Happy Thanksgiving!


It’s that time of year again. The time to food shop for all the relatives coming to your house to eat. And you don’t even have to be Italian for this holiday which is lucky for you because Italians eat around every occasion. We even make up occasions so we can feed you. Just ask my mother.

I was in the grocery store the other day getting all stocked up on Prosciutto, cheese already cut into little cute cubes so I don’t have to do it, chocolate cake because what’s a holiday without chocolate, and of course the turkey, that no one will really eat because we all like the side dishes better, but the Coffee King looks good holding a carving knife so why stop a good thing?

I loaded up my shopping cart to resemble a volcano about to erupt and dragged the cart into the check out line. I’ll be honest here for a second. I always check to see who the cashier is. I’ve shopped at the same food store for three years now. I’m getting to know who works the registers and who packs a mean bag. In other words, if I don’t like the way you bag I don’t stand in your line. Got it?

So many registers were open and I was tired of pushing and shoving my massive load around so I only checked the first few registers I passed and then settled on an older woman with curly hair not much taller than the belt. I figured that could me in a few years so why not stop? Her name was Mary. Hey, like my mother’s and they were the same size. I wonder if Mary the cashier was Italian too? I should’ve asked. Well, hang on a second, if she was Italian she wasn’t from my group because Mary was a terrible bagger.

We know I’m slightly OCD and I like my things lined up neatly in a row, so I put my groceries on the belt grouped by category. Freezer stuff together, non-food items together, bread together. Follow me? Good. I do this because it makes putting the groceries away easier and it keeps the ice cream from turning to cold soup in July. Most cashiers understand this. Some even compliment  me on it which means they have the same disorder I do. Not our friend Mary.

Mary put the carrots with the crackers. What? Carrots go with the other fruits and vegetables. Didn’t she notice where on the belt they were? The carrots can’t stay cold next to a box of Wheat Thins. And she put the meat with the milk. Now I know my Jewish readers are cringing right about now. Meat should be in a separate bag in case it bleeds on the other groceries. No one wants to be bled on. Trust me. She put the box of garbage bags with the bread. Do I really have to explain this?

Typically, I rearrange the bags when people like Mary drop items into the plastic all whilly nilly, but I controlled myself. It’s Thanksgiving. Maybe she was having a bad day or maybe it was her first day on the job or maybe she hates her job and was taking it on my dinner rolls. Either way, it didn’t matter.

What matters is I’m able to load up my cart with all the things my family wants to eat like mushrooms shoved into the stuffing or mashed potatoes and gravy and buy it for them. What matters is the Coffee King gets to carve our turkey again. What matters are my Noodges. I pushed my cart through the parking lot and to my car hoping Mary has a nice Thanksgiving even if she can’t bag groceries.

And I’m wishing all of you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving too. Just beware of Mary.




photo (44)

The Coffee King and I were out to dinner the other night with friends. A cute, little hole in the wall, where the owner takes your order and brings your food. The menu? Italian, of course. Talking over baked ravioli smothered with mozzarella cheese you can stretch and twirl around your fork, my friend Lisa and I were discussing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I told her, “I’ve always wanted to go to that. It’s on my bucket list.” We’re going next year.

Do you want to see the world? Learn another language? Play an instrument? Write a book, perhaps?

My list is long and strange at times. I want to sing in front of thousands of people while wearing leather pants. I’ve always wanted to be a rock star, but I can’t sing and I don’t play an instrument and at my age, no one wants to see me on stage if they couldn’t benefit from watching me in my twenties.

On my list is take singing lessons and learn to play the drums, piano and violin. It might not be too late to go on tour. Heck, if the Van Halen brothers can still do it pushing 60 why can’t I? Who cares if they didn’t see me in my twenties. I’m still cute. Just older. (I can talk myself in and out of anything. I think it’s a disorder.)

I want to learn to speak Italian fluently and not the dialect from the village of my crazy family. Though, how can’t you love a word like “Zingada?” You’re not getting that in any Italian text book, let me tell you.

I always wanted a dog. Check. photo 1 (7)

Graduate school. Check.

Publish a book. Double Check.

Book Two in the Gabriel Hunter Series


Be a best selling author. No check, but I’m not out of the game yet, though I do need the help of others on this one.

