & Despair
Click to view full-​​size or down­load hi-​​rez image for gallery-​​quality print­ing and fram­ing.
This is a high-​​resolution pdf & may take a few min­utes to down­load.
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Exactly one year ago — at 11:30 a.m. on the 2nd Sat­ur­day of Feb­ru­ary 2014 — my soul was auc­tioned off. Every­thing I had from my bronze baby shoes to all my art­work, ideas writ­ten on nap­kins, pho­tographs, my dad’s bar­ber tools and mas­sagers, the last gift my mom gave me which she hand-​​crocheted (this is so spe­cial there will be an Amper­Art ded­i­cated just to that pre­cious item), gifts from fam­ily & friends, books I was to savor read­ing after I retire, Dis­ney and other col­lectibles I had yet to enjoy and pass down to my grand nephews and nieces, fam­ily heir­looms (the grand old floor-​​model wooden radio, the paint­ing that hung over our din­ing room meals), items that belonged to fam­ily and friends, mid-​​century retro fur­nish­ings, sou­venir apparel, stu­dio equip­ment (art, pho­tog­ra­phy, record­ing, office) – every­thing I had in stor­age for home and shop and recre­ation and col­lectibles and gifts, which is every­thing but the few items I have around me at this moment – was pur­chased by a heart­less, greedy ass­hole who never returned my calls so I could offer him far more than what he paid for my life, and I could go on living.

Dev­as­tated and in despair ever since. More to fol­low as future Amper­Art pieces tell the story. I can’t write about it now.

Pro­duc­tion notes for #81 Dev­as­ta­tion & Despair:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Illus­tra­tor (let­ter­ing), Pho­to­shop (noise)
Font: None

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design


#79 Love & Be Loved, a Valentine’s poem


Love & Be Loved

#79 Love & Be Loved
Click to view full-​​size or down­load hi-​​rez image for gallery-​​quality print­ing and fram­ing.
This is a high-​​resolution pdf & may take a few min­utes to down­load.
Find print­ing tips & fram­ing ideas here.

Dear Amper­sand Lover,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A lovely poet inspired my 2015 Valentine’s Amper­Art piece. In fact, her poem actu­ally con­tains an amper­sand. Her poem’s title is also my Amper­Art title: Love & Be Loved.

How blessed
We are
To love
& be loved
For love is
God’s work
in our hearts

The poet’s name is Saman­thi Fer­nando. She is a Cal­i­for­nia Poet who writes inspi­ra­tional & spir­i­tual poetry.

Her writ­ing is remark­able. I am not a huge poetry fan, but what Saman­thi writes — & the way she writes — touches my heart. Her way with words is com­pelling, suc­cinct, crisp, mod­ern. (I like modern.)

Visit Samanthi’s blog, where she’s writ­ten lots of poetry. You don’t just read her poetry, you feel it. The pho­tog­ra­phy in the head­ers is all hers, too. Just like her writ­ing, her visual com­po­si­tion is stun­ning. (If you don’t think the Valentine’s header mea­sures up to the rest, don’t blame it on Saman­thi. I con­tributed that one.)

Fall in love with Saman­thi Fernando’s poetic min­istry of hope & heal­ing at http://​starsafire​.star​rayz​.com/​w​o​r​d​p​r​e​ss/


If you find aes­thetic beauty in this Amper­Art piece, you can thank Saman­thi for that as well. She intro­duced me to rose gold, which she says is very pop­u­lar in fash­ion & décor right now. (I should know this stuff.) I find it a valu­able addi­tion to my list of favorite col­ors. I pre­fer sil­ver over gold. Sil­ver is light, crisp, mod­ern, where gold is heavy & old (just sayin’). How­ever, sil­ver just doesn’t con­vey the rich­ness of gold, & that’s where rose gold comes in. Con­tem­po­rary, invit­ing, & rich.

