Wednesday, September 19, 2018


     With all due respect to James Corden, I'm pretty sure I came up with carpool karaoke decades ago.

     I was lucky to go on lots of summer family vacations.  I seem to remember different station wagons, but the Gran Torino was the one I remember the most.  I'm sure you can double check with my brother, but I had two really annoying habits on road trips.

    One clear memory is my obsession with leaning over my father's shoulder and saying "do we have enough gas, is there enough gas, do we need gas?" over and over again.
      My prowess in math is legendary (not at all) and he would try to explain we get 11 miles to the gallon, our tank holds 29 gallons, blah...blah...blah.  My little brain would melt down, my eyes glazed over and I would sink back muttering "I hope we have enough gas".  So you know that one time that there was a problem with the gas tank?

     Yep, ran out of gas.  I am pretty sure I started wailing in the back seat.  And I'm also pretty sure I was like 16.  Not pretty.

     The other extremely annoying habit was being able to identify a song on the radio within the first 3 notes.  My father would exclaim "how the heck do you know all these?"  Just massive skill I guess.

    I would yell out "I Got You Babe" or "King of The Road" and begin to sing along much to the consternation of the rest of the family.   This amazing skill has continued to annoy those around me.  My favorite utilization of this talent was when I would drive my son to school  or on errands when he was younger.  He was allowed to put in a CD (kids Google it)....mostly rap / hip hop stuff.  Now, as we adults know...lots of this music had sampled bits.  So I would love to break into Earth Wind & Fire's "SEPTEMBER" that was mixed into some DJ song.  My son would roll his eyes...."how do you know THIS music too???  You are so annoying!"  Yes, that I am, just ask your Uncle or Dad.

   Now, some clarification.   I knew the songs, would sing (and still do) at full voice.  However, this does not mean I was correct with the lyrics all the time.  Most of the time, but there have been some doozies:

  • Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival:  Correct lyric:  "There's a bad moon on the rise".  My version:  "There's a bathroom on the right".
  • Blinded By The Light by Springsteen:  Correct lyric:  "Blinded by the light.  Revved up like a deuce another runner in the night".  My version:  "Blinded by the light.  Revved up like a DOUCHE another runner in the night".  I always got in trouble for that one.
  • Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks:  Correct lyric:  "White winged dove, sings a song."  For years I was belting out "One winged dove, sings a song."  Makes absolutely no sense.
   And many more.....fortunately, this all happened in the good old days of not having everything filmed showing your ignorance for internet eternity.

   But one classic tune that I thought for years I was singing right, my exposure as being full of s^%$ was captured on a funny episode of my friends' YouTube channel.  Spandex Nation unMasked...check out their channel and here is the funny episode featuring my ignorance in all its glory.  And some other jackasses too:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


     As Richard Gere says in PRETTY WOMAN, "I miss keys" as he kept shoving his hotel room card into the door over and over.

    I can relate.  I have always had issues with hotel key cards.  So many times they just quit working for me.  And there is nothing quite like this when it happened in Vegas, in particular the MGM Grand.  The hallways are so long you have to pack a lunch to get from the elevator to your room (I also have an uncanny ability of scoring the room furthest away from elevator banks....I'm not kidding every time).  So after a night out, I would finally get to the room only to have the card not work (and I would always get 2 and both would die).  I would do the long walk  back to the lobby to get new cards.

    This is such a predictable situation that my husband won't even allow me to carry them when we go on vacation.  I have tried not putting them in my wallet (the idea that the magnetic strip on credit cards sets them off), rubbing them against clothing to eliminate static cling.  All to no avail.  I started to be known as having toxic hands.

    During a recent brunch with my Vegas buddy Gina we started this conversation over my ability to destroy electronic items with my bare hands. 

     In addition to the hotel key card situation I regaled her with just some recent activities (just this one visit to Vegas in particular):

  • Having my gel manicure removed with power tools.  In the middle, the drill starts heating up and basically deteriorates.  The manicurist said "wow, I've never seen that before".
  • My central AC thermostat is flashing a message while I'm adjusting the temperature.  The message doesn't even register when I google it.  The AC tech said, "jeez, I've never seen that before"
  • My key fob for the pool entry dies.  
  • Day two coffee maker dies.
  • Day two blow dryer dies.
  • Day two and a half, my rental car dashboard lights all start blinking
  •  Day three my Fitbit claims I only walked 432 steps all day (OK well that MIGHT be accurate)
   And I've had ongoing issues with ceiling fans, replacing light bulbs (one started to melt and almost caused a fire), cell phones, desktop computers and on and on.  And I'm afraid electronics may not be the only thing car was crushed 3 TIMES by trees in my driveway.  

