Saturday, April 30, 2016

(Novel) The Plan: Through The Window- Mr. Cerelli

That morning was the last time he would see his baby sister alive.

While his mother choked on the thick cock of Mr. Cerelli, the neighbor next door, his three year old sister was literally choking to death on another, ironically, phallic shaped item.

A hot-dog and bun.

It would be years before the surgeon general would deem hot-dogs the #1 choke hazard of children 3 or younger. Long after Lisa (and her mother for that matter) were busily decomposing, and no longer in need of his sage advice.

Troy would always be off elsewhere during their trysts. Maybe at the pool in the summer heat. Maybe down at the soda fountain or riding his bike, a 1964 Schwinn Stingray, to the park. It was long before before the helicopter parenting of today. Children were basically raised free-ranged.  Lisa Ann would be napping.

But not today.

Today, Troy had gone outside with his lunch. Peanut butter, as he detested hot-dogs. After this day, peanut butter sandwiches would also be off the list for life.  Lisa Ann was fussy...resisting her nap. Exasperated Connie had parked her, just as so many other mothers routinely parked their children, in front of the family's 24 inch, grainy, black and white Motorola television.

The Glass Teat, as Harlan Ellison would refer to it, sarcastically, in 1983.

She handed her a plate with a hot-dog in a bun, chips and a sippy cup of purple Kool-Aid.

Mr. Cerelli came businesslike to the front door with a folder of papers in his hand, as always. The illusion of propriety, if not the intent.  Passing by the toddler glued to her cartoons. Sticky purple Kool-Aid fingers reaching for chips without even breaking her gaze at the grey and white cat chasing an even greyer mouse. Color TV wasn't even a dream yet, and no man would set foot on the moon for another four years.

Their arrangement had gone on for nearly 6 months, completely unnoticed.

All of that was about to change.

Upstairs, Connie's was face buried in Lorenzo Cerelli's jet black chest hair. Breathing in his familiar scent as his hand slipped beneath her dress and thick calloused fingers worked between the nylon of her panties and her skin. Her breathing reduced to small moans of pleasure. Begging for a release.

Except, it would never come.

(Not even later that Fall when she would send Troy to play at a neighbor's house and tied a rope around her neck before stepping off the kitchen chair) 

He unbuckled his belt and roughly pushed her head down in the general direction of his bulging crotch, closing his eyes. She greedily obliged him.

Only moments later, downstairs, there was a huge crash, the sound of glass breaking, and a scrabbling sound on the floor.

Cerelli darted into the nearby bathroom to arrange himself, and Connie dashed down the wooden stairs.

What the hell has she gotten into now? Connie angrily thought to herself.
Why couldn't she just sit quietly and watc....

[the thought froze there]

Reaching the bottom step, she first saw the television smashed face down in the broken plate. Grape Kool-Aid running from the sippy over the already staining hardwood floor. Then, the horrific purplish-blue face of her daughter flailing and soundless.  Spittle running from the corners of her mouth. Snot dripping from her nose.  Her eyes rolling back into their sockets. Grabbing her, screaming, Connie hammered her back, trying to dislodge the sticky bun-meat mass with clawing fingers to no avail.

The Heimlich Maneuver would be published in 1974 by Henry Heimlich. Once again, much too late to save Lisa Ann.

The kicking and flailing stopped as though someone had removed the batteries from a toy doll. The toddler went limp. Her face and chest a deep ashen blue color, and it was over. Her eyes dilated and fixed, sightless. Forever. Connie still keening. Mr. Cerelli attempting to calm her, and check Lisa for a pulse, but finding nothing.

Mr. Cerelli stayed until Dick arrived. Muttered an excuse about hearing Connie's screams from next door; then hurriedly left them both to their grief,  the police and ambulance.

And 8 year old Richard Troy Jr. having just biked home, smelled his father's Brut cologne through the open screen window and looked inside...

Leaving Napoli....Gelato....Baci Cioccolato...and a Quick Tour of the Chocolate Factory

The last day of April...and bidding Ciao (a multi-purpose Italian word used for goodbye, as well as hello, here) to Napoli, but before we leave I promised you a Gelato Recipe...although, admittedly, I have never tasted any to rival Breyer's Tiramisu

Absolutely Meglio del Sesso!

(recipe to follow)

Today, we take an unexpected 184 mile detour to Perugia. Specifically to the Baci Cioccolato Shop.  Making Bacio since 1907.  
I just received my box. 

Perfect timing!

A "sweet" way to end our Napoli tour!  Bacio and Gelato. It couldn't be better unless you chopped the Bacio and used them as a mix in for the Gelato, I suppose. This may be a must try!