The locket was orig­i­nally sil­ver, so I sam­pled some acces­sory pho­tos (thanks, Tiffany) & lay­ered the new color over the sil­ver, turn­ing the heart into rose gold. I wish I could do the same to every­thing—I mean for real. Every piece of alu­minum, stain­less steel, pewter & even my sil­ver Cray­olas — open up Pho­to­shop & turn them all into real gold! (On sec­ond thought, leave the Cray­olas alone.)

I LUV U candyheartI LUV U

In devel­op­ment, an ear­lier ver­sion of the art­work had a candy heart where the pen­dant is. I wanted some­thing that said “I love you.” What bet­ter than those iconic hearts! I tried “I LUV U” but that was too friv­o­lous. In fact, I felt the candy heart itself was friv­o­lous and too “candy pink” for such a beau­ti­ful poem, which required a sophis­ti­cated design. I bro­ken­heart­edly (not really, but it is the theme here) decided to sac­ri­fice the words “I love you” for a more ele­gant image. I found sev­eral beau­ti­ful pen­dants with gold & sil­ver & gems…then I found this. A sil­ver pen­dant, beau­ti­fully hand-​​tooled in an organic ham­mered fin­ish, with the words “I love you” in sev­eral lan­guages. The per­fect piece!

That is, until Saman­thi com­mented on its color, sil­ver. No, it wasn’t the rich color I had con­ceived for that ele­ment of the art­work, but that’s the color it was, & gold would actu­ally clash with the other col­ors of typog­ra­phy and back­ground. Then she asked if I had could pos­si­bly make it rose gold. Yes, I’m sure I could — if I knew what rose gold was. She directed me to a few exam­ples & voila! Rose gold is the per­fect color for the locket and for the poem!

That just goes to show…you can teach an old designer new tricks!

Wish­ing you a lovely Valentine’s Day.
Love & Be Loved

 chaz sez ...


To Roslyn, Andrew & Robert:

I love you!

Actu­ally, the head­ing this time should say “Char­lie sez…” because that’s what I’ve always been to my sis­ter & broth­ers, and to my very old­est friends. (I acquired the name “Chaz” in my drink­ing days…I was called “Chaz the Spaz.” Some of my artsy friends liked it so I kept it. Eas­ier to write, too. In fact, I can’t even prop­erly pro­nounce my given name, “Charles,” named after my Sicil­ian grand­fa­ther, Carlo. Though I detest being called “Charles” — too for­mal! — I like the fact that it offers so many options, such as “Chuck,” “Char­lie” & “Chaz.” My sis­ter calls me “Char.”) I do digress. Chaz the Spaz.

Just the other day I was think­ing, sadly, about the fact that as my broth­ers & sis­ter are get­ting older (me too — I’m the old­est) we see each other less fre­quently. I’ve moved 100 miles away & one of my broth­ers is plan­ning to move over­seas. Plus, my sis­ter is kept busy with work, kids and grand­kids. And my other brother is miles away and busy, too.

We’ve always been close as a fam­ily, and I am extremely grate­ful for that. It hurts to hear when fam­i­lies are torn apart. I think we stick together partly in honor of our great par­ents who bestowed immense love upon us; and also just because we respect and love each other a great deal. Although I don’t deserve much respect for all the fuck-​​ups I’ve pulled in my life, end­lessly ask­ing my fam­ily to bail me out or lend me money (lend?). Still, we stick together.

But at the same time, it seems we’ve phys­i­cally been drift­ing apart.

I cher­ish all the trips we took as kids to visit our uncles and cousins (on my dad’s side, just a few cities away; our mother’s fam­ily was in Indi­ana, sev­eral states away). My par­ents’ sib­lings were all very close, and they vis­ited each other fre­quently — by long dis­tance tele­phone calls if not in per­son. I felt the warmth among them, the love.

When will it be too late, I was won­der­ing recently, when one of us is gone before we all got together as a fam­ily again? It was a very sad thought.