   Being a great friend with a brilliant legal mind, Gina went on the Google hunt for more information.

   All this time I thought I was just your basic weirdo and klutz but it appears as if I can be classified as a "Slider".  At last I belong!   Some of Gina's research:

   From Conscious Life News:  "The Sliders phenomena is not limited to street lights only (oooh, that hasn't happened yet).  Often these people can't wear watches as they stop working within a couple of days.  They also affect other appliances such as headlights and alternators in vehicles, light bulbs and computers.  Light bulbs may blow every time a "slider" touches a lamp or a switch.   Computers may freeze, CD players change tracks suddenly whenever a slider is near.  Sliders may be unable to use credit cards as they become unreadable and many times cause an irregular EKG".   Check, check, check!

  There are many different theories on this phenomena...all related to energy.  And no known remedy so I guess I'm going to be a slider for life.  I figure it will be just another way that I'm crazy.  

   But the different articles all agreed that these situations are exacerbated by high emotion -- stress, anger or a near death experience.  So all I can end with is:

        Don't make me mad :)   Any other sliders out there???

Friday, August 31, 2018


    While watching the news coverage of the recent passing of Senator McCain, in particular his time spent as a POW, I kept getting a nagging thought in the back of my mind.  I couldn't place it until it came to me last night.

     I dug through a box in the basement and found an old jewelry box I kept as a young girl.  In a pile of strange memorabilia, I found what had been bugging me.  My POW bracelet from the 1970s.

     My experience with the Vietnam War was watching news coverage and the fact that a friend of my family's lost their son over there.  My recollection is that there was an ad in the back of a magazine and you could order a POW bracelet.

    When I received my bracelet it was engraved with "Capt Ronald Packard, 7-31-67" and it came with the name and address of his wife.  For quite a while we exchanged letters -- there were no computers, etc. -- so snail mail was the way to go.  I remember stationery with daisies, my "I's" had hearts over them.  His wife's name was Shari, she lived in Colorado, and we would write each other about mundane issues.  As I think of it now, how hard must this have been for his wife?  Her husband was MIA, possibly a POW and there she was corresponding to a little kid.

    Here is a link about these bracelets from back in the day.

    Years past and whenever that day came that I put this bracelet in the box, I'm ashamed that it was forgotten for all this time.

    Now that there is Google, I was able to find out more about Capt Packard.  To connect a face and history with my long ago involvement brought tears to my eyes.  As an adult, and the Mother of a USMC veteran, I am devastated that he went missing when he was only 25 years old.  Only one year older than my son is now.

   After finding his history, I learned that his remains were found and he was buried in 1997 at Arlington with full military honors. Captain Ronald L. Packard memorial info.

    Also through Google, I believe I found his widow and I have reached out to her to see if she or anyone in her family might like to have me mail the bracelet to them.  Stay tuned! 

   RIP Captain Packard and know that long ago, a young girl, kept you in her prayers.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


     Now that Summer '18 is heading toward the record books, I have been reminiscing on some past vacations, some as an adult and some with my family when I was a kid.  One vacation spot in particular comes to the lake.

     Every other summer, my family rented a cabin on Long Lake, Maine.  One of my most vivid memories of the cabin was the picture window that looked out over the lake.  It was so large and clean that during the day it almost looked as if there was no window at all.  You could only tell when the sun hit a certain way, letting the rays into the room; and dust particles would look like dancing fairies in the sun.  We would watch the boats and especially the seaplanes which we would find fascinating.

    At night, the silence was so overwhelming you could hear your own heartbeat in your ears.  At night, while reading, we would rest our feet onto the glass and feel the cool night air on the soles of our feet.  If we pressed our feet very hard, the chill seemed to travel up our legs.  There were no lights on the lake.  It was as if someone had shut every light of nature off.  All we could see was our reflection in the glass.

