Sunday, October 5, 2008


On October 21, 2003 I wrote my very first Journal entry.  Almost five years to the day.

Like many other AOL members I shared a lot of my personal life with the world.  Reading other people's Journals brought me enjoyment, laughter and sometimes, tears. 

I'm happy to say that I've made many good Internet friends.  I cried while watching one member lose her fight with cancer.  Worried about a few Journalists who left without apparent reason, never to return again.  Kept my fingers crossed while one member got divorced and tried his best to be a good father to his kids.  I've prayed for one writer who sadly described her sister's slow decline into Alzheimer's Disease.  Held my breath as another divorced her husband, packed up her bags and moved to L.A. to start a new life.  I remain hopeful that one friend will finally find Mr. Right, and that she'll stay safe while she searches for him.

I've shared stories with new mothers, abused women and recovering drug addicts. Sat back in amazement at the profound wisdom of a certain sensitive friend from Florida.  Watched people fall in and out of love.  Enjoyed looking at pictures of their trips to fabulous, exotic places.  I've laughed at the antics of other people's children and shared my own stories.  The birth of my grandchildren, the purchase of my house, my menopausal misadventures and my On-Line Dating Site experiences. 

Now, AOL has decided to put an end to the On-Line Journals, to "concentrate on more popular interests".  If our Journals weren't "popular" then why did they decide to use our entries to pimp out unwanted advertisements?  Once again, it was without our permission or even opinion on the matter.

Oh, they've given us "helpful advice" on how to transfer out work onto other sites, but speaking for myself, I haven't been successful as yet.

All things considered, I've had quite a good experience writing my On-Line Journal, except for one hurtful episode.  Like life itself, our community has been through good times and bad.  Scandals and legends.  At least we'll always have the memories.

Today, on October 5, 2008, all I can say... is good-bye.  Good luck to all of the Journalists who have graciously invited us into their lives and shared their experiences with us... total strangers. 

And thank you.  For the laughs, the pleasure of getting to know you, and for taking the time to get to know me.  I'll always be grateful for the encouragement you have given to me through your comments and even occasional E-mails.

Thanks, guys.  I'll never forget any of you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memory of 9/11

Today marks an anniversary of a day we will never forget.  It brings back memories of both sadness and hope.  Fear and strength.  Let us remember the victims and their families today, and the sacrifices of the men and women who worked so hard to rescue them.  Thanks to the talented photographers who captured the horror and the American spirit on film, we will never forget.

My oldest daughter Lisa wrote a very moving poem I'd like to share with you.

One Nation
Dedicated to those who lost their lives
in the September 11, 2001 attack on America
May God Bless you all!!
In the bright September morning
without warning to us all
A few thousand lives were shattered
and we watched two buildings fall
And a  billion souls felt empty,
and the flags at half-mast fly
In the memory of the innocent
which didnt have to die.

We’ve lost brothers, sisters, cousins.
We’ve lost family and friends
But we’ve made the choice not to forget
their lives and tragic ends
Though we’ve had our share of troubles,
we have put them all aside
As a Nation grieves we find ourselves
defending them with pride

We’re a nation of survivors
with one heart we share a tear
But we live to serve the memory,
not giving into fear
Though they try to take security
with the things they’ve done and said
All their acts of inhumanity bring unity instead

So we stand here as a family.
One Heart, One Soul, One Voice
We are challenged by this moment,
and united here by choice.
Here are a few of the photos from my

                      The skyline before the terrorist attack.       


         The second of two blasts to the World Trade Center


                                    The endless search for victims.




     Police and firefighters tirelessly risk their lives for days.


                                     No American life is untouched.

                     We became a nation united in prayer.


                        The terrorists couldn't destroy

   our American spirit.  It lives on.  In every heart.

                      Young and old.  Far and near. 

                          They didn't understand...

                                We're AMERICANS!