One of the things on my list was learn to drive a stick shift. I bought a car with manual transmission in 1997. That forced me to get good at it because now my car and the Coffee King’s car were both sticks. I felt like the cool kid in the cool club. And my heart swells a little with pride when someone slides into the passenger seat next to me for the first time and says, “you can drive a stick?” Yup, I’m that cool. I sold that stick shift in 2001. Noodge 1 was 8  months old and my car was too small for all his stuff. Plus Noodge 2 showed up about a year after. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children. But the Coffee King holds true to himself. His car today is a stick so I can still be cool from time to time.

I like checking things off my list too. Feels like I’m accomplishing something. My life is fuller, my mind broader, anything is possible.

So tell me, faithful reader, what’s on your list?

Two Sides of a Coin

Posted: November 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


Beach picture of the boys



We have a visitor today at the blog. Let’s get out the cannolis. Jennifer is a picture book writer, educator, and a terrific mom. She blogs from the heart. Thanks, Jennifer for sharing with us.

Originally posted on Red Said What?:

Beach picture of the boys

Bubbe and The Skootch are two sides of a coin.

Bubbe, now a smidge under nine was the two year old who got off the classroom rug at dismissal only after he knew the other children had a place to go and the little guy who sat in the corner and covered his ears at birthday parties.  He is the child who relishes in engineering golf courses and marble runs out of anything he can get his hands on and the boy who recently told me after I advised him to push back as needed, “Mom, I’m not that kind of kid.”

Four year old Skootch, on the other hand, is a one speed, rock and roll, let me smell you ninja machine.  He is the kid who proudly wakes his parents at two in the morning to show us the late night grape juice he poured for himself, the…

View original 492 more words


I’ve got some exciting stuff happening this month. First up is my brand new author Newsletter! I’ll be sending it out about four times a year filled with info on my books and appearances along with fun activities for my younger readers and giveaways. There’s a gift card giveaway in the November newsletter due to hit the stands (ha, I’m dating myself here) November 10th. All you have to do is find the hidden object. (Sound familiar?)

If you’re interested in receiving the newsletter in your inbox just click on the image above or on the left side of the blog. I promise I won’t sell your name for anything less than $20. Just kidding. $50. Okay, okay. No solicitation. Promise.

Also, on Saturday, November 15th from 1-4 I will be at the Hillsborough Public Library, in Hillsborough, NJ for their Authors’ Day. I’m one of a few children’s book authors in attendance so come and by and say hi. Books make great holiday gifts. I know I have a few on my list.

Happy November!




wash hands

Do you know what’s bad about being an OCD clean freak? I can clean everything better than most. There are few who can rival my cleanliness one of them is my mother. That woman can clean. Did I ever tell you about the time she cleaned 40 year-old dirt out of grooves in a counter top? She’s impressive, but I digress.

Accidents happen. We knock over a two liter bottle of Coke onto the floor. We splash tomato soup, we spill coffee. We don’t do any of this on purpose. We didn’t set out to dump the juice just to see what would happen. But just because we didn’t mean to do it doesn’t mean the mess can be ignored. Someone has to clean it up and that someone is usually me.

When a glass goes over and it’s contents race across the kitchen table headed for the space where the center leaf meets the table top my wonderful, amazing family stares at it like a car accident in process. This only leads to the soda seeping though the seams and splashing on the floor. Experience keeps me calm in a cleaning crisis, so I’m the one who jumps up and dives in; paper towel at the ready. When the shock from the spilling accident wears off my guilty  loving, caring family member punctuates my wiping the floor on my hands and knees with, “Sorry.”

And they are. They truly are. They didn’t mean to pull me from my place at the table I just plopped down into after making a dinner I didn’t want to cook. You know I hate cooking. They didn’t mean to drag me away from my writing so I could clean up the juice they spilled. They really are sorry. I know how much they love me, appreciate how much I do for them, value my place in our fantastic family.

Yeah, well…

Sorry doesn’t clean the floor.


P.S. I’m launching a newsletter about my books, current and future works, and appearances along with fun activities for my younger readers. In November, there’s a holiday giveaway contest you won’t want to miss out on. I would love for you to sign up. All you have to do is click the newsletter image in the left side bar of the blog. You’ll be asked for your name and email address. Simple! No one will solicit you (and if they do you tell me and I’ll beat them up with a cannoli) and I promise the newsletter will only show up in your inbox 4 times a year. Thank you!!


Please buy me a fence. I need my alone time. Look what they do to me.

Please buy me a fence. I need my alone time. Look what these people do to me. It’s not even my birthday or anyone’s else in this house.