    The bedroom that my brother and I shared faced a screened-in porch.  All throughout the night we could hear the insects buzzing up against the screen.  They sounded so close, like the buzzing of the barber's razor when he is cutting close to your ears.

    A wood dock rocked gently in the water; it was our lullaby. My brother and I would wrap ourselves in our blankets.  They were pure white like new snow and as soft as sleeping wrapped in a cotton ball.

    We would wake when our mother started making breakfast.  We knew when Dad was awake because we could smell fresh coffee brewing.  Dad would take his coffee out on the porch and blow gently on it as if he were blowing the fur off a dandelion.  There was one spot on the floor that would always creak in a soothing rhythm.  We could almost hum along with that sound.  It sounded as if the porch was waking us up too.  Good morning, good morning, it seemed to sing to us.

    Every morning we would put on our bathing suits and head out to the lake.  The suits always felt a little clammy, as if they were not completely dry from the day before.  I would stick one foot in the lake and feel a chill all over.  We were convinced that someone had planted ice cubes in the lake overnight.  The water was as blue as our dungarees and was so thick you could not see your own feet.  Our bodies eventually adapted to the cold, and we would swim out to the raft.  We glided as if were were floating on top of the water.

   I only remember one misadventure (because with me you know there is always going to be one).  My brother was still pretty little and my dad offered to take me out in the canoe to go fishing.
  He paddled out to the middle of the lake, and got my fishing pole ready.  From cartoons I knew there was a hook and worm involved, but kind of freaked me out in real life.  After some time, my dad caught something.

   Unfortunately, the fish had swallowed the hook or something so my father had to try to do some surgery, in the canoe, on the open water.  As every other non-athletic kid would react, I freaked out.  I actually jumped out of the canoe and began to swim back toward the lake's edge.  And I actually took one of the oars with me!

   Needless to father is trying to frantically paddle with one oar and yelling at me to get back!  My mom, in the meantime, on the shore, watching me swimming away while my dad was yelling.  Fortunately I'm a strong swimmer but still!  What the heck was I thinking????  I made it back, and I was very dramatic -- "there was blood everywhere!  It was flopping all over the boat!!!"  My mom was probably thinking: "what????  A leg, a finger?  what???"   "THE FISH" I wailed!!

   I was brought into the cabin for some ginger ale and pretzels (usually reserved only for the stomach flu) while my poor Father struggled back.

   My mom, trying to remain cheerful asked, "so are we having fish for dinner??"

   "Hamburgers", was the only reply.

    In spite of this, I will always remember our Maine vacations as special.  Hopefully my dad would think the same thing!

    Make your own memories.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Story Behind #TodaysSunflower


     Many times I have posted a photo of a sunflower with the #TodaysSunflower hash tag.  Some of you may know the story behind these postings but for those of you who don' is the reason.

     My father HATED sunflowers.

     My son, when little, brought home a little sunflower plant from a sale at school.  There is an adorable photo of him with the baby plant and then a photo of how beautiful it looked when it grew in my garden.  It has hung on my parents' fridge for ever.  "Gosh, I hate sunflowers.  Cute photo but I hate those flowers," my father would explain.

    When we first bought our home, we were so excited to have a garden of our home.  My husband dug and planted and watered and our first garden was so beautiful to us.  And yes, we had planted some sunflowers.  "The garden looks great," said Dad, "but I'm not wild about the sunflowers".

    Again in our new home we were excited to purchase some art for the bare walls.  Nothing fancy, like prints from Michaels, but one print was of  a very large sunflower.  "The room looks great", again Dad said, "but I could do without the sunflower print".

    Finally, I needed to try to find out.  "Dad, what is your deal with sunflowers?  I don't get it."

    At the time my Dad said, "I can't explain it, they just don't sit well with me."

   "But they are just a flower, it just doesn't make sense", I insisted.

    "I honestly don't know, there is a reason I don't like them.  That's it.  No big deal", he explained.

     Time went on and things got messy.  My Dad passed away after battling an illness in the Summer of 2004.  Obviously, it was rough on all of us.  Most of that time is blurry.  But there is one very distinctive memory.