                   God Bless America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Letter to my Mother

Dear Mom,
Even though you've been gone for more than three years now, I still find myself getting the urge to call you on the phone once in a while.

Then I remember.

I can't tell you how many times I wish that we could just sit down and have a cup of coffee.  You were always such a great listener.  The numerous tragedies, catastrophes and crisises that you faced in your life put you in a position where you always 'understood'.  You never forced any advice on us, or seemed to be shocked at whatever 'situation' we found ourselves in.  And you were always supportive.  For some reason you had the uncanny ability to see the bright side of things, even at our darkest moments.  Sadly, there were few that we didn't share with you.

But now, dealing with my latest 'difficulties' with my own daughters, I think I suddenly know you better than I did then.  Raising kids is never easy and I think it's even harder when they're grown.  You can't ground them or take away their allowances when they misbehave.  And the problems that they face, are... exasperating at times.

I thought that our situations didn't affect you much.  That once we poured our hearts out to you, we'd talk, and everyone would feel better and go on.  It never occurred to me that you would spend one sleepless night over it.  Or agonize over our pain.  Worry what would happen.  Many times I'd see you 'just relaxing with a good book' after such talks, and that seemed to assure me you were unaffected.  I thought your calm demeanor indicated that, although you wished us the best, it was, afterall, our lives, and in the end, we stood alone.  I'd see you enjoying a TV show, drinking a glass of brandy.  How carefree I thought you were!  I'd laugh.  Brandy.  Who drinks that?  Especially a poor person whose last dollar would go to whoever needed it at the time.  I remember resenting it at times.  Did it not occur to me that that was your only means of escape?  Would I not be satisfied until I saw you rocking back and forth weaving baskets in an asylum?

We'd blissfully close our eyes to your needs.  "Mom's happy.  She doesn't need much.  Give her a cigarette, a good book and a glass of  brandy and she's just fine."  We never considered that you might long for more than that.  Your own place, quiet and peaceful.  We thought you enjoyed living with Steve and helping him out with his bills.  Traveling the world.  You were a widow.  Why would you want to travel without Daddy?  Your own car.  You didn't need one; there was always someone who could take you wherever you needed to go.  To the doctor's.  As if you'd ever desired to go anywhere else.

And we never hesitated to pour our hearts out to you.  We were all 'me people'.  Did we never stop to think that on any given day, there were six others brothers and sisters doing the same thing?  How much could you take?  And it's not like we only had minor problems.  God knows you could have written a book.  Who did you have to turn to?  Both of your parents were gone for most of those years.  And all of us were too caught up in out own lives to give you any support. 

I'm sorry, Mom.  I know that you had dreams.  Ones that went to the wayside after you gave birth to seven kids.  Instead, you instilled those dreams in us.  Told us time and time again to get out there and try.  Nothing was impossible, you said.  Quite a hefty bit of optimism considering your circumstances.  I know that many a night you and Daddy went hungry so that we could eat.  There just wasn't enough to go around.  I'm sorry that you never had any nice clothes.  That the only place you ever go to see except Philadelphia was Bermuda.  A one week cruise where you spent most of it in bed because you were seasick and then got a migraine headache.  I'm sorry that you never got to have one of your stories published.  Youwere a great writer, Mom.  I'm sorry that I didn't realize how much Daddy's death broke your heart, and how much you missed him the next fifteen years, until you joined him.  I remember you telling me when I was a little girl that when you were old you were going to have a face lift if you were wrinkled.  That was a pretty bold dream for those days.  Only movie stars did such things.  But you never did get that facelift, Mom.  Never got anything for yourself.

But up until now, all I remembered where the times that you weren't there.  The lousy few times that you were busy caring for all the kids that came after me, while I looked out at the audience for your face during a school play.  I thought only of my own disappointment.  How could you come when you were needed at home?  I didn't even stop to consider the fact that you too, wished you could be there.  I never saw your suffering.