Baci (Bah-see) is Italian for Kiss.  Bacio being the plural.

The Story behind the Bacio is a romantic one.  Years ago, in the heart of Italy, a young Perugina chocolatier, Lusia Spagnoli, was inspired to create a special chocolate and hazelnut confection for her beloved. As it was a clandestine relationship, into each wrapper she would slip a small love note for him.

 She named her creation Baci.

Today's Baci still contain a parchment paper slip with a small love note written in several different languages (including Italian) then the sweet and love note is wrapped in foil.

A Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut Confection, the center of which tastes just like Nutella!

For 65 Euro...or about 75.40 USD you can spend a day not only touring the huge chocolate factory...seeing the many wonderful chocolates produced here...but also sampling them!

Baci Factory Tour

October's Euro Chocolate Festival

and here is that Gelato recipe...this is the basic...feel free to add fruits, nuts, or maybe even Bacio!

Basic Gelato:

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or one vanilla bean added to milk mixture while heating and then removed.

1/2 cup sugar

Warm milk and cream in heavy saucepan on medium heat until small bubbles form at edges. Do not boil.  Remove from heat. (removed vanilla pod if used)

In large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar together until frothy and then add warm milk/cream mixture. Whisk well to mix.

Return to medium heat. Cook slowly until mixture covers back of spoon stirring constantly.

Strain through small mesh strainer into freezer container.

Freeze overnight.  Mix in's may be added as Gelato is scooped and served. 


Ciao, Napoli!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

We'll Always Have Rhode Island...Bernie or Bust...and George Awakens! it was a rough Tuesday in Pennsylvania and Connecticut...Maryland and Delaware. We did do really well in Rhode there is that.

Pledged Delegate count: 

1645 Hillary 

1318 Bernie

(total does not reflect Super Delegates who STILL do not cast their vote until July)

Without the Super Delegates there are still 1088 Delegates up for grabs.

There are 712 Super Delegates that can and will vote the way the wind shifts in July.  As we witnessed in 2008.

Did our path get more difficult?  Of course. 

 Is it impossible. Hell no!

So why has the MSM pounced on the Sanders campaign like a fox on a dying rodent.

It is complicated.  Follow the $$$$$$$$$. 

Once again what upsets me the most is that they have spewed this negative babble since day one of his campaign...along with the fact that

Population of Indiana                       6.597 Million

Population of Guam:                            165,124 Thousand

Population of West Virginia:              1.85 Million

Population of Kentucky                      4.413 Million

Population of Oregon                          3.97 Million

Population of Virgin Islands                    104,737 Thousand

Population of S. Dakota                           853,175 Thousand

Population of New Mexico                  2.86 Million

Population of N Dakota                           739,482 Thousand

Population of New Jersey                    8.938 Million

Population of Montana                        1.024 Million

Population of California                     38.8 Million

Population of DC                                      658, 893 Thousand

Have not yet had their primary elections.

And that is a LOT of people to want to deliberately leave them out or deny a voice as to who will RUN their country for (at the very least) the next 4 years.


Why would anyone in America want to disenfranchise that many voters????  

Why, indeed.

I have been active in politics since 1978.  I have never seen a such a corrupt primary election as the one ran this year.

It is outrageous. 

Media blackouts, pre-adding Super Delegates to give the illusion of a larger delegate count, deliberate misinformation, voter's being turned away, machines broken or closed all together, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So yes...I will STILL be voting for Bernie in Indiana on May 3rd...and if he does NOT get the Primary Nomination in July...even if he doesn't run as an Independent...I will be writing his name in. 

So to answer the question one LAST time I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, (repeat ad infinitum) vote for Hillary.  For any reason.  Even if we end up having to survive 4 years of Trump. If she cheats and lies her way through this thing with the help of the MSM and the DNC and Wall Street. And that is okay with you. Then you deserve Trump.


And there are legions who feel just like I do. 

See you NEED us (well our vote anyway) we actually don't need YOU so much.

So, if you really really want a Trump Presidency...keep trying to shove her down our throats like Linda Lovelace at the Convention.  

It is up to you...DNC. 

Choose wisely. 

And this shot just in from "Idgy"

"George"...remember George, her birthday Wisteria???

George has made it through the winter and started his Spring Bloom and is fabulous!!!!!!

And so happy to be "back home again in Tennessee" or any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line!

Contemplating one of my own for the patio soon!

"Joey" her Aussie bit of fluff has sent up a single shoot we are still hopeful that our little plant from down-under has survived.

The jury is still out on my three tiny Redbuds...although there are several even tinier leaves beginning, so they may have made it after all!

Off to play in the plants!