    At the cemetery I noticed that the plot behind my father's was covered in little sunflowers.  Small plants, plastic ones.  I guess his eternal neighbor really liked sunflowers.  I said a little prayer to my father:  "I'm so sorry you have to be around the one flower you hated.  But I promise that whenever I see a sunflower, I will think and you and say hello".

   For the year following my father's passing I wrote in a small journal.  Almost every day I saw a sunflower and I would write it down.  No one really knew about this.  And it wasn't like I would pass by the same deli flower display in NYC -- every sighting was different.  Someone might send me a card, there might have been a display in Macy's windows, a commercial on TV or someone's flower arrangement on their desk.

   My first tattoo was of a sunflower....I choose it to honor my Dad, but in all honesty he would have HATED that I got a tattoo.

   Could it be that he hated them so much because he somehow knew he would stuck by them forever?  Almost 14 years later, the plot still has a sampling of sunflowers.  Did he hate them so much that I would remember that at this tough time and have a touchstone to remember him by?  Who knows.

   So when you see a posting (and now many of my friends know about my sunflower story and add sunflower emojis to texts or send me photos when they see one too) you will know the significance.

   #TodaysSunflower.  Miss you too.  Love, me


Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Summer Of Jaws girlfriend and I went to see JAWS.  It forever changed my summers.  1975 in particular but it's something that I do think about off and on when I'm out swimming in the ocean.  Just yesterday, this same friend and I went to our beautiful Long Island beach to enjoy a day off.  At one point, there were several helicopters flying low and slow.  Now, in our neck of the woods that could mean a lot of things.  Rich folk flying from NYC to their Hampton hideaway, bad traffic issues or missing boaters or swimmers.

     My girlfriend said that, according to her husband, that is how they look for sharks.  I honestly didn't think much about it until I saw the news when we got home.

Shark attacks two children at Long Island beach

     OMFG....everyone was ok, but definitely bitten by a shark.  And the news just kept replaying this one tasty (bad pun) tidbit:  "And a tooth was found in the boy's leg".   Again OMFG.   We were not at the same beach, but at the same ocean for goodness sakes.  I didn't go in past my waist, but neither did one of the victims.

     Suddenly, without warning, the voices in my head dulled and a very striking piece of music started playing in my head and it brought me way back to the summer of '75. 

     Thank you Steven Spielberg for creating what will probably go down in history as one of the best films ever....but you totally f-ed up my summer.

     As I said, my girlfriend and I went to see the film right after opening in June of 75.  I believe there are still marks on my arm from her fingernails.  Now granted movie special effects have really changed the game since then.  However, for that time, this movie was so terrifying.  And if you've seen it at some point in your life, I'm never forget the girl swimming in the opening.

     My grandmother saw the film and remarked, "well you shouldn't be drinking and swimming alone at night."  I guess there was some sort of morality lesson I missed?  That sharks went after 'bad' girls?

     During this summer I was lifeguarding and teaching swimming at a school's summer program INDOOR pool.  Indoor mind you but every day I would have a handful of children saying "No, Miss Patti, I'm not going in the pool today.  There could be sharks."  Or "I am NOT going in the deep end, what is that on the bottom?"  It is just a filter I would try to explain.  These kids needed to get into the pool....honestly I found it the easiest way to learn how to SWIM! 

     The only way I could convince them is if I got in the water with them. I swear, every kid, for two months, looked like this.

     So I would have some kids sitting on the edge while I escorted some of them into the pool.  These poor babies would be shrieking and clinging onto my neck that I think I still have scars.  And I kept thinking these are like 7 year olds, who the hell is taking them to see that movie?  This is what their poor little scared minds saw.

      More lifeguarding life later....but what an awesome job.  I spent 6 days a week waterclogged but loved every minute of it, and my kids were always so precious to me. 

     By the end of the summer my kids all passed their swimming tests but I was exhausted!  My Dad also worked for the school system so we always took our family vacations in August.  That year we were heading down to the west coast of Florida.

    I always loved the ocean....body surfing, diving under the waves before they broke on your head.  And in my tiny mind, I thought that bad sharks are up only in Northeast waters.  Idiot.

     Anyway, my little brother and Mom were either at the pool or in the room and I begged my Dad to take me to the ocean.  I was a very good and strong swimmer but you just didn't go out alone.  And the lifeguards had left for the day.

