I use my blog for “keyboard therapy” as I like to call it. Started out mostly airing my pet peeves of life on planet earth but have written on some serious topics as well, mostly in defense of Mother Nature who I believe is on the verge of revolting against the human inhabitants of her planet.

Remembering Cosmo Berkowitz

Remembering Cosmo Berkowitz

“I want to get another dog.” Zachary Berkowitz, circa January 2005. This is where our story begins.

When Zach’s sister Allie got bat mitzvahed in 2002, we gave her some of her present money and told her to buy what she wanted. She got an iBook laptop computer. We offered Zach the same deal and he  said “I want another dog,” and he was quickly told no. Being the relentless little man that he was, he asked why. My explanation was simple – a dog is not a fixed purchase. You have food, vet bills, doggie sitting and more, plus we already had one dog – Ripley – and as far as I was concerned, one dog was enough. So Zach ended up getting a Tempur-Pedic mattress with his bar mitzvah money.

Over the next couple of years Zach kept asking and we kept saying no. In June of 2005, Zach announced that when he got home from camp, we were getting another dog. My response, “We will discuss it.”

The 2nd week of August, 2005, we met Zach at the bus from Camp Lenox at a hotel off the Garden State Parkway, somewhere around exit 157. It’s about a minute ride from the hotel parking lot to get back on The Parkway and before we could get one exit down that road, Zach says “So when are we getting another dog.”
My response was “I said we’d discuss it.”
To which Zach replies “No more discussing it. We need another dog. Allie is leaving for college and I’m going miss my sister so much, I need someone to replace her,” which is probably only half true but totally well played.
My response to him was something along the lines of “We have lot going on right now…we need to get Allie off to college…we can look into this when mom and I get back.”

So we got Allie off to college, came home and the next day not only was Zach all about getting another dog, his mother joined in. She called Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter, which is where we got Ripley, our 10 year old shepherd mix. They had a litter of boxer/shepherd mixes coming in and we were first on the list. Of course, Zach is checking out what that type of dog would look like and all I could see was a really big ball of shedding dog hair all over my house.

A day or two later, we are off to The Shelter to check out the pups and OMG are they cute when they are that small. Zach gets it down to 2 or 3 of the females and finally decides on one. At that point, I have to go home to get Ripley as the folks at the shelter want to see how she will react to this possible new addition to our family.

When I return to the shelter with Ripley, they put her in the conference with the new dog, who chases her around and Ripley promptly shits on the floor! At that point, the decision is made and we have ourselves a new dog.

Now I wanted to name the dog Honey for her coloring and for Cosmo’s toasted honey buns. My kids overrule me and decide on Cosmo (which I think is a bit of boys name) but we go with “Cosmo Girl,” at least that’s what I tell myself.  A week or so later, after being properly fixed, Cosmo comes home.

Zach & his new pup – the day we brought her home.

Our soon to be big dog, makes herself right at home. As much as I thought Ripley had a very human personality, Cosmo is just a big doofy dog. She is great at catching her frisbee and tennis ball, we play chase around an old picnic we had in our backyard, and she is a wonderful companion for long walks in the reservation.

In August 2010, after a battle with liver disease and just one day after getting both Allie and Zach off to SU, Ripley decides she has had enough and we are down to one dog. Although she is not much of licker, Cosmo does like to run out the door when I come home each day and jump on to my extended arm. She is also Linda’s early morning cuddle companion, so that Linda can get a few extra minutes sleep.

During the 2nd semester of his junior year, Zach call us to ask if he can bring Shay home. Shay is a dog one of his fraternity brothers adopted but whose parents won’t let him bring home…not to mention the fact that he had no clue as to how to take care of dog, which Zach did.  Zach had become one of her caretakers and they had grown very attached. We decide to go visit Zach and see how the 2 dogs get along. After the visit, we decided to let Zach bring Shay home and officially welcome her into the Berkowitz family. Cosmo has a new friend.

At some point, when Cosmo was probably around 9 years old or so, she started developing a floppy growth under her neck. The vet says to do nothing (which we later regret) but to give it a name. I call it Governor Cysty. This growth really became annoying for us to look at.

As time progresses, she does some damage to a ligament in one of her back legs, so we have to cut down on our long walks and eventually she can no longer jump into the car or onto the bed. The growth on her neck is joined by a series of small growths on the rest of her body.

Last spring, during the pandemic, Linda and I decided now was a good time to get another dog.

On July 4, 2020, Cassidy Berkowitz joins the family. We had hoped our new addition would give Cosmo a bit of life, but at 13 years old, she just took things in stride.

