A Very Special Friday Flashback

February 14th, 2014

“My heroes are and were my parents. I can’t see having anyone else as my heroes.” ~ Michael Jordan

♥ memories of the first two Valentines who captured my heart ♥
xoxo
~ me mom me 272x300 A Very Special Friday Flashback

me dad 300x267 A Very Special Friday Flashback

ITALIAN LESSON: parents = genitori


Please feel free to share who your Valentine is this year.

All Bundled Up and Nowhere to Go

January 30th, 2014

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” ~ Carl Reiner

Ahhh, there’s nothing like getting some cold air through your lungs … even when the mercury dips to a chilly 9 degrees outside.

This week, I got all bundled up, complete with fuzzy wuzzy cat ears and mittens. I looked like a ten year old, but felt like Randy from a Christmas Story. So, here’s my look (just wanted to share it to MADNESS for posterity).

ITALIAN LESSON: Cold = Freddo

Stay warm & snuggly!
xo
Me

lee bundled 225x300 All Bundled Up and Nowhere to Go

randy All Bundled Up and Nowhere to Go

Santa Baby

December 8th, 2013

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.” ~ George Carlin

While I’m busy writing my “GOOD GIRL” list for Santa, I’d love to know what you’d like to receive from our jolly old friend this season. Feel free to list non-material gifts to the MOST extravagant goody you would love to see in your Christmas stocking, under your tree, or with a bid red bow in your driveway.

So, if you were nice or even naughty, leave a comment — you never know who may be seeing your request!

lee little w santa Santa Baby

Getting Off My Ass! Let the Madness Begin…Again!

September 3rd, 2013

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” ~ Steven Wright

A little over four years ago (HOLY SH!T, it’s been 4 years!) I began with my Madness blog’s opening line: “They say insanity is the spice of life, right?  Got it – chock full, in fact…”  Yup, it’s been a bit over four full years of snippets with my living cast of characters from my loveable, yet totally neurotic Italian family from NJ. I like to say, INSANITY WITH A SIDE OF SAUCE!

writing 300x199 Getting Off My Ass! Let the Madness Begin...Again!

What I’ve decided to do now is begin mapping out the Madness book. A book, the REAL KIND you can actually turn the pages of — the book I began BEFORE this blog ever even existed. I guess 2014 is the year to get off my ASS and write my story before another 50 months pass me and my ass right on by, and I’ll still be without my damned hardcover!

Here’s my game plan: I’m going to relive a few snippets from my beloved old posts from time to time, and I’ll let you in on the status of my manuscript. Ok, just the word manuscript is making me want to reach for a swig of bourbon (the really good stuff!) Ok, one page at a time, one page at a time.

bourbon Getting Off My Ass! Let the Madness Begin...Again!

So check out a post along the sidebar if you have a minute, and leave a comment. A blog post without a comment is like that island of misfit toys – a lonely place, and you feel like a bit like a loser, just like some of those sweet little toys did (even though they were by far the BEST of the bunch – and they had heart).

GRAZIE!

lees first crystal tee1 Getting Off My Ass! Let the Madness Begin...Again!

Me

p.s. just for sh!ts & giggles, I’ll also mention a few of favorite snippets from time to time to keep us all amused.

Seeing Stars, Part II

August 4th, 2013

“I love meeting famous people. I’m even happy just looking at them.” ~ Joey McIntyre

Dr. Ruth Westheimer: This little (and I mean little) hussy flirted with my husband at the NYC Book Fair! She was very nice actually, but she had a thing for my other half!

dr ruth Seeing Stars, Part II

Bob Dole: I bumped into United States Senator Dole at The TODAY show in NYC while accompanying an author I represented. We all greeted and said hello in the hallway outside the green room. Yes, I did remember to shake his left hand, since he had his pen clutched tightly in his right.