     Dad, being a good sport, accompanied me down to the water.  I immediately dove into the warm water (Northeast ocean water is freezing) and started bobbing in the waves, swimming pretty far out and having a blast.

     The next part of the story comes from my Mom's recollections.  "Your father was standing at the end of the water watching you when he realized there was not one other person in the water or even near the water.  He asked a man fishing, 'hey where is everyone?'  The guy replied 'oh there was a shark sighting earlier.'  It didn't sink in immediately with your father.  He asked the guy 'oh really, where'?  The fisherman crinkled up his nose, put his hand above his eyes to block out the sun and pointed.  'See where that redhead girl is swimming?  Yeah right around there."

     Back to the story from my vantage point.  I have really bad eyesight.  And out playing in the waves, my hearing is not too good either.  I happen to look up and see my father doing some sort of crazy man dance.  My immediate thought is 'oh my God how embarassing what is doing'?  I finally realized, after what seemed like an eternity to my Dad, that he was telling me I had to come in.    He used the excuse that we needed to get ready for dinner or something.  I asked 'can I go back in tomorrow'?  "We'll see", he said, "but the pool looks really nice".

So yes, the power of the movies....and why that movie will stay with me forever. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fan Girling

     I was a little too young for Beatlemania, but I do have a memory of my parents watching the Ed Sullivan show and coverage of the concert at Shea Stadium.  I remember thinking why are all these girls so upset and screaming.

     "They are fans", my Mom explained, "they are just so happy to see their favorite band."  Crying, fainting, looking crazy?  I sure do get it now.....a short history of my Fan Girling.

   The initial blame must go to Tiger Beat Magazine.  I was obsessed with The Monkees.  With Micky Dolenz in particular.  I was entranced with reading about "what is Micky's fave type of girl"?  "What does Micky eat for breakfast?"

He was taped all over my walls and when he let his hair go naturally curly I just about lost my shit.  Immediately I started staring at my hair follicles, willing them to go curly.  One day my Mom and I were locked out of the house.  Since I was still little she said I'll open the basement window and slide you down and you can unlock us.  Oh hell no.  "I'll buy you the new Monkees album if you do."  I shot through that window like my pants were on fire.

   The next day my Mom kept her promise and I scored the newest album.

    Albums were a big deal.  It wasn't like we had a ton of money so we would save up our birthday money and go to Masters in the local strip mall.  Downstairs they had all the current top 40 singles up on a wall and you would pick that number and get your precious single.  You had to have a special thingy to convert the 45 to play on your turntable.  Obviously I was a little hyper organized even then.  I recently found my hot pink 45s carrier and my carefully labeled list.

     At a town festival recently, a local band was playing and I started walking toward the sound (kind of like walking to the light but in an audio, not death is coming way).  My husband said "you are like a moth to a flame when you hear live music".

   Ah, live music.........nothing like it.   And I have been so fortunate to have seen some great bands and to have met some musicians that have always inspired me. 

  My first concert was Sonny & Cher at the Nassau Coliseum. 

     I have no shame....I remember them as being awesome.  The hair, the clothes.  Cher was my first fan girl crush.  I was a little dismayed to learn I would never look anything like her.  I wanted crooked teeth, ultra straight black hair and legs for days. 

  During my teenage years I remember most vividly Fleetwood Mac in the mid 1970s.  Talk about a fan girl crush.  I went from Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves to Rhiannon very quickly. 

The band and music were so memorable but a couple of teenage activities are what I most remember.  First of all....they even checked bags back in the day.  My first friend went in smuggling cigarettes.  My second friend went in lugging some vodka.  Another friend had wine in a bag.  I was the last to enter and I got stopped.  I had a gallon of orange juice in my bag.

  The security guard looked at me and said you need to get rid of that.  My friends had scattered to the winds leaving me literally holding the bag.  "I have a cold" was my explanation.  Needless to say no mixer for the vodka.  We should have known better.  All I wanted to hear was "Landslide".  Unfortunately the vodka kicked in when my girlfriend and I were in the bathroom.  I remember running through the hallways in my designer jeans, high heeled clogs, full of vodka shouting "no!!!"  Like Stevie was going to hear me and let me get back to my seat.