We gave up on you, Mom.  We let ourselves believe that it was always too late for you.  That your only means of success and fulfillment came from hoping that we would someday do all the things that you had wanted to do, but never got the chance.

Thank you, Mom, for never throwing in the towel and giving up on us.  Never.  For always seeing the good in us, even when we couldn't see it ourselves.  For all the sacrifices you made throughout your life for us.  For making a big deal out of even the smallest achievement.  For always being patient and having the appearance of understanding, even though I'm sure you must have wanted to throttle us many times.

I'll never be able to be the Mother that you were.  You were a very special person, Mom.  I'm sorry I didn't see it before this.

I miss you. 

I think this weekend I'm going to curl up with a good book and a glass of brandy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Norman Rockwell Summer

Just so no one gets the idea that everyone in my family belongs on the Jerry Springer Show, here are a few pictures to prove it.  The people in the photos are actually related to me and raised by me.  The smiles are genuine.  And no children or Grammy's were hurt in the making of this album. 

This year was my son, Joe's First Father's Day!  Here he is with his wife, Bonnie and the happiest baby in the world!

Here he is practicing new 'Dare-Devil Baby Stunts' with MY ELEVEN MONTH OLD GRANDCHILD!  He wonders why I have so much gray hair!

Nothing like a cool dip in the pool!

Mommy is busy cooking up our new baby sister!

Let's get WET!

Do it AGAIN, Daddy!

So there you have it.  I not only enjoy normal, stress free, happy moments on occassion, but I also write about them.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Those Three Little Words

I think I’m a pretty good Mom.  Not the best… but… pretty good.  And I find myself saying three little words to my children almost everyday.  Apparently, they never get tired of hearing them.

Get a job!

I’ve whispered it, suggested it, shouted it, screamed it.. nothing works.  They have a million excuses.  They were sick, had a headache, sunburn, blisters, a broken toe, a cold sore, had a flat tire, there was no hot water to take a shower, the car wouldn’t start, there was no babysitter, they were having a bad hair day, they couldn’t find their resume, the printer was out of ink so they couldn’t print out a new one, they had a doctor’s appointment, the cable TV guy was coming, their best friend was having a crisis that only they could help her through, the alarm didn’t go off, someone gave them the wrong directions, they ended up at the wrong address, it was too hot and the car air conditioner wasn’t working, the roads were bad, they had written down the wrong date, they didn’t have enough gas in the car to make it there and back… the list goes on and on.
I usually have one answer to all their complaints about life.
“I’m bored.”  You’ll have plenty of money if you just get a job.
“I’m broke.”  You’ll have plenty of money if you just get a job.
“There’s never any food in the house.”  You can go food shopping if you just get a job.
“I never meet any decent guys.”  You’ll meet plenty of men if you just get a job.
“I have nothing to wear.”  You guessed it.  You’ll have plenty of clothes if you just get a job.
I sometimes wonder why they talk to me at all.  They know what my answer will be before I even give it to them.  Get a job.  Too bad watching Jerry Springer and spending countless hours on YouTube and My Space doesn't count for something.  They'd have a PhD by now.
I bet after Moses climbed the mountain and God gave him the Ten Commandments he added, “Moses… get a job.”
How could I have raised such unmotivated children? My son is a hard worker.  What happened to his sisters?  Now that they’re older they can’t afford to work for minimum wage.  But since they have no real work experience, no one will pay them any more than that.
“All my friends have CAREERS.”
All your friends went to college.
“Why didn’t you make ME go?”
What? Yes.  Of course.  It’s my fault.  What was I thinking?  I’m glad that all their lying around on the couch hasn’t been for nothing.  They were busy figuring out what caused their present plight.  ME.
I don’t have as much time as they do, to figure out what’s causing mine.  I only see one reason.  I had kids.  And only one answer.  Get a job and move away.
Well, I already have a job.  All I have to do now is find a new place to live.

