Archive for the ‘funny family stories’ Category

Fickle Fortune Fish

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

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

fortune fishfortune 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 reading

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!

Snakes, Bikinis and the Jealous Husband

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

“My wife’s jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was.” ~ Rodney Dangerfield

Yesterday I was reading about personality traits of snakes. No, not the slithery, jaw unhinging, swallow-a-possum-whole kind, but the Chinese astrology symbol for 2013 — the “Year of the Snake” kind.

year of the snake

My dad was born in 1929, so he falls into the snake pit, so to speak. The snake is described as a somewhat jealous creature — a characteristic rarely exhibited by Dad — and reading about it brought to mind a story Mom shared with me quite a few times. This one was short, sweet and always amused me, so I thought I’d share it today.

Bikinis from 1960s

When Mom was twenty (about a year after she married Dad, and two years before I came along) she was selected to model the hot new collection of bikinis for a local department store fashion show. Mom was suiting up backstage, making herself runway ready with all the other female models. As the show was about to begin, Dad, suddenly possessed by old-fashioned Italian virtue, sprung from the sidelines and implored his young bride to skip the show.

(ITALIAN LESSON: Jealous – Geloso)

The audience was mostly women, but for some reason the green-eyed monster made a cameo that day, and that little monster didn’t want all eyes ogling Mom’s goodies! Mom left showbiz that day, but as you can see in this photo of her getting creative with Dad’s bandannas, she would’ve been a knockout on that catwalk!

Mom Looking Fabulous

So, what makes YOUR green-eyed monster come out to play?
Please share in the comments section!

Getting Saucy with Pasquale Caputo

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

“Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvellous than the land.” ~ E. M. Forster

I love to laugh! Fortunately my parents did as well, and I remember listening in while they were relaxing at home enjoying their collection of Pat Cooper comedy records. Pat Cooper (born Pasquale Caputo) is a comedian every Italian should be familiar with. Cooper was born in Brooklyn, New York, and found his fame working the comedy clubs from Atlantic City to Vegas back in the 1960s. He found a whole new fan base with a number of erratic yet hysterical appearances on the Howard Stern radio show, and Cooper still performs at a few venues around the U.S. today.

I must have been about six years old when Mom and Dad were having their comedy hour, so I didn’t get all the jokes, but I found the album covers fascinatingly funny, and I loved singing along to the Italian songs.

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ITALIAN” is still one of my favorite bits to play on vinyl. I was thrilled to find all of these albums again on Ebay, restoring the lost-over-the-years family collection. When I have a listen now, I feel transported back to those good old days of being a six year old, laughing and singing with Mom and Dad.

(ITALIAN LESSON: Thanks for the memories = Grazie per i ricordi)

In my twenties I met Pat Cooper, and I remember telling him how I loved listening to his records as a girl. He looked me up and down, winked and said with a sly smile “Come on, you were never a little girl”. It was a cute way from a guy I admired (who happened to be the same age as my Dad) to give me a little flirt. Good times, good times.

Who makes you laugh? Let me know in the comments section!

BONUS for all Cooper fans! Here’s a string of his tunes from back in the day. Just click HERE to listen. Buon divertimento (enjoy yourself)!

Naughty or Nice?

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

“Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.” ~ Gary Allan

This past year, you may have been naughty, you may have been nice, but I really want to know if you are/were a “peeker”!

My definition of a peeker is someone who just can’t resist snooping around every nook and cranny of their dwelling to steal a glimpse of the gifts which await them Christmas day.

I’ll confess: I was a peeker. My parents loved gift-giving and when it came to Christmas presents throughout my childhood (and even in my adulthood), I really did win the lottery!

ITALIAN LESSON: snooping/to spy = spiare & BONUS: to spy through the keyhole = spiare attraverso il buco della serratura

Yes, I believed in Santa, but I also knew that once Thanksgiving passed, there would soon be presents hidden around the house. That’s when I sprang into action! My plan was simple: while Mom and Dad were busy making Sunday sauce, I’d tip-toe to the attic where I usually came upon a bunch of festively wrapped presents. Mom knew I was nosy, so she’d wrap my goodies almost as soon as she brought them in the door.

