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.


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

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

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

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!
italian mode

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

Everything Sucks Now

March 30th, 2013

“All good things must come to an end, but all bad things can continue forever.” ~ Thornton Wilder

love this art from

love this art from

If you’ve ever read my Madness snippets, you know I’m not much of a curmudgeon, nor do I play one on TV. Yeah, maybe I’m a bit jaded/irreverent from time to time, but I’m usually a “live and let live” type of gal (unless you f*&# with my dogs or my family), then the crazy comes out to play).

So, why do I think everything sucks these days? Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but I’ve noticed that everything messed with usually ends up messed up.

ITALIAN LESSON: shitty = merdoso

Hollywood has tarnished countless perfectly fine TV shows and movies with their ridiculous remakes, turning them into caricatures of themselves. Don’t even get me started on cereals and candy, because they’ve all been botched up big time with garbage chemicals, corn syrup and some crazy food colorings that would even make a 60s hippie cringe.

You’d think a great game could simply remain just that too, but no. Take a look at Candy Land — this one really bugs me. As a kid, I could imagine myself strolling through the scrumptious path of sweet deliciousness, so eager to get to those mouth-watering Neapolitan ice cream bars floating near the top of the board. If you look at the game now, it features a totally pimped out “King” peddling his sh!tty candy on a game board that looks like something the Willie Wonka candy factory threw up!

candyland game


As I finish up writing this post, I’m beginning to feel like one of the most famous curmudgeons, Andy Rooney. I think I better run and check my eyebrows.

Your turn to channel your inner crank and bellyache with me. Tell me about the things that changed in your world that bug you ~ thanks!

You Don’t Have to be Italian

March 1st, 2013

mad pasta

♪♫•*♥ “You Don’t Have To Be Italian” by Pat Cooper (aka Pasquale Caputo)

You Don't Have To Be Italian by Pat Cooper on Grooveshark

is one of my all-time favorite Italian-themed songs. If you’re not yet acquainted with Pasquale you can meet him at Getting Saucy with Pasquale Caputo.

I love it, but whenever I listen I’m sure to have the tissues ready. I tear up, sometimes even blubber a bit, as the song instantly transports me back a few decades. Even though it’s a happy place I end up, it makes me realize how fast life goes by, and how many precious memories I have stored in the vault between my ears.

So here I am, zapped back to our cozy wood-paneled living room at our Lehigh Street duplex in Dover, NJ. Mom and dad are hanging out on a chilly winter’s night listening to a few Pat Cooper comedy albums, and Dad takes Mom’s hand for a little twirl around the braided rug when this tune comes on. Even better, I know it was one of their favorites too.

It’s really about the little things in life, isn’t it?

pat coop

What songs or comedians bring you back? I’d love to hear about them, so don’t be shy, please share!

p.s. If you cannot see the SONG PLAY link above, just click HERE.

Snakes, Bikinis and the Jealous Husband

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!

My Beloved Bull & Total Bull$%#!

January 30th, 2013

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” ~ W. C. Fields

Some precious objects we own and adore, break. Family heirlooms can be destroyed by a hurricane, pipes can burst (been there, done that) and horrid fire damage can break you into a million pieces just thinking about beloved possessions lost.

Ever since I was crawling around on the floor as a little one, I remember Dad having this bull on his dresser. Dad was a Taurus, and I believe Mom bought it for him as a birthday gift after I was born. (Mr. Bull’s close up below.)


At night, the bull had the task of keeping Dad’s wallet tucked in its back, and Dad’s watch perched around its horns. He always did a fine job, that little bull, and I was always fascinated with it for some reason.


Fast forward a few decades when Mom & Dad were having some financial issues (caused by a certain family member, a.k.a. “user” who shall remain nameless), and had to put many of their belongings in storage between moving to a new house. Ok, so far, it sounds like something many may have had to struggle with. Only it gets bumped up a notch, since this “user” never paid the storage fees as he was supposed to, and my parents had their heads in the sand, and the place ended up being bulldozed to make way for another dreaded mini-mall.

Dad’s bull, along with thick photo albums, keepsakes, tons of loose family photos, my Grandmother’s china from Sicily, a few fine antiques, and my father’s “famous” Knights-of-Columbus gear — all swept away in an afternoon, or most likely sold to some vultures at auction. I know Mom had a hard time telling me about this, because she knows I’m a very sentimental person.

Ok, I better stop here, because it’s a very sore spot for me, and you know what I am capable of (referencing Shaken Laptop Syndrome.) I can’t even bring myself to ever watch Storage Wars, because I find myself getting sad, angry and overwhelmed.

You may wonder how I have this bull photographed. Well, I hunted one down and found him — the exact one, GRAZIE EBay! I’ll just keep pretending it is Dad’s. ♥

Please tell me about something cherished you may have lost, or rediscovered — I’d love to hear about it!

Rosy Cheeks & Prized Possessions

December 31st, 2012

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” ~ Ansel Adams

me with rosey cheeks

This photo was always a conversation starter for Mom and me. For years I had a hard time believing her when she said it was really yours truly. I thought the photo was a doll Mom had, or at the very least, I figured she and Dad smeared some of her ruby red blush on my cheeks to make me look like a life-sized puppet.

(ITALIAN LESSON: nice Photo = bella foto)

The scene: a winter day with me just chilling in my comfy red flannel Christmas PJs (with matching rosy cheeks) showing off one of my mother’s hats and trying on the black leather gloves Dad gave her for their first Christmas together. Two little gloves that hold a very special place in my heart and soul, gloves that are even older than I am, which lie tucked away safely in one of my dresser drawers.

I just love nostalgia and special family treasures like these gloves, old photographs and my beloved Easter Basket (one year younger than I am) which I covered in the post, Pretty Precious Things.

When I found this photo, it reminded me of another sweet memory — those things money just cannot buy.
So now it’s your turn! Tell me about any photos that share a warm spot in your ticker!

Getting Saucy with Pasquale Caputo

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?

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!