Crime Scene: Do Not Cross

I think there are only four times that your house has to be really, really clean. 
1) When you think you've met the man of your dreams and you are inviting him over for the first time. 
2) When your mother-in-law comes to visit. 
3)  When your house is for sale. 
4) If you're found murdered.  Wouldn't want the Crime Scene people to think you were some kind of a slob, now would you?

I'm not dating anyone, so I don't have to worry about number one... bringing home a man.  Let alone one of my dreams.  Number two is no longer an issue since I'm divorced and all my kids are grown.  As far as number three goes, my house has been for sale for so long, and the market is so crappy right now, as far as I'm concerned, if any potential buyers want to see it clean, they can buy it and clean it themselves.  I must admit, I do worry about number four occasionally. 

My daughters have frequently heard me mumbling things like, "I swear to God if I'm murdered in the middle of the night and this house looks like this when they find me, I will haunt you for eternity!" 
I'm plagued with worry.  How the heck will they be able to decipher the forensic evidence? The Team will have to devote the rest of their careers to sifting though THIS mess!  My kids laugh and tell me I watch too much TV. They think the police will believe that the perpetrator made the mess... not us.  Crime Scene Techs are not stupid! I bet every murder victim hopes the Team will erroneously think that some madman broke in, killed us, and then spent the next few hours spilling ice tea, overflowing the hampers, filling the sink with dirty dishes, taking a bath and leaving a ring around the tub, squirting toothpaste into the bathroom sinks and spattering the mirrors with I don't even want to think about what, and pulling tufts of hair out of the cats and rubbing them onto the sofa. Yeah, right.  How are they going to explain the dust? The overflowing kitty litter boxes? 
In order to dust for fingerprints, the Team has to eliminate all of the 'known prints' at the crime scene. They will have to go out and print every single person who has ever visited us for any reason in the past three years because GOD FORBID anyone living here might think to wipe the place clean once in a while. Now that I think about it, the thought of having to clean up afterward might actually deter a criminal from committing a crime here. 
With MY luck, TruTV would be there on the scene to film the whole thing.  I can just hear the narrator making comments like, "This crime scene proved difficult to process due to the condition of the house..."  In Court, the defense lawyer would ask the detectives, "How can you possibly prove that my client's DNA was deposited in the house on the night in question... it could have been there for YEARS!" 
Dominick Dunn won't be interested in writing about me... I'm not one of the Powerful or Privileged. I hate to think that Stabler & Benson would have to be sent out to my Scene.  I never want to be a Special Victim. Hopefully, it's solved before it becomes a Cold Case. I guess they could always call in Dayle Hinman. Or maybe Columbo. Just don't call Monk. Being an avid Obsessive-Compulsive Detective, he might solve the case but they'd have to put him away forever. 
How embarrassing!  Oh... bury me deeper than six feet!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do these pants make me look fat?

I find many more reasons to eat, then not to eat. Recent studies indicate that most Americans are overweight. Getting thin and fit could be construed as… unpatriotic. My friends would worry that I was dying. I don’t want that on my conscious.  And to be honest… I’m nothing if not honest… healthy food just isn’t fun. Have you ever heard anyone say, “Gee… what I wouldn’t do for a Granola Bar right about now!” Or, “Honey, I made your favorite dessert tonight… tofu pudding!”  No... you haven’t.

Those of you who may scoff at my ideas don’t realize the tremendous amount of thought that goes into non-dieting. And effort. My rationalization skills are far more advanced than those of my very few, skinny friends. The simple task of weighing one’s self is planned, timed and calculated. I’ve found that the best time to weigh yourself is first thing in the morning. After you‘ve peed, of course.  No sense weighing something that won’t be there permanently. It must be done on an empty stomach. Why weigh your breakfast before you’ve had the chance to digest it and turn it into fat?
The number on the scale sets the mood for the entire day.  If my weight is lower than I expected, I’m surprised and delighted.  I usually reward myself with a big plate of blueberry pancakes with a mountain of whipped cream on top. Oh! And syrup.  Some days… I’m shocked and horrified.  I’m instantly depressed and ashamed of myself. NOTHING will make me feel better than a plate of blueberry pancakes with a mountain of whipped cream on top. And syrup!