More anon...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Novel: The Plan (cont.)

[The office is warm and the drifting breeze from outside is pleasant as I let my head sink for a moment, Pressing a close-shaven cheek to the equally cool polished oak grain of the desktop. Settled in a nest of my own two arms.]



From out of nowhere, I see my father through the window. I can smell his cologne. I am eight years old playing outside in the shaded back-lot of our old Brownstone. At first I want to call out to him. Then I see the terrible anger on his face and I am shocked into silence. He is never home in the middle of the day. I hear my mother yelling. Upset. Then crying. Screaming. He is standing over her. Crying. Cursing. I am frozen in fear. Eight years old and I can smell my father's cologne from the open window now mingled with the stink of my own urine running down my bare leg. Then, I see the object of his cursing. His anger, and grief. And involuntarily eject warm grape Kool-Aid and peanut butter sandwich, spattering the half digested chunks on my feet.

[ Dr. Troy wakes from his mid-afternoon terror with a sharp cry, and tears in his eyes. He feels the sour bile rising in his throat. He barely has time to pull his head clear from the desktop before being sick. Watching what is left of his expensive catered lunch, now puddling around his $775 Burberry leather footwear. ]


Vemero...Santa Chiara...Villa Reale...and The Tango...

Yes, it is time to enjoy a few of the more peaceful places in Napoli.

Suffering from a terrible lack of solitude here today. 

Last week the parade of stripped to the waist sweat-sheened men who came to repair the roof damage we sustained in the last round of winds and storm seemed almost entertaining...eye candy...

A week and a half later and the entertainment factor has been thoroughly replaced by the annoyance factor.

Can YOU possibly be any louder, why are you flicking cigarette butts where they land on my patio and in my plants, ohmigod...your music sucks...why are there old shingles and shingle wrapping paper and god-knows-what-else flying off the roof and..yes...into my yard. And WTH is it with the guy who hammers to the tune of "shave and a haircut" anyway??? The first time I heard was cute. Not so much so after 10 days.

Seriously...I have reached the

"Get off MY lawn" stage of this whole re-roofing business. And it's not even my lawn.

"And YOU....for god's sake PUT a shirt on!"

As the workers seem to have morphed from the previous picture to this.  Accompanied by loud belches, farts and the constant barrage of "my wife left me and she done took my damned truck and dog with her" country music.

I don't know. Were you re-roofing her house when she left??? Totally understandable.

Yeah...the Bloom is definitely off the Rose.

Sat out this morning reading in the coolness...thought about dong the weeding and cleaning the junk out of my borders but then they arrived...and seriously...what is the point until they are done?

So slipping away to Virtual Napoli for a few.


A quiet still spot in the center of bustling Naples.

Santa Chiara

Italian for Saint Clare

And a sanctuary of cool silent marble chapels and much quieter neighborhoods.

Also,  my favorite...Villa Park Reale

This amazing communal park...a touch of greenspace in the midst of the urban sprawl that is Naples, Italy.

I have to believe this place restores a lot of Neapolitan Sanity. 

Oh, and here is the whole Tango thing.

Not my cup of tea...and they may actually be doing this on my roof right now. It sounds a lot like it. 

Off to try another meatball recipe!

Tomorrow through the end of the week they are predicting heavy storms, rain, hail and maybe tornadoes...and when I heard, all I could think was

"So, the roofing crew won't BE here, then. Right?"

More anon...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Plan...

I have decided to go with the Original Working Title (The Plan) for my Fiction Novel. It is the Writing Prompt that gave birth to first the Essay and now the Novel. Additionally, as I write the manuscript it seems appropriate because it seems within each character is budding "a plan" of their own...

When last we left our ragtag assortment of flawed characters, Jerry had just committed suicide after his interview with Dr. Richard Troy (the psychiatrist). Apparently having implemented "his plan".

That is where we pick up...


[  It appears I will be on the opposite side of the desk, today.   The Couch, in layman's terms. Homicide Investigative Detective, Louis Brink, will be doing an interview with me as part of his on-going investigation of the demise of one Gerald L. Black.  Trying to tie up this case...loose ends, actually.  He assures me the interview is more of a formality, and thanks me for my time. Earlier this week a patient of mine left my office and as far as anyone can discern committed suicide with a revolver. The revolver in question belonged to a former friend of his, and a current patient of mine Sgt. Mark Cole. I have offered my assistance in any manner possible to help expedite the investigation. That brings us to today. ]

[ Detective Brink is a squat man with calloused hands, bad teeth and worse breath. He gives one the appearance of an English Bulldog in a suit. His hair is oiled and parted to the side and he stinks of Brut.  He asks that I state my name for the record. And our interview begins]

"Out of the ordinary that day? Black seemed a bit more anxious than usual."