Last fall, as she was over 13 years old – a good age for her breed and size – I figured if it were a hard winter, she would have a tough time. Despite all the snow and cold we had, she came through like a trooper but age was definitely starting to take it’s toll. Walks became much shorter, she struggled getting up and down the stairs in our backyard, and she stopped coming upstairs to sleep in our room. In late May, she started having issues controlling her bladder and almost every night she was peeing in the house. I could sense the moment I dreaded was fast approaching.

On Saturday, June 12, 2021, Linda and I flew to California for a well deserved family vacation (as in the 6 of us) and birthday celebration. It had been several months since we had let Cosmo go to the dog sitter, which she used to do once a week but we had stopped as we felt it was no longer in her best interest. Our dog sitter knew that if there were a problem, we had Linda’s sister Donna on call to come up to the house and stay with Cosmo until our return. Unfortunately Linda got the call Sunday that Cosmo would have to be brought home on Monday. Thankfully Donna was there to help.

We returned home on June 16th. Over the next few days, I did my best to take Cosmo on late night walks in the hope she could make it through the night. It didn’t help. A couple of nights, I would hear her moving around the house, run down the stairs to get her outside but I was always too late.

9 days ago, she stopped eating and drinking. Last Thursday afternoon, she actually got up for a walk but she collapsed on the street and I had to carry home. Last Friday morning she walked to the car and  I lifted into the back for the last time.

We got to the vet and she walked inside. They brought her out back, lifted her onto a table, she laid down and smiled at me as if to say thank you, I love you and this is going to be much harder on you than it is me (and it was and still is). Moments later my Cosmo was gone and only now as I write this, am I truly letting it all go for the first time.

My 2 angels are now together. I loved them both and will miss them for the rest of my days.

A Journey’s End – The Prelude

Posted by: on Apr 12, 2020 | No Comments

Honeymoon Daze!

A Journey’s End – The Prelude

Mark Twain, Ice Cream and Me

Posted by: on Feb 21, 2020 | No Comments

Mark Twain, Ice Cream and Me

Several years ago I heard a story about Mark Twain and his love of cigars. Mr. Twain is visiting his doctor, when his doctor comments that he’d live 5 years longer if he gave up cigar smoking. Mark Twain’s response was “Sir, those are 5 years I’d rather not live.”

Mother Nature’s Revolt Continues

Posted by: on Sep 23, 2019 | No Comments

Mother Nature’s Revolt Continues

Confessions Of A Left Lane Tailgater

Posted by: on Sep 6, 2019 | No Comments

Confessions Of A Left Lane Tailgater

Let’s get a few of things straight. Item 1 – When you are driving on the highway, the “speed limit” is not really a law…it’s more of a suggestion. If you are driving the “speed limit” at let’s say the posted limit of 65 MPH, chances are you are one of the slowest, if not the slowest, driver on that road.

Good Round, Good Cry

Posted by: on Sep 6, 2019 | No Comments

Good Round, Good Cry

My hole-in-one, June 2016

Yes, it’s true. On June 18, 2016, on the 6th hole of the Gold Course at Flanders Valley Golf Course, a 200 yard downhill par 3, I hit my tee shot, watched it land just short of the green, take a couple of bounces and roll into the cup. I have witnesses, just in case you don’t believe me. I was speechless….shocking….I know. My big reaction was to put my hands on my head and gape wordlessly at the green below me.

As I walked down the hill, towards the green and my ball in that hole, I called my dad. Now this was early on a Saturday morning, an unusual time for my almost daily phone conversation with my dad. He picked up the phone and I said “Hi dad!”
His response was “What’s wrong” or something along those lines. Being that it was so early in the day, I’m sure it thought there was something wrong.
“Nothing,” I replied. “I just got a hole-in-one!”
He was very happy for me. The round continued and I played well below my average game but at least I had that hole-in-one. On a side note, the ball I hit was actually one I had just found in the woods, hit that one shot with, and it now resides in the top of my dresser draw waiting to place in some sort of hole-in-one display. I’ll get to it some day.

For those of you that are regular golfers, right now my handicap is a 10. For those of you that are not regular golfers, this means my average round is in the mid 80s, a good round is in the low 80s, and we want talk about the bad rounds. These are on courses where par is 72. Every once in a while, I will actually break 80 and shoot a round in the 70s. Usually this happens all once a year but last year it actually happened twice, which was the first time I had broken 80 twice in one season. I guess some things do get better with age!

Whenever I did break 80 or have a really good round, I could always tell my father was happy for me. Dad took up golf late in life, as he was more of a tennis player. I don’t think he ever really loved the game, never kept score, but my mom said “we are going to learn to play golf together,” so he did what he was told. He did like getting outside, and he always enjoyed playing with me during my trips to Florida over the years. Even when he stopped playing, he’d come along for the ride, just to get some fresh air and watch me curse my way around the golf course.