Why not? There is nothing worse on the face of this earth than being hungry AND fat at the same time.
I hope that our little talk has lightened you up a little! Pun intended. Ummm… can you pass the syrup, please?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sweet Dreams

I wouldn’t call them ‘nightmares’ exactly. More like… ‘Disturbing Dreams’.  I get them all the time.  One would think that even if your daily life is filled with stress, anxiety and closely related tormentors... at least when you finally fall asleep at night, you could relax and enjoy a nice dream.  Nothing fancy… all I’m asking for is a dream where I’m a recluse living on a hill overlooking a valley.  A babbling brook would be a nice touch…  I’m not greedy.  But noooooooo.

Let me tell you about last night’s dream, so you can understand the full extent of my ‘disturbance’.  I dreamt I was arguing with my three grown children (where do you suppose that came from?) I told them I was tired of cleaning up the messes they made in their lives and I wasn’t going to do it anymore (You go, girl!) Then I informed them that I had let my life insurance policy drop, and now when I died, they would have to find a way to bury me on their own. Without a cent from me.

At first they were skeptical.  They knew that that policy was the one where the rates never go up and I didn’t need a medical examination as long as I was under age 80.  They know me, and couldn’t believe I’d just let it lapse.  Once they realized I was serious, they shrugged it off, like everything else.  In the dream, the day came when I passed away.  I got to watch the kids scramble, trying to figure out what the heck to do with my body.  They didn’t have an extra $50 between the three of them.

Lisa suggested a back yard burial. “She loved this house, and she’d be happy to be able to stay here." Never mind the fact that if I couldn’t afford the mortgage payments, how the heck could they?  She might not mind having me out there, but the new owners might.

Tina thought they should get an estimate from a taxidermist, and sit me at my computer for the rest of eternity.  “That’s where she’d want to be,” she added soulfully. “And maybe the stuffing will smooth out all of her wrinkles. You know she had been wanting a face lift for a long time.”

Joe said that he figured they could have a big beef and beer to raise the money. “We could have some of her old Stand Up Comic friends do a show! Roast her! She’d love it! We could invite all of the nurses at her hospital. I bet we’d raise more than enough to bury her.  I can pour the concrete for her tombstone myself!”

Shockingly, the kids sat around talking about the possibilities for so long, the morgue finally called to say that if my body wasn’t out of there by the next day, they were going to have to start charging a storage fee.  The kids were frantic.  Once again, their procrastination and inability to compromise put them in a precarious position.  The satisfaction that I received watching them squirm was short lived however.

I watched in horror as they decided to take me home, burn me to a crisp in a large industrial strength can, and then mix my ashes with hot wax to make candles.  They added in a bit of Citronella so they could burn me ALL summer long and keep the mosquitoes away at the same time.  It was little comfort knowing that their plan was decisive, creative, and practical.

I awoke feeling guilty that I didn’t appreciate the fact that all of my hard work in raising them had finally resulted in them solving a problem on their own... with no help from me.

What kind of mother am I? A better question might be… what kind of person dreams a dream like that? Have I lost my mind? What would a psychiatrist say?

I did learn one thing though. I’m NEVER gonna let that life insurance policy lapse!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bend over and say "Ahhh!"