   Fast forward....London...1979/1980.  During my first six months I had an internship with the New Musical Express (kind of like a UK Rolling Stone).  I still can't believe it but I went to some shows, met the bands...most before they hit it big in the US.  The Brits called it New Wave...I call it the most incredible time.  My fave haunt was The Marquee Club on Wardour Street.

     Some of the bands I saw were The Jam, The Specials, Squeeze and The Police.

     I loved the Jam and all of Paul Weller's incarnations.....saw him a few years ago in NYC.  But the young Paul Weller was something special and he is now considered one of the guitar Gods.  "Going Underground" was one of their big hits at that time.  I thought he was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my young life. 

        I was obsessed with The Who's Quadrophrenia and traveled alone to Brighton, England where the movie was filmed.  It was a blast visiting some of the places portrayed in the film.  No Mod riots or Sting as a Bellboy, but what a fun excursion.

     And Mr. Billy Idol.  Pre White Wedding and Rebel Yell.   Oh my we were all so young.......

     And for a hair & safety pins.  Sorry Mom.

     Again, due to life getting busy with adulting my concert going days were not as frequent.  I did see the Rolling Stones at Shea Stadium on my last day of being 29.  That place was shaking.

      I won tickets through I Heart Radio to see a band called Neon Trees about 8 years ago.  They were just starting to get popular and my friend and I were right up front getting sweated on by the lead singer and it brought back my London days.  And I'm a sucker for a black Mohawk! 

 Through work I was able to go to Las Vegas to work tradeshows.  Most times the tradeshow organizers had an opening concert and we saw some great acts.  One was Rod Stewart.  In true fan girl fashion, I wore my vintage Rod Stewart t shirt as a friend of a friend of a friend was able to get me backstage.  Rod signed my shirt and was very respectful of where he wrote.  And his hair is amazing in person!  Truly a nice man.

  Another friend of a friend had a friend called Ryan Star.  I knew of him through the reality show Rock Star Supernova where singers competed to be the new lead singer of Tommy Lee's new band.  Ryan was also a born and raised Long Island boy.  I was able to connect with him, give him so goodies from the company I worked for and a friend and I saw him at Webster Hall.

  I then got the ultimate fan girl email:  "Hey Patti, Ryan is opening for Bon Jovi in Vegas.  Want tickets and a backstage pass?"  F of course.  That whole day of the concert I was a wreck.  I went with my Vegas sister Gina (who's last name is third cousin or something).  In the middle of the dinner, I got the call.....come backstage now!   Gina, who is the best wing woman, and I threw the rest of the pasta down our throats, threw too much money at the waiter and ran off.  Now, if you know anything about the MGM Grand in Vegas, the 'grand' is no exaggeration.  But we made it and how much fun was it for Gina to show Ryan her drivers license to validate her genuine "Bon Jovi- Ness".  No Bon Jovi sighting....but it was the pinnacle of my fan girling to just be around the area where Jon Bon Jovi might be!

    Ryan then performed at a local country club for Autism research and I have to have the guest of honor come sit with you, take pictures with you and chat.....the other Long Island ladies were a little jealous.....ok  a lot jealous.

   My most recent fan girling has lasted the longest.  Ten years ago, again in Vegas for work, a couple of girlfriends and I were leaving dinner, a few bottles of wine in, and passed by a lounge at The Venetian Hotel.  For a minute we thought "oh my God, is that Bon Jovi singing?"  We stumbled to a corner table and I realized that the lead singer was wearing shoes that my company manufactured.

   Being a loud mouth New Yorker, during a break, I yelled at the singer "hey are you wearing Kenneth Cole shoes?"  "Why yes I am...and my sunglasses are Kenneth Cole and my bag is Kenneth Cole and my jacket is Kenneth Cole."

   "Get out of here I work for him, let me see if I can get you some shoes!!"

   Now according to the version told by my friend Peter, he thought "oh yeah, sure.  I've heard that before".  In my head I thought "he doesn't believe me so I'll show him."  The next night, I go back to the lounge with two shopping bags filled with shoes.  He went home and said to his wife, "that girl actually came back with shoes."  Well, I told you I would!

    We've been friends ever since and I now have the ultimate fan girl real life job.  I work on all his marketing and social media efforts and I've never had so much fun working before.  And gained an amazing friend in the process. 

    Fan girling has been good to me!