Well, a happy thought came in as a text a few days ago. It was a mes­sage from my sis­ter — wait, let me find it so you can read it yourself…

Hey there Broth­ers,  i am hop­ing the 4 of us can get together for din­ner on either Feb­ru­ary 6 or 8.  I spoke to Rob awhile ago and I told him it would be great for just the four of us to “manga” (is that spelled right) together.  I will cook Mom’s spaghetti snd meat­balls with all the fix­ins.  Rob is in so hope u two can join.  It will be a De Simone Happy New Year din­ner!  ♥♥♥♥♥ Roz


I even have Mom’s spaghetti bowl to serve our main dish :)

I felt an immense warmth read­ing that. I felt our close­ness. I felt…love & be loved. I look for­ward to this din­ner very much. Yes, the din­ner itself, as Roz is a fan­tas­tic cook and if she can pull off just a smidgen (one of Mom’s words) of what our mother would have made, it will be a real feast. (I’ll bring the Ital­ian cook­ies.) Note: Our mother was full Ger­man, but Daddy made sure she could cook Ital­ian, and mama mia she could!

By the way, Roz,  it’s spelled “Man­gia!” and you gotta shout it and use your hands.

Even if just peanut but­ter & jelly sand­wiches were served, being with the best sib­ling friends that I grew up with for the past 60 years is one joy­ous occa­sion I’m really look­ing for­ward to. I miss them very much as the kids we once were (okay, they’d say I am still the same irre­spon­si­ble child­ish brat).

I am very happy to tell you, my Amper­Art friends, how much this occa­sion means to me. I wanted to make some sort of pro­found state­ment at this very spe­cial din­ner with­out sound­ing too pompous or sappy, but thanks to you, my readers…I think I just said it. Hope­fully my broth­ers & sis­ter will open this Amper­Art & read it.

So, whether it’s “Char” or “Char­lie” or even “Chaz the Spaz”…I want to say I deeply love, & I know I’m loved by, my incred­i­ble sis­ter & my two mag­nif­i­cent brothers.

UPDATE: Din­ner was mag­nif­i­cent! My sis­ter out­did her­self. After the antipasto, the Ital­ian appe­tiz­ers, olives, meats & cheeses, as well as Ital­ian cook­ies & bread­sticks, there was hardly enough room for the spaghetti, meat­balls & sausage. But we man­aged to stuff quite a bit down, as it was so incred­i­ble to taste “Mom’s spaghetti” again. Then there was dessert: can­no­lis, cheese­cake and gelato. Plus an Ital­ian almond nougat candy which dou­bled as a charm­ing placeholder.

There was still one more course: the fam­ily gath­er­ing itself: just my sis­ter, two broth­ers & myself. We laughed, rem­i­nisced, played trivia games like who could remem­ber all the streets in order to the left and right of our house — a good test for senil­ity. We all dis­cov­ered, or were at least reminded, of events in our child­hood we’d for­got­ten about, and some we never knew.

This meant more to me than the typ­i­cal hol­i­day feasts. That night was a lot of fun & a lot of food, but it didn’t end when we departed. I still feel the warmth and love that my sis­ter & broth­ers brought to that spe­cial evening, and to my child­hood, and to our fam­ily as a whole. I know our par­ents would be very proud that we have stayed so close as a family.

My deep­est grat­i­tude and love to Roz, AJ & Rob­bie (the names they had as kids).

Love & Be Loved…absolutely!

Pro­duc­tion notes for #79 Love & Be Loved:
Orig­i­nal size: 10x15 inches
Pro­gram: InDe­sign, Pho­to­shop
Font: Eras
Amper­sand: A sil­ver pen­dant turned into solid rose gold, thanks to Samanthi’s fash­ion sense
Poem: Saman­thi Fer­nando, starsafire​.star​rayz​.com/​w​o​r​d​p​r​e​ss/
Pen­dant: Андрей Гивель (Ukraine pho­tog­ra­pher, aka Tri­o­nis), 123rf​.com
Back­ground: vec​tor​tuts​.com
Ref­er­ence for rose gold hue: Tiffany (where else?)

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design