Geeze! I see that’s it’s been awhile since I updated my Journal.  Even I’m wondering what I’ve been up to, so I stopped by to check.
Hmmmmmmmmm.  Have I met someone special? My own personal Prince Charming?  Wining and dining me?  Keeping me so busy that I don’t even have time to write anymore?  Possibly even proposed to me in the most romantic way and whisked me off to live happily ever after?  That would be a “no”.   Actually, I’ve pretty much thrown in the towel and stopped looking.  The only men who call me are now are bill collectors, but I am on a first name basis with a few of them.  None of them want to take “no” for an answer!  Call me wicked.
Have I sold the house and moved to somewhere more affordable and without the kids?  Nope.  Still struggling and arguing on a daily basis.
Looks like I’ve been working a lot.  Don’t see any promotions or raises listed though.
Undergone any medical procedures or plastic surgeries?  Unfortunately, the only one listed is my first colonoscopy a few weeks ago.  Happy 53rd birthday to me.  Not exactly the kind of procedure I had envisioned.  “Why Lisa! Your… butt!  It looks… fantastic!  Have you had a colonoscopy?  You have, haven’t you?!"

 I woke up with him standing over me, smiling.  Then he bent down and whispered something I’ve been longing to hear.  “No polyps.”  Oh, come on.  A girl’s gotta start somewhere.  I was so proud of my colon that I hung my colonoscopy report on my refrigerator.  Actually, I’ve been seeing so much of my dentist that I almost felt like I was cheating on him with the proctologist. I did learn one thing. It’s not as bad when it’s the dentist saying, “Open wide”.
That reminds me of a story that I heard about a Texan oil baron who went to the dentist for a check-up. "I'm pleased to say your teeth are just fine," said the doctor. "I know," replied the Oilman, "but drill anyway. I feel lucky!"
I do have a bit of news that I just can't keep to myself any longer!  My son Joe and his wife Bonnie must have been so excited how cute their first baby turned out that they decided to have a second one!  My GRAND-DAUGHTER will be arriving in October!   
I'm going to try and update my Journal more often in the future.  I might even try my hand at embellishing.  Who would know?  Nah.  Somebody’s got to step up to the plate and show you that you’re life isn’t as boring as you thought.
And it looks like I’m a natural.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Love At First Write

As usual around Valentine's Day many of the Internet Dating Sites have run specials, taking advantage of the increased awareness of loneliness that frequently follows this holiday.  Feeling it myself this year, and getting my Income Tax Refund at precisely the same time as a special caught my eye, I decided to join one again.  As they say on TV, it doesn't hurt to look.

My first would-be suitor's favorite hobby was "dressing up like Benjamin Franklin and walking the streets of Philadelphia for fun".   He included a photograph of himself, and he did indeed look like Franklin.  'Ben' did have some good points.  If he ended up being a stalker, he'd be easy to spot and pick out of a police line up.  But, I decided to hold off and see if there was anyone else out there.  Please God.  Any one else.  Be careful what you ask for.

I got an E-mail from another candidate yesterday.  I have copied and pasted it exactly as he sent it to me so you can see the caliber of men from which I have to choose:

Hello i;m Ray..just noticed you on this net,,,very much i liked youre write up /photo..i;m from burlington summer / you like boating?....or guitar players..?? to hesr from you,,,until then...Ray

I was stunned.  Didn't 'Ray' realize that these few grammatically incorrect sentences, filled with misspellings and erroneous punctuation usage would be the first and only impression I would have of him?  Surely he'd want to impress me just a little.  I sent the E-mail to my friend Brian, who being a man himself, graciously agreed to interpret it for me. 

Ray's message is written in blue, Brian's interpretation in red.

Hello i;m Ray 

Hello, I’m on parole.

just noticed you on this net 

Your last name starts with a  'V'.  All the women from A

to U have already shot me down.

very much i liked youre write up /photo 

Do you have a free webcam site?

Im from burlington, nj 

No closer than1,000 feet of Burlington High School to be more precise. 

love summer / fall 

Was incarcerated winter spring.

do you likeboating? 

Is your life insurance paid up?

or guitar players..??...  

I have no known job skills.

love to hesr from you  

Unless you're a parole officer

until then...Ray 

Until my next hearing, Ray 


Thank God Brian was able to explain this to me. 

I might have passed this guy up!


  My Valentine!