What Mom didn’t know, is that I had my own special snooping technique. I would gingerly unwrap just a tiny bit of the paper in the corner of the gift to see if I could make out what was in the box. Sometimes, if I was a bit too curious, I’d tear more paper than I should have, which required finding Mom’s tape to “repair” my damage. If I happened to come across a gift for cousin Tracy, I’d call her up and give her a little peek too. Well, knowing me, I probably bribed her with some task in order to share my find!

Even though I was a peeker, I enjoyed the anticipation of Christmas morning, and I still had the element of surprise all over again. Plus, if I didn’t see something I just HAD to have that year, I was provided ample time to drop hints to my Mom and Dad. Project peeking perfection, even though I may have ended up on the naughty list!

Oh yeah — I still believe in Santa Claus.


P.S. In that carriage I had my little black baby doll & my little white baby doll — Man, my parents were just too cool!

Your turn — Please tell me your peeking stories in the comments section below!

Mom vs. Truck

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

“Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.” ~ Einstein

“Your mother’s been hit by a truck!”
Dad’s abundant crackly voice filled my phone receiver.

“Oh my God! Is she dead?” I managed to squeak out, fearing the worst possible scenario, as in “my mom is now road pizza”

To make my heart-attack inducing conversation short, Mom was OK.

(ITALIAN LESSON: Hit by a car = Colpita dalla vettura)

OMG — she was hit by a frigging truck and she was fine! She was so fine, that she initially refused her ambulance ride! Mom just wanted to gather up her groceries — which ended up flying, and ultimately exploding all over the road — and continue her walk home, most likely puffing away on one of her beloved Parliaments to calm her trembling post-accident body.

Mom’s head was bleeding, and she was bruised with rainbow hues all the way down one side from the fall…um, splatter.

This was a few years ago when she was making her way back home from picking the usual suspects from SuperFresh (pizza shells, mozzarella, Dom Pepino (for the ‘za) Coca Cola, and most likely some kind of Entenmanns ooey gooey snacks) when a fairly large SUV smacked right into her as she crossed the street.

She claimed she looked both ways (hey, I know she did, since she was the one who taught me!) and WHAM! The truck hit her, and my mortal mother became airborne Mom!

She ended up saying yes to the ride in exchange for a few stitches in her noggin, as the head insists on bleeding without some sort of fix.

About a week later, Mom plucked out her sutures one by one, in typical Mom fashion.
Go back to a doctor? That’s just not her style.

Please share any car/truck/flying saucer stories in the comments section — love to hear them!

Sonny or Cher?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

“If comedy duos don’t like each other, it just won’t work.” ~ Scott Thompson

Sonny & Cher
Abbott & Costello
Laurel & Hardy
Martin & Lewis

No matter which of these famous comedy couples you may adore from back in the day, I bet you have just a pinch more affection for one personality over the other in each duo, right?

I have so much AMORE for all of the above mentioned. Lucy stands alone (if you’re wondering why she is not listed). I’ll be honest and share with you that Laurel, Lewis, & Costello were these duo’s darlings closet to my heart.

Oh, did you notice I didn’t choose between Sonny or Cher? Well, I think I love them both the same, most likely because of hearing dear Dad’s voice in my head. You see, Mom, Dad, Tracy & I would always look forward to a huge bowl of Jiffy Pop, a tray of peanut butter and jelly Ritz (more about those yummy morsels at this post), and we’d park ourselves in front of the tube to enjoy The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. As if it were a part of the show’s opening bit, Dad would ALWAYS say, “Sonny made Cher. If it weren’t for Sonny discovering Cher, she’d be nobody”.

Dad DID like the beautiful and talented Cher, but my guess has always been that he was just giving props to his fellow pisan Sonny.

ITALIAN LESSON: “Pisan” is the English equivalent of the Italian word pisano. It literally means “from Pisa, Pisan.” The pronunciation is “pee-ZAH-noh.”

Enjoy this clip from yesteryear, and be sure to share your favorites from any or all of these famous funny couples — I’d really love to know!

