Friday, June 29, 2012

The Next Wheaties Coverboy

Sure, Chicago lost its bid for the Olympics a while ago.

But do you think that would put a stop to Joey's intense training schedule?

If you believe that, then you don't know Joey:

Joey is available for any and all endorsement deals.  See his agent Marianne Kardashian who requires all fees be paid in jars of Nutella (the extra-large ones from Costco only).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Those Excedrin Migraine People Are Trying to Kill Me

The Migraine Fairy visits my head about 15 times a year.  The Really Bad Headache Gnome appears about 40-50 times a year.  Because of this, I typically put Excedrin Migraine botttles in just about every room in my house. 

I am kind of like a closet alcoholic that way. But instead of stashing Vodka bottles in boots, I sprinkle my happy little gel capsules around like fairy dust. I need them handy for whenever that unforgiving vice grips my temples and magnifies its intensity through that most dastardly of all sounds: Caillou

Imagine my surprise when the well finally ran dry and I went to CVS to get more. Apparently, my favorite drug has been recalled since January (see Wall Street Journal story).  Thanks for the memo, Excedrin people.  I've been downing the stuff like candy for months without the slightest hint of anything being askew. I could have been sucking down arsenic for all I knew.

Which leads me to today. I was in dire need of migraine relief when I ran to the store to grab something, anything, to numb the pain. I settled on this:

That's right. I bought the generic. If that wasn't bad enough, the stuff had about the same impact on my head as a couple of baby aspirin.

So I'm turning to my second favorite cure: Mike's Hard Lemonade. And if I do end up hiding Vodka bottles in boots one day, please tell those Excedrin people it was all their fault.

Well, maybe not all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


It's not every day my Nana gets to hang out with three generations of her progeny:

From left: My grandmother, her daughter (my Aunt Marianne), Aunt Marianne's granddaughter Della, and my cousin Annie

I look at this picture with great pride and a twinge of envy.  I did not have my first child until I was 30.  My sons are Irish.  There is an infinitely high possibility that they will be living at home until they are 50. 

I'll be lucky if one of them buys a dog before I perish.

So I will continue to look at this photo and try to think positive thoughts. 

And pray that I look as good at 92.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Terminator

What kind of mettle does it take to axe one's long-term piano teacher?

For the answer to this and many other exciting questions, visit today's Chicago Parent.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Regular Contributor

I am a regular contributor to the Girl Scouts of America (via my affinity for Thin Mints).

I am also a regular contributor to noise pollution.  It usually comes in the form of:

If I hear one more complaint or word of bickering, I am sending you all to live in an ORPHANAGE!!!

I am a regular contributor to the bus stop discussions on local politics, the Chicago Public School system, and where to get the best local burgers (Top Notch).

But I have never been a regular contributor to a magazine. 

Until now:

I firmly believe that this latest article, coupled with the one from February (click here), makes me a "regular."

That's what I'll be telling the bus stop moms anyway.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Joe Makes a Point

Once I finish unpacking, I will be sure to provide a full recap of Joe and Marianne's latest attempt to flee the children (courtesy of those American Airline vouchers discussed in this blog and our disastrous previous vacation discussed here). 

Yet before I forget, I wanted to share a conversation that occured as we took our seats on the plane several hours ago:

Flight Attendant:  You two are sitting in an EXIT ROW.  Please review the card carefully so you know what to do in case of an emergency.  WE WILL ALL BE COUNTING ON YOU.  