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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Today's post is dedicated to my Mother

She would have been 79 today. She passed away 25 years ago. I was 22 at the time and I was devastated. It was completely unexpected and sudden.

My Mother was Italian. She was the youngest of 4 girls. Her Mother died during childbirth. The 4 girls were put in orphanages. My Mother was adopted and raised by a childless couple. Her father remarried and had another 2 girls and a boy. I believe it was in adulthood that the siblings reconnected and remained close. We always had holidays at what would have technically been my step-grandmother's house.

I am the oldest of 2 girls. My parents were married 11 years before they had me. My Mother was 36. She had 2 miscarriages prior. They were beginning to think they weren't going to have children. My sister was born 17 months later.

I was very close with my Mother. I would sit and watch her make spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes from the garden or clean huge fish that the neighbor boy brought over from his fishing trips with his Dad. I was always watching her when she cooked, no matter what it was. Whether it was simple fried pork chops, cube steaks, Sicilian steak, lasagna or bracciole. I was always there watching. I'm sure my love of cooking was cultivated in her kitchen.

I also am a perfectionist at ironing. Every day I watched my Mother iron my father's shirts and his handkerchieves after school while we watched Leave It To Beaver in the living room. I would always ask her why she bothered ironing the handkerchieves, especially considering they would get wadded up in my father's pants pockets right after he took them out of the drawer, but she insisted they had to be ironed. It was the 60's and that's just what wives did.

My Mother was my best friend and she was the Mom of our block. True, there were other stay at home moms on our block, but they didn't have the patience or compassion that my Mother had. Our house was the 'go to' house whenever any of the other kids on the block were having a bad day at home. Sometimes the kids would wait until late afternoon when my Mother would sit on the stoop, other times they were bold enough to ring the bell. My Mother always had a treat and a hug and a kind ear for all of them. I must admit that I was a bit jealous of the attention they got and I would always tell my Mother how she was being so taken advantage of because all they came for was the cupcakes, brownies or candy bars. Of course now I've come to realize that wasn't really true. Some of them just came for the hugs. For them, the treats were the icing on the cake. We had one neighbor with 5 kids and their Mom was always hollering at one or all of them for something. If I heard her hollering, I could count the minutes until one of their kids showed up at our door. Another neighbor had 7 children. Same thing. Yet another neighbor, the Mom started drinking beers at 10am and had her children clean house for her and get dinner ready while she sat back and watched her soaps. How did I know this? Because our friends always complained about the chores and if we ever tried to go to their house before their Mom let them out after chores, she would answer the door with a brewski in her hand.

Four years before my Mother passed away my sister and I threw our parents a 30th Wedding Anniversary Party. I rented out the local bar that had a hall that our relatives always used for occasions. I conspired with my Mother's sisters and her step-mother. Somehow I managed to cook all of the food at my mother's house on the sly. I made barbequed beef and took it to her step-mother's house and put it her their freezer. My sister and I purchased all the other necessary items and ordered salads from the deli store. One of my Aunts had sent them an invitation for a Wedding Anniversary for one of her sisters. My parents had no clue the party was for them. My mother even purchased a card and a gift. When they came to the hall and we all yelled "Surprise!" my poor mother turned around and walked out. Her sisters had to chase her down. She was embarrassed by all the fuss. After a few minutes she came back to the party and we all had a really great time. It was the first time I'd seen my Mother have more than 1 drink. If it's possible, she was even more sweet than usual. After the party my sister and I loaded up our cars with the leftovers and took them back to my parent's house. I sat up with my Mother for hours and she just talked and talked.

A few years later on New Year's Eve I didn't have any specific plans. I drove to my usual haunts and found nothing going on. I could have hung out anyway, but I kept thinking how my Mother was home alone. My Father had gone out to the bar he hung out at on Friday nights and my sister was out as well. After driving for awhile the guilt of her being home alone got to me and I stopped at PDQ (similar to 7 Eleven) and got a bottle of Cold Duck, a can of cheese spray and a box of Triscuits. I know it sounds funny, but hey, I was in my twenties! Besides, beggars can't be choosers when the only thing open was PDQ. My Mother and I drank the Cold Duck and had our cheese spray and Triscuits and rang in the New Year with Dick Clark. My Mother and I talked and laughed until my Father and my sister came home.