"No..he was exactly on time, as usual, he was quite punctual."

"His main concern seemed to be patient confidentiality. We were discussing a sensitive marital issue."

"I assured him, of course that anything we discussed would not be mentioned outside this office. It is a matter of Federal law now."

"He seemed relieved. More relaxed. No, I do not believe the Blacks were discussing divorce in any fashion. I am sure he would have mentioned it."

"No, I do not, in my professional opinion,  believe the issue we discussed that day was in any way relevant to his death."

"No, he gave me no indication of any suicidal ideation that afternoon."

"I have no idea where he procured Sgt. Cole's weapon.They were good friends before Mr.Cole's accident. It is entirely possible that he had given him the gun years ago. "

"No,I have not seen or talked to his wife since his death."

[ Suddenly I am very uncomfortable with this foul-smelling, bullish detective who holds his gaze into my eyes a little too long. At last he murmurers "uh huh" to himself and hands me a business card]

"Yes, I will call you if I think of anything else."

[ And he is gone...leaving in his wake halitosis, and a suffocating cloud of Brut. My eyes watering and coughing I open my office window to usher the stench outside. I am left pondering why the cheap cologne would produce such a negative reaction within me. Then I realize it is the same my father used when I was 8 years old.  Jesus. My father. Of course. Conjuring up memories I have spent a lifetime trying to forget. Survive. I walk to the back wash-room and scrub my hands until they are red and shaking. Still feeling nauseated, I ring out to the receptionist and ask her to cancel my last two appointments for the day. ]


More anon...

Still fleshing this out. Think I am going to add a mini flashback to his father to this sequence. 

I credit Idgy (who is an amazing sounding board) for both the idea of using Brut in this part of the story and encouraging a flashback to the father in question .  My initial selections were hair tonics (Brylcreem or Vitalis) what I was going for was a scent that when you saw it in writing you could viscerally conjure up the smell. We decided against Old Spice, because...face it...that is the scent of everyone's "grand-pop" and we didn't want it associated negatively.  So after looking up Brut's release date  (1964) and Doctor Richard Troy's birth year  (1957) it was plausible that his dad could very well have used Brut when he was 8 years old.

(...this is the part of writing a novel that most people who are non-writers never even take into it actually possible...had a clueless woman once, while discussing re-writes, that made the statement she only ever reads novels that were never re-written. Good luck with THAT...hon...)

That sound in the background...that's Hemingway laughing ~ Or maybe taking another drink.

So, anyway, I am envisioning Dr. Troy....exhausted...having cancelled his last afternoon appointments...head sinking to his polished wood desk..dozing...and perhaps a glimpse of what 8 year old Richard's life was like in a short

(a nice way to introduce a flashback)

More, maybe tomorrow...and for those of you actually reading along with us...I will obviously mark the NOVEL entries from now on so you don't have to slough through the recipes, virtual travel, politics or the day to day chatter...unless you really want to...



Stuffed Neapolitan Meatballs...with a Side of Game of Thrones...

Yeah...yeah...what I started to write about this morning was another thing I discovered in Napoli...all about meatballs...

But there was Birthday Cake left. And Season 6: Episode One of Game of Thrones.

So now that I have Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy, Jamie and Cersi Lannister, Tyrion and Jon Snow out of the way...and my after-birthday breakfast slice of cake  is gone...

About Meatballs.

Yeah...Italians don't traditionally put them on Spaghetti. That is completely an American thing. Who knew???

As is Alfredo Sauce. WTH???

Culinary lies, all of my life.

The upside of all of this is that I have gleaned some incredible meatball recipes while researching the subject, though. While starting with some of the simplest recipes just ground meat and spices, I quickly worked my way up to these:

Quite possibly one of the finest meatball recipes...and certainly one of the tastiest I have ever tried.

(recipe below)

Basically a hollow Italian Sausage Meatball with peppers and spices stuffed before frying or baking with Buffalo mozzarella and topped with Marinara and fresh thick flaked Parmesan.

Stuffed Neapolitan Meatballs

1 pound ground Italian Sausage

1/2 cup chopped red and green peppers.

1 clove finely chopped garlic.

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs.

Mix all these ingredients together well. Scoop into medium sized meatballs. Indent center with thumb or spoon and stuff each center with a wad of buffalo mozzarella. 

 [ you can also add veggies if desired at this point with the cheese] 

Close indentation over stuffed center with more of the ground meat mixture to seal. 

Bake in 350 degree oven or brown in olive oil in a deep skillet turning frequently to assure all sides are cooked evenly. 