Ann Curry: Ann is a sweetheart. Yes, she may be a bit too saccharine for some, but I adore her. She told me she loved my antique engagement ring (met her the same day as Bob Dole, at the NBC studios Green Room for the Today Show). I saw her a second time while Andrew & I were visiting the rubble of the still smoldering Twin Towers a week after 9/11. Ann actually remembered me — and my ring!

ann 300x162 Seeing Stars, Part II

Ed Koch: Said a few works to the former Mayor of NYC at a book fair — he also gave me a signed copy of his book. Sidenote: Ed passed away this past February.

Donald Trump: via my brother David. Story at YO, TRUMP! More of a giggle and a head-shake.

Vandela: Andrew & I had our photo taken with this Norwegian/Swedish mega model at the NY Book Fair. I kinda remember feeling like a little troll standing next to her, but I do recall she was very sweet.

vandela 246x300 Seeing Stars, Part II

Hubie Brooks: Former professional New York Met. Mom and I were shopping at JCPenney (at our home away from home, the Rockaway Townsquare Mall) and mom said, “why not go meet the baseball player to get his autograph — you never know…”, so I did, and still have the photo stashed away.

Ed Rendell: Gave Ed a diva handshake at grand opening event in the city. Hey, I had a martini in my right hand, so what’s a girl do to? My friend Barbara pointed out my prima donna move, which had me laughing.

Louise Hay: Was lucky to meet the always inspirational Louise at the London Book Fair some years back, and I’m also happy to have a signed copy of her spiritual self-help book, “How to Heal Your Life”.

Mike Tyson: While Tyson was the golden boy of boxing, I literally bumped into him in Atlantic City as Don King was yelling “make way for the champ”! Funny sh!t!

tyson 300x164 Seeing Stars, Part II

Graham Kerr: The Galloping Gourmet was a childhood fave I used to watch with Mom, so when I met him to discuss a cookbook he was working on I found it brought back some nice memories.

Charles Barkley: A semi-regular at Bridget Foy’s here in Philly. Seems everybody wants to buy this guy a drink too. To us, he’s just one of the locals when we see him.

Honorable (or non-so) mentions and memories:

Waved to George Herbert Walker Bush & family at Mabel’s Lobster Claw Restaurant in Kennebunkport Maine — they were dining about 10 feet away from me. George Sr. and Barbara were just enjoying their grandkids, and I didn’t want to interrupt them.

Fantasia Barrino: of American Idol fame. She hugged me and called me BAYBAY at NBC studios here in Philly. As far as stars go, hmmm…does she even count?

Tell me about your celebrity meetings, or about someone you’d LOVE to meet! If you missed Part I, please head to PART I.

Seeing Stars, Part I

July 12th, 2013

“I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet.”
~ Lady Gaga

With New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie (or, as Ma called him, “Krispy Kreme”) in the news lately, I began thinking about famous people (for better or worse) I’ve met over the years. Hopefully those Omega 3s I pop daily will keep my noggin sharp down the road, but just in case memory lapses are part of my future, I thought it would be a good idea to jot them down. Plus, I want to hear about YOUR celebrity meet & greets, so away we go!

Chris Christie: I met a much slimmer-than-now Christie at the polls while I was living in Mendham, NJ. Christie was running for the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, which he won in 1994. I shook his hand, and chatted with him about how I was voting. Christie was a very pleasant and personable guy. I say now that if he’s ever elected president, at least I can say I met him!

Stephen Furst: Hubby Andrew & I took the very entertaining (and very slimmed down) Stephen, aka “Flounder” from Animal House out to dinner a few times while he was working on a video and book with the publisher I was working for. He’s a friendly and funny guy, but if you ever invite him over, make sure you have Equal sugar substitute, he’s pretty OCD about his eating habits.

steph 198x300 Seeing Stars, Part I

Pat Cooper: I’m still going nuts trying to find my photo with the always off-the-wall Pasquale Caputo. He looked me up and down and said to me with a smirk, “you were never a little girl,” when I told him I grew up listening to his albums. He was ridiculously hilarious as usual. This was at a radio gig back in the 90s with host “get off my phone” Bob Grant from WABC radio. More about Pat and his records in this post: Getting Saucy with Pasquale Caputo

(ITALIAN LESSON: Famous = Famoso is masculine form & famosa is the feminine.)