My Mother died suddenly the morning after my sister and I came back from a weekend in Madison. I'll never forget when my supervisor came up to me and said my Father had called and wanted me to go home right away. My sister was working with me at the time. I took my car and we drove home. Neither of us looked at each other. Tears streamed down our faces. Somehow, even though our Mother was never ill a day in her life, somehow we knew she was gone. When we pulled into our subdivision and saw the police squad in the driveway, we knew for certain. One of our friends drove us to the hospital, but she was gone before she left in the ambulance. A valve in her heart burst. Nothing could be done.

I don't remember what happened the rest of that day, other than I never slept. The next day our Father made us go with him to the funeral parlor. He told us that we had to go so we would know how to handle things when he passed. He was right of course, but that didn't make us feel any better about going there. When my Father did pass 6 years later I just went to the same funeral home and told them to just do it all up the same and I signed the papers. I really didn't need to go through that experience with my Mother to do that, but I think my Father had the idea that I was the oldest and that I had to know how to do that sort of thing. Surprisingly I did remember all the minutaie of the process, my sister of course did not. I don't think I slept for an entire week. I had never drank coffee before my Mother passed away, but I started drinking it after and I pretty much lived on it that entire week. My Mother had always said coffee was for grown-ups and had always looked down on youngsters drinking coffee. I guess with my Mother gone I suddenly felt like a grown-up. I still drink coffee to this day.

I think I cried the hardest the night of the funeral as people were getting into their cars and driving away from our house. I walked one of my friends to her car and it suddenly hit me that I never gave my Mother grandchildren. She so loved children and she often babysat for some of the other families on the block. Eventually I did have children, kind of late like she did. I'm hoping she's looking down from heaven and watching over her 2 beautiful grandchildren.

Lola's Diner

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ain't Life Grand Award - Thank You!

I was given a "Ain't Life Grand Award" from Jo at Life's Perfect Pictures. Be sure to check out her blog, she is an awesome Photographer.

Back to the award, I need to name 5 things that make life grand so here goes:

1. Life is grand because I have two beautiful children who never cease to amaze me.
2. Life is grand because I have a gorgeous redheaded partner who not only puts up with me, puts up with my kids. She is such a caring soul and so supportive and best of all she makes me laugh every day.
3. Life is grand because my daughter did come back from her psychotic break. She is a bit different, but she did come back. Some families are not so fortunate.
4. Life is grand because I have made so many bloggy friends and I look forward to many more!
5. Life is grand because I will actually get to meet some of my bloggy friends from the Chicagoland area in April!

Now for the winners! The envelope please (drum roll).................................
1. Patricia @ Subjective Soup. For those of who may not have heard, Patricia is hosting the Chicagoland Meet-up in April. Click on her site for details.
2. Melissa @ Why Be Normal.
3. Jodi @ Jodi's Journey.
4. Look It's Megryansmom.
5. Shauni @ Juggling Teens.
Life is grand with each and every one of you because you all make my days more fun!

Lola's Diner

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tattoo Barbie?

Tattoo Barbie comes with a set of tattoo stickers that can be placed anywhere on the body and a water gun that appears to resemble a tattoo gun.

There is "Butterfly Art Barbie" released in 1999 and now "Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Nikki" (brunette version). Some Parents Not Too Happy With Tattoo Barbie.

Tattoo Barbies on

These seem pretty harmless. From the items on and this video, you can see the tattoos are hearts, panda bears, daisies and butterflies.

It's not like they've got tramp stamps for Barbie and skull and cross bones and nekkid ladies for Ken.