We can’t stop buying stuff for Munson. We’ve bought most of the toys in the store, tons of bones he can chew on, a dog bed, several collars, too many leashes, and a few different bowls. Now we’ve moved on to bigger things. A fence. I think this dog is spoiled.


As you know, we moved out to the country to have more space and so I could stop living behind the 75 year old man who swam in his pool naked. Well, be careful for what you wish for because you might just get a dog someday who needs a fence.


The Coffee King (also known as my husband) would like a real fence. Something that goes aesthetically in the yard, will keep Munson in, but won’t shock him if he gets too close. We got the first quote. I can’t even tell you how much it is because every time I think about it white noise screeches in my head. It should be a crime to charge that much for a fence. I don’t care how big my yard is. I started thinking; I don’t want a fence if it costs that much. I could remodel a bathroom for the price of a fence. And even though I love that furry, adorable, monster, he’s still a dog and I’m not buying a dog a fence when I could buy granite. Just saying.


There is the electric fence option. It’s less expensive, will actually cover a larger area for Munson to run in and shouldn’t he have as much space as possible to explore, exercise, and God forbid poop in? But there’s that one sticky fact. Or maybe I should say prickly fact. The shock. The poor dog has to get zapped to learn he can’t cross the boundary. Seems harsh, but I know lots of dog owners who love having their electric fence. And they spoil their dogs way more than we do.


Is this fence dilemma any different than say, buying a stroller for your child? You want the safest option so they don’t fall out and land on the ground for a reasonable price, but did I cheap out when I was shopping strollers? Of course, not. I’m an OCD, control freak mother. Only the best for my Noodges. I can imagine what I’ll go through to make sure they purchase the best possible car someday. Oh, wait, I forgot. I’m not letting them drive.


If I’m going to stick with my need to control things, then Munson shouldn’t get a fence of any kind. At least while he’s on the leash, I can control, to some degree, what he puts in his mouth and this puppy is a real life garbage disposal. If he has free reign of the yard, who knows what filth he’ll eat. So, that solves it. Giving up control isn’t worth the cost of containment.


photo 1 (7)

Do you want me to lick you now or later or both?

I thought I read somewhere dogs help people relieve stress. Well, my blood pressure is up and I have a German shepherd puppy. That sweet, fluffy, stubborn puppy actually has a mind of his own. It’s scary, really. He decides he doesn’t want to do something he’s not going to do it and I have to wait him out until he does. Let me explain.

We all know what a clean freak I am, from the first day we brought Munson home we have been wiping his paws off before he comes back in the house. Until recently, he was agreeable to this. In the beginning, if I said, “Munson, paws” he’d jump right on the towel. I’ll admit it, that was pretty darn cute. Now when I say, “Munson, paws” he sits down and looks at you. Okay, not  bad, but when I approach with the towel that stinker either walks away or tries to eat the towel. Sometimes I have to let him chew on the end of the towel just so I can dry his feet. Who’s in charge here? Hmm…

He’s also decided his water bowl is a toy or maybe a mirror. I can’t decide which, but sometimes he sticks his paw in the water like he’s trying to grab something. Does he see his reflection and think, who is that handsome dog? You can guess what happens when he slaps at the water. Water everywhere and on his paw, which if I don’t wipe off, he will track wet paw prints all around the house and you know I can’t allow that. Now, I’m back to saying, “Munson, paws.” And he eats the towel. It really is a vicious circle. Do you think he does it on purpose?

But then there was the day I picked up Noodge 2 early from school because she wasn’t feeling well and when she got home Munson walked up to her, tail wagging, and give her a kiss hello without jumping once. Like he knew some how that she needed a calm friend and this moment wasn’t about him. Sitting with her puppy made her feel better.

You can’t help but giggle at him when he grabs his Frisbee, wraps it around his snout, and covers his eyes with it. I don’t know how he sees where he’s going, but he finds you and hopes you’ll grab that Frisbee and throw it for him. And of course, I do. It’s hard to say no to him.

I can't see  you, but I know you're there. You're playing with me whether you want to or not!

I can’t see you, but I know you’re there because I have supersonic German shepherd puppy hearing. You’re playing with me whether you want to or not!

And there’s nothing like his greeting when he sees me first thing in the morning, but I’m not the one taking him outside. I wish everyone was willing to choke themselves just to say hello to me.

Oh, that Munson. He’s Noodge number 3, the cutest puppy with his floppy ears and long soft, fur you just want to dig your fingers into and he doesn’t relieve any stress in my day. Not one little bit.