About 2 weeks, I once again broke 80, shooting a 79 on the same course where I got my hole-in-one. I was quite pleased with my round and was thinking there wasn’t anything that could ruin that moment. I drove away from the golf course, called Linda to let her in on the good news. After that call ended, my next reaction was to call my dad, only there was no one to call as he had passed away 3 months before. It was the first time all season I had something about my golf game to share with my dad and he wasn’t there for me to share it with him. So the tears came, just as they are now as I’m writing this.

Since my dad’s passing in April, I just never know when one of “those moments” are going to hit me. Even though it’s been well over 6 years since my mom left us, I still have “those moments” when something reminds me of her. Honestly, I hope “those moments” never leave me and I don’t think they ever will. I think of my parents every day but on the day broke 80, I just broke down.

IraSez…in the Twilight Zone

Posted by: on Mar 26, 2019 | No Comments

IraSez…in the Twilight Zone

Before I get to the point of this one, here’s a little background info. 10 days ago, my 94-year-old father, who lives in Florida, was taken to the hospital for the 2nd time in the last 2 months. When you get to be that age, one thing leads to another and another, and he’s got a few issues at this point.

Hair There and Everywhere

Posted by: on Feb 4, 2019 | No Comments

Hair There and Everywhere

Way back in 1983, my wife and I were having dinner at the Wobbly Barn on the Killington Ski Resort Access Road. After dinner, we went upstairs to listen to the band playing. The guitarist had some sort of mole or birth mark on his neck, and growing out of that thing were several long, stringy hairs, that were probably over 6 inches long. My thinking was that dude should make a ponytail out of those things. Linda’s thinking was “that’s disgusting.”

Flash forward to this past November. I was at the lighting ceremony for the Winter Walk In Taylor Park (in ye olde home town of Millburn), when a gentleman walked by me suffering from the same affliction. Birth mark on his neck, long thick hairs, in a need of a ponytail. In both of those cases all I could think was “where are my scissors and good set of tweezers?”

One of my pet peeves (and I have quite a few) is nose and ear hair, not to mention hair growing out of other places where you just don’t want it and I don’t want to see it. I have friends who have lost most of their hair where they want it and have hair growing where they shouldn’t want it.

As my wife will tell, I’m pretty fidgety. Always have been and probably always will be. When I was young, I was constantly picking at or biting my nails. Now that I’m not so young, I’ve turned my attention to places where hair grows where it shouldn’t, such as those 2 fellas I told you about.

If you see me feeling around my ear lobes, the outside of my nose, that small birth mark I have on my neck…chances are my Spidey senses are telling “get the tweezers!” I’ve also have a spot on my back, one on my stomach and another on my right arm that need my attention from time-to-time. Many times, I don’t realize I’m doing it. I just get this itch and have to go hunting for the source.

But what constantly grabs my attention is men (and some of you women out there) who don’t pay any attention to this sort of grooming. You get your hair cut, your facial hairs are nicely trimmed and/or shaven (or zapped for you ladies) but you’ve got enough hair growing out of your ears to make bald man weep!

Luckily for me, most of the hair that grows on my body still manages to grow where I want it…on my head (the one on my shoulders, so just get your minds out of the gutter), and I don’t have those patches of hairs on my ears or those little stringy fellas that I so often see on the tip of another man’s nose.

And now for a quick update. Last week I had hernia surgery, which means they shaved all around the family jewels. After the surgery, I lifted my surgical gown, took one look at my now bald groin and thought “I forgot my after shave!”

A Florida Winter Daze

Posted by: on Jan 25, 2019 | No Comments

A Florida Winter Daze

This past Monday, I was in Florida visiting my dad. At home in New Jersey, the morning temperatures hovered in the single digits. In Florida, the low reached 45 with a bit of breeze but if you saw the way folks were dressed, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between NJ and Florida.

Shea Stadium Daze

Posted by: on Aug 23, 2018 | No Comments

Shea Stadium Daze

Sticking with my truth is stranger (and sometimes funnier) than fiction theme.  If you are a parent in 2018, I want you to picture this. You put your son and a few of his friends on a train, so they can go to the ball game with no parental supervision. Seems OK…right.

Frank Perdue and Kosher Chickens

Posted by: on Aug 22, 2018 | No Comments

Frank Perdue and Kosher Chickens

It’s been way too long and I can’t explain why, but let’s move on. As my family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc, etc, will tell you, I’m a man of many stories…almost all of them true…which I like to tell often and over and over again. After all, truth is stranger (and usually funnier) than fiction.