Lola's Diner

What If Drew Didn't Do It?

What if Drew Peterson had nothing to do with Kathleen Savio’s death and Stacy Peterson’s disappearance?

What if Kathleen Savio really did hit her head causing a scalp laceration, tongue clenched between her teeth and abrasions caused by drowning in an empty bathtub?

What if Stacy Peterson decided to just run away from her problems and has left the country?

What if Drew Peterson didn’t have anything to do with Kathleen’s death and Stacy’s disappearance…

1. and the state tied up his personal vehicles in evidence costing him thousands of dollars in car rental fees?
2. and the state tied up his personal computers in evidence, causing his children to be deprived of educational computer games?
3. and the state deprived Drew Peterson of his personal firearms causing him countless sleepless nights feeling unprotected by the happiness of a warm gun?
4. and the state cost Drew Peterson tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands in attorney’s fees?
5. and the court and the public involved in the Grand Juries have wasted countless hours sitting through testimony, most of which was minutiae that had nothing to do with either case?
6. and the media has wasted countless hours of investigating and filming when they could have been spending more time looking at Rod Blagojevich way back on March 1, 2004 when Kathleen Savio’s dead body was found? The media could have been more heavily involved in bringing to light Rod Blagojevich’s connections to Stuart Levine and Tony Rezko in 2004 and his earlier alleged pay for play activities.
7. and Ernest Raines, Christina Raines father, wouldn’t have to take years off his life worrying about the well-being of his daughter and grandchildren?
8. and Drew Peterson’s stepbrother, Tom Morphey attempted suicide over helping Drew dispose of 2 large container’s from Drew Peterson’s bedroom that was just old clothing and linens?
9. and low self-esteemed, psycho prison/serial killer groupies who seek out dangerous "alleged" killers wasted time stalking Drew Peterson when they could have been stalking any of the many other "alleged" murders from 2004-2007. (See Serial Killer Groupiesfor a fascinating article. Please note that I am not inferring that Drew Peterson is a serial killer, not at all. I am referring to the bizarre phenomenon of women being attracted to and seeking out the opportunity to date or become involved with men "allegedly" involved in murder and other dangerous crimes.)


I may have had too much pain medication today.

Lola's Diner

Rants & Vents

1. Chicago Tribune's Name That Blago Book. Seriously? "From Hair to Profanity" was winning when I saw this.
2. I seriously need to soak in a tub of ice. My back is SCREAMING at me. Last night I took my 2 kids and my son's friend to the Bulls game. Anastasia's brother got us box seats and she couldn't go because she had her caregiver gig. I think a good time was had by all, but I couldn't really tell because my son's friend barely said a word. Apparently not much of a talker. But then again it was really hard for anyone to get a word in edgewise because my son appeared to be doing a monologue the whole ride to and from the United Center. By the time we were riding home and were still on I57 and not yet to I80 I invoked the "for cryin' out loud, someone shoot me". OMG! Now I'm wishing someone had because I can barely move. I was really tempted to invoke my usual "Cone of Silence" (No one within the sound of my voice is allowed to speak until said cone is lifted. Usually invoked on car trips to keep the sanity of the driver, usually me. {Sometimes used along with "hands behind your head" when sibling rivalry erupts in the back seat in the form of hitting, punching, pinching, or slapping. In the past we've been quite the site on the interstate. Two kids in the back seat hands on their head for miles. Lol!}) but because my son's friend was already almost silent, I didn't want to further discourage him from talking.
3. Why was there so much Bank advertising at the Bulls game? Why were most of the groups listed on the jumbo-tron (or whatever you call it) mostly banks? If you freakin want bailout money, then stop spending wildly. Your employees don't need to be going to NBA games. Sell your damn tickets and use the money to get your arses out of the hole you've dug for yourselves!
4. I am never taking almost 3 days away from blogging again. My stats are totally in the toilet.
5. GM Auditors Raise the Spector of Chapter 11. Really? I'm sorry, but until they get rid of the bloat that is layer upon layer of managers that do absolutely nothing, and until they respond to what the public wants (reliable cars that aren't gas guzzlers), GM can pretty much write their own obituary. Why weren't they doing something 2 years ago? 5 years ago? The only reason they are now talking Chapter 11 is to try to strong arm President Obama and his administration for more money. WHERE IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S BAILOUT?
6. Why does it seem that no one but me realizes that the whole Jason "The Bachelor" thing was a publicity stunt? Come on people, aren't you smarter than this?
7. Anastasia and I never did make it to see Milk even though it played at our local theatre and was in the 5 buck Club movie list. Thankfully it is coming out on DVD 03/10/09. I'm going to make sure I get out and snag a copy. I'm so looking forward to seeing it at home on our big screen. Homemade popcorn is so much better. Lol!