50-100% Chance of Bullsh*t!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Mom used to say,

Yup, she got that right! There’s a major downpour with heavy amounts of B.S. flying down at us these days, don’t you think? It gets better — since it’s an election year, you’ll have to sit tight and enjoy the monsoon, because I’m certain the cow cookies will be hitting us hard and heavy, come fall.

(ITALIAN LESSON: Storm = Tempesta)

No worries, I’m steering clear of politics and religion today. I already covered a bit about the good ol’ Catholic days in a few of these fun and slightly irreverent posts:

Sadistic priest burns little girl with cigar

Confessions of a Naughty Catholic (Part 1)

The Very Wretched Sister Urselena

Palm Sunday: Church with a Door Prize!

So, go out and get yourself a sturdy pair of thigh-high boots, a “gale force” umbrella, and please remember Ma’s wisdom.

Feel free to share your opinions about those political messages you know you’ll be enjoying on the tube soon — I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Baby Spells What?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

“Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. For example: “Don’t you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?

Most kids mutter Mama and Dada when they begin to mix words that people actually understand with their baby gibberish, but who remembers the very first word a baby SPELLS?

My parents did, and my first special word was P-I-Z-Z-A! Yes, Mom & Dad fondly told me that PIZZA was the first string of letters that tumbled out of my 75% Italian little mouth as I was learning the art of spelling.


MMMMMM pizza. I still love it, and quite often I have what I call “sauce cravings”. But back to P-I-Z-Z-A! There’s nothing worth singeing the roof your mouth like a delicious, cheesy, greasy slice of New York style Ah’Pizz!

Well, ciao and chow — it’s time for me to go grab a slice or two (this photo of my ooey gooey friend in all its splendor made me hungry).

I’d love to hear your first words (said or spelled) – OR – just share what toppings you’d like on your ‘ZA in the comments spot below. GRAZIE!

I Caught You Peeking!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Happy to see you popped in to my world of madness for a second. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little glimpse of whatever you stumbled upon here while your wasting enjoying time on the world wide web.

The thing is, peek away my friends!
I love that you found my blog (I dish & tell snippets & stories about my slightly crazy, certifiably neurotic, yet totally lovable NJ Italian family), and I hope you’ll be back for another serving. Yeah, I’d love it a bit more if you left a comment even to just mention you were here — that would be cool. Just typing a “hey” or “ciao” or even your nickname in the COMMENTS spot would be the Pecorino on my pasta!

ITALIAN LESSON: peek-a-boo = gioco del cucù

You see, I can view how many stop by and the numbers surprise me (in a good way). I just wish I knew a few of your names.


Let’s Pretend!

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.” ~ Jim Henson

(ITALIAN LESSON: pretend = pretendere)

I loved to pretend when I was a kid (and still do). My imagination would have a field day with made-up scenarios, colorful characters and silly games. Just for sht!ts and giggles I shared a few of them here, and hope you’ll add one or two of your faves when you’re done reading this post before you go out to play, OK?

  • Rock Star – you know, when you sing into your hairbrush and the crowd goes WILD! Pretty normal stuff, but that may be where normal ends
  • Orphanage – pretending to be lonely little orphans seeking a new home and awaiting our rations for the day
  • Indian Boy & Devil Dog – When naughty Devil Dog showed up to harass my cousin Tracy, she had to yell help so the mystical and powerful Indian Boy could rescue her from the evil and annoying dog (both parts were played by yours truly).
  • The Great Gazoo! – Tracy & I used to “fly” around the house when we put on our hand-crocheted slippers lovingly made by Nan. Don’t mock, those little footies had some kick-ass magical powers, and besides that, The Flintstones ruled!
  • “Father” Romano – Yes, I played a “Priest” who delivered communion to my congregation (usually my cousin and dog). Our wafer was white bread squashed in the shape of a quarter.
  • The King and I – Some days I was the King, and others all I had to do was wrap Mom’s beautiful “King & I” robe around me, and in an instant I turned into the British school teacher waiting for the “March of the Children”. One of my favorite scenes from a true classic starring Yul Brenner.

    Need a memory jog? Check this out:

    So, let’s hear about YOUR fun! Please share in our comments spot HERE.

    p.s. a bit more about orphanage & Sunday services can be found at this post.