Jim Gaffigan: Jim was cool. I hooked him up with some books about diabetes for his mom, and he goofed around with me, my hubby and our crew while seeing his show in NYC. He also gave me a big bear hug and a signed CD — LOVE that Jim!

Gladys Knight: A PIP-less Gladys worked on a cookbook with us at my old publishing gig. I think Gladys majored in DIVA, and was quite well at it. For example, she wanted to travel with a whole entourage at the expense of a non-profit, Nice, huh?

Peter Tork: WHOO HOO! I met my favorite MONKEE just a couple years ago at a gig in Philly. He told me he was a “dirty ol’ man”!

peter tork lee Seeing Stars, Part I

Pete Best: One of the original Beatles, Pete was a quiet guy. I think I told him something silly about the britches from Harrods London I was wearing that night. This was after a few cocktails icon wink Seeing Stars, Part I

Jake LaMotta I met the one and only Raging Bull at a golf event with fellow boxers, including Muhammad Ali. When I asked for a pic with him, he was like, “SIT DOWN HERE” and put his arm around me. Here’s a photo, complete with my Jersey Girl hair:

jake lamatta Seeing Stars, Part I

Howard Stern: Met Howard, Robin and the entire gang of Stern misfits at a Private Parts book signing in NYC. SIDE NOTE: I was also a call in dial-a-date with Howard on FM radio. He had me do a shower scene with him, but I wouldn’t go below his shoulders — it was really funny. Damn, wish I could find that tape!!

Penn & Teller This was a fun one, and a double hit! While living in Alexandria, VA Andrew and I attended their show in DC. Penn asked for an audience member who knew how to shoot a gun, so I raised my hand and told them about my 357 Magnum, and VOILA! So they called me up on stage for their famous Magic Bullet trick, which was a blast! (sorry, I simply couldn’t resist.) After the show Andrew and I chatted with them, and they gave us a few autographed photos as souvenirs.

Chase Utley: Having brunch at Green Eggs Cafe, and this adorable Phillie said he was sorry for parking so close to my curbside table. Ahhh…handsome and great manners!

 Seeing Stars, Part I


YOUR TURN!
Please share your celeb sightings, meetings or a story about your favorite chance (or not so chance) encounter. I’d also love to hear which celebrity you’d love to meet! Just head on over to the comments section below. GRAZIE!

Fickle Fortune Fish

June 15th, 2013

“Even the most fickle are faithful to a few bad habits.” ~ Mason Cooley

fortune fish Fickle Fortune Fishfortune Fickle Fortune Fish

One of my favorite fun and totally kitschy possessions was my little fortune fish.

You remember them, right? They look like a wafer-thin piece of strawberry candy. You would hold the fish in the palm of your hand and it would curl this way or that way to reveal your “fortune”.

While stumbling across one in my personal “junk” box the other day, a whirlwind of memories sprang to life about my interest in the occult, and these thoughts made me wonder why I never pursued the medium further. I know I’m a fickle girl, and I guess my various interests over the decades prove this to be so.

Yup, my passions have suffered from their own attention deficit disorder. I must’ve started dozens of cottage businesses: I opened a library in our wine cellar, weeded the neighbors gardens and washed their cars for extra cash, opened a small nail cafe in my first apartment while I was busy crafting stained glass, launched an online boutique, made sparkle, promoted books and businesses in social media — which I’m damn good at — the list goes on and on.

(ITALIAN LESSON: fickle = volubile)

Recently I’ve been taking courses at The Wine School of Philadelphia, but that was after I earned my USUI REIKI Level 2 Certification. I guess you can say I’m a jack of all trades, master of none (or am I?), but let’s get back to the fortunes!

palm Fickle Fortune Fish

I remember having this cool palm reading kit, and I swear I could stare at faint lines on my palms for hours and hours wondering what special hidden messages would be revealed. Our OUIJA board was also a good source of entertainment, and I loved reading about all the traits of each ZODIAC sign. For years I’ve been dabbling with Tarot readings (many amazingly accurate) and now I’m trying my hand at Angel readings. All good stuff, no devil worship or anything evil (I’ll leave that to my Aunts and their spells, but more about that at another time). Well, time to consult with Mr. Fish, my angels or perhaps the Tarot deck is calling my name.