Lola's Diner

3 Hours Today/90 Days to Justice

My thoughts and support are with everyone who participated in rallies last night and today. The California Supreme Court will hear 3 hours of arguments today and then will have 90 days to issue an opinion. California Court Weighs Legality of Gay Marriage Ban

For true stories of families strengthened by California’s married gay and lesbian couples check out Let California Ring "I Do"

Click here to view all 13 Love Stories

Lola's Diner

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blogojevich Book Deal/There Oughta Be A Law

Have you heard? Blagojevich Lands Six Figure Book Deal with Phoenix Books.

"Corrupt Illinois politicians, for example Rod Blagojevich, are looking to cash in by telling their stories after the fact," Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) said. "They should not be allowed to benefit from their actions in any way, most of all financially." "Franks’ bill would cover any book or movie deals that detail a crime for which the elected official was convicted, and any profits derived from the deal would have to be turned over to the state of Illinois."

I don't know about you, but I'm not buying it. Blagojevich's publicist "said Blagojevich won’t 'pull any punches' and plans to reveal information and provide insights that will at times be embarrassing to himself as well as to others." Hmm, really? Just like he didn't pull any punches on his 'I am not a crook' publicity tour on GMA, The View, Letterman, etc.

Considering his past record with the truth, I'm sure it will be complete fiction. I bet he can't wait to get back on the talk shows and morning shows.

Lola's Diner

Get Off My Lawn/Busted!

The damn dog from drummer boy (aka Metalica-head who plays the same drum riff over and over until you want to blow your brains out just to stop the noise) across the street's dog is busted. This damn dog is loose in the neighborhood all the time. This dog chases our son home from school nearly every day. This dog terrorizes the families that take walks when the weather is nice. I've even had this dog come up at me from behind and scare the bejeses out of me when I'm getting out of my SUV. See the person in the Safety Vest, he's from the village. The damn dog was chasing around him after he read our water meter.

Isn't he/she photogenic? Yeah! I'm sure Animal Control will think so too because I just emailed them 9 photos of the dog on our property from Friday and today. Today I as I was going to pour myself my second cup of joe I looked out the kitchen window to find the dog eating trash he/she pulled from our trash cans. We now have trash all over our yard.

Hopefully now with the photographic proof Animal Control can actually do something.

UPDATE: I called Animal Control about an hour ago and called them again just now. I was told that an Animal Control officer came out 6 minutes after my call and issued citations and they are sending them out again because we just saw the dog running into another neighbor's (not the owner's) backyard. They also confirmed receipt of my photographs. Will this put an end to the dog being let loose and terrorizing the neighborhood? Maybe not yet. But if the owner gets enough tickets maybe he'll take better care to keep his dog on his own property. I just don't want to see my kid or anyone else bit by this dog.

Geez! Am I getting old or what? I invoked a GOML!

Lola's Diner

Meet Ups

In my blogging this weekend I came upon 2 bloggers who've written about their positive experiences with meet ups and I thought I'd share them with you.
More Than Just Words On A Computer @ Buck Robin

Meeting Another Blogger @ Definitely Maybe
Lola's Diner
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