Place in bowl, drizzle with Marinara and thick flaked Parmesan Cheese. 
These can be elevated to the order of fine dining by adding a sprig of fresh basil to garnish and cutting one of the meatballs in half for presentation before serving exposing the creamy mozzarella inside!

Serve with a good red table wine, thick Italian loaf and a side salad...and maybe Tiramisu for afters...


Oh....and I think I have figured out the Jon Snow dilemma...and has nothing to do with the Red Witch.  :)

Remember Dany who threw herself on Khal Drogo's pyre...and then walked out of the flames unscathed because her bloodline was Targaryen????  There is your clue.  Run with it.

Was he REALLY Ned Stark's bastard?

We will see.

And isn't the dragon choker she is wearing in this season one of those  must-haves ???

Yes, a knock-off is already available on Etsy.

You're Welcome! 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Brenden's 6th Birthday and My 56th!

Never ever ever get too old for squirt-gun wars!

With everyone turning out for Brenden's Special Op's Birthday Party. You have to imagine 12 kids and 10 Adults armed to the teeth with water guns.

It was magnificent chaos!

Started the morning a lot like this

And popped online to say "Hello" to everyone and immediately saw this

and this

And I must admit, Lennon is right...that is creepy as!

56 is somehow different than that slippery-slope to 60 way. But as someone who was told I would not make 50...well...56 is absolutely amazing...and, once again, I want to sent little "I'm still ALIVE" notes to the neurosurgeon, yearly.

Reflecting on my life today in terms of decades. So  many lives. So many hats. The Hippie Years of the 70's. The Stripper Years of the Early 80's. The College, Motherhood, Nursing Career Years of the late 80's and 90's.  The Wife, Lover, Caregiver Years up to 2010. And now...Widow. Retired. Matriarch. Buddhist. Grandmother. Dispenser of love, hugs, cookies...and occasionally even wisdom. 

I have done, seen, tried, experienced so much in this more-than-half-century of living and I'm STILL learning.

Life is good! 

I have no regrets. 

Loved celebrating Brenden's 6th. They grow up so fast!

Preston is as tall, or taller, than James now!

Hey Babe!

Even Aiden is becoming!  Had to laugh when I watched him holding his squirt-gun sideways "Gangsta Style" today!

Possibly shooting at the black helicopters???

And there were water-guns everywhere!

Along with the kitchen stuff and gardening stuff and oils/scents I also received

The very first of the Goldens picked by James!
Birthday Shrooms!

And Nicole made me this incredible Strawberry, Whipped Cream, Angel-food Cake

So in addition to Brenden's Special Op's Cake (Handmade fondant and Camo- Colored inside)

We will ALL be eating birthday cake for the next week or so!

Also got a happy surprise from he and Tina have managed to sort things and pull their relationship back together! They brought the grand-puppies over to visit (...they had missed me...and I...them), and celebrated, before running off to spend a day and night camping at Turkey Run!  Chris and I will be plundering Rockville, Turkey Run and The White Horse CafĂ© next weekend!

Good relationships are hard work. They don't just happen. As Bill used to say"There are always going to be speed-bumps along the way...there just are...we deal with them...let them go, and move on."  They want to commit to making this work. They formally announced their engagement today!

Wishing you both love, luck, hard work, and a lifetime of happiness!

Remember...communication (and love) is everything!

More anon...

The Camaro in all its beastliness!  Great ride there, and back, today! 


Thursday, April 21, 2016


 When Doves Cry

Dig if you will the picture
Of you and I engaged in a kiss
The sweat of your body covers me
Can you my darling
Can you picture this?
Dream if you can a courtyard
An ocean of violets in bloom
Animals strike curious poses
They feel the heat
The heat between me and you...

Yes...this is what it feels like When Doves Cry. 

Prince, icon of the 80's. Dead at 57 years old. 
Whether Unpronounceable Symbol 

Or simply "The Artist" in one way or another, during those "pop" years, his music helped form the "soundtrack" of many of our lives.

Purple Rain
I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
Purple rain, purple rain
I only wanted to see you
Bathing in the purple rain

I never wanted to be your weekend lover
I only wanted to be some kind of friend
Baby, I could never steal you from another
It's such a shame our friendship had to end


Honey, I know, I know
I know times are changing
It's time we all reach out
For something new, that means you too

You say you want a leader
But you can't seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the purple rain


Only want to see you
In the purple rain

RIP...Prince Rogers Nelson
         June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016

Took the evening and watched Purple Rain....thought I was being overly nostalgic until I saw some of the world-wide tributes the next day.

Somehow, "His Purpleness" managed to touch us all.