Your turn! Tell me about your interests, whether mystical or not, I’d love to hear about them!

Mom’s Day…again?

May 12th, 2013

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Mother’s Day 2013: Year three without Mom.
All of those Hallmark, Macy’s and Flower commercials are enough to make me hurl my new wedges at our flat screen!

Just like dear ol’ Charlie Brown says about Christmas cards, “I almost wish there weren’t a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?” You get my drift.

momandnan Moms Day...again?

Yeah, I miss Mom on a daily basis, and the sense of loss can get a bit overwhelming when you see and hear phrases like:
“Mom will love this” or “Treat Mom on her special day”, blah blah blah…

Normally, I have a pretty playful, lively disposition, but at the same time, my soul carries around a sense of profound loss like a heavy black burqa, one that cannot be so easily peeled off.

mom in OC Moms Day...again?

With that said, (and you should know by now this blog is pretty cathartic for me) for today, I’ll strip off my shroud and enjoy the family I have here to love and enjoy spending earthly time with.

So, Happy Mother’s Day Mom, wherever you are — and to all Moms out there in computerland, hug your kids no matter how old they are, tell them you love them and enjoy the day!

Photo Notes: Top pic, I was in mom’s belly. Photo #2 is one of my faves of Mom in Ocean City, NJ. I wrote a post about this special spot called EMPTY BENCH.

Ladies & Gentlemen Take My Advice…

April 20th, 2013

“Ladies & gentlemen take my advice; pull down your pants and slide on the ice”

Don’t you just love when cherished sayings and memories swirl through your head and say HELLO like those cute dancing candies from vintage drive-in movie ads?

candy dance 300x269 Ladies & Gentlemen Take My Advice...

The “pull down your pants” saying was one of those humorous little gems mom would share every once-in-awhile — which I have fond memories of now — so when I found the video clip from M*A*S*H it was like striking gold!

So here it is – enjoy, and please let me know if you’ve ever heard of this before, I’d love to know!

THIS JUST IN: Rest in Peace Allan Arbus, known to many of us at the psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H (As seen in this clip above) passed away at age 95. Story HERE.

La Primavera! La Primavera!

April 10th, 2013

“A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Call Doctor McDreamy, because I’ve caught SPRING FEVER!
Wow, what a gorgeous couple of sunny, warm, breezy summer-like days we’ve had here in the city, so in keeping with the simpler things — and having time to venture outside and smell the hyacinths — I thought I’d offer up a quickie! Quickie Italian lesson that is, so get your mind out of the gutter and let’s go!

Spring = la primavera.

Now, I’ll bet you a chocolate-covered cannoli you’ve uttered these words while ordering a delicioso pasta primavera — a light dish of pasta and fresh vegetables — at an Italian restaurant (and NO, The Olive Garden does NOT count as an Italian Restaurant, but I’m pretty positive you already know that).

spring pretty La Primavera! La Primavera!

Since we’re on a roll here, let’s continue with the other three seasons and the months of the year.
Note: The names of the months (i mesi) are not capitalized in Italian.

Summer – l’estate
Autumn -l’autunno
Winter – l’inverno

January – gennaio
February – febbraio
March – marzo
April – aprile
May – maggio
June – giugno
July – luglio
August – agosto
September – settembre
October – ottobre
November – novembre
December – dicembre (pronounced ‘dee-CHEHM-bray’, just so fun to say, isn’t it?)

Why not keep this quickie going — here are the days of the Week
The days of the week (i giorni della settimana) are also not capitalized
Monday – lunedì
Tuesday – martedì
Wednesday – mercoledì
Thursday – giovedì
Friday – venerdì
Saturday – sabato
Sunday – domenica

HINT: Try turning on your “ITALIAN MODE” — it helps with your accent!
ital mode La Primavera! La Primavera!

YOUR TURN: Please share with your favorite thing about SPRING — Bonus points for also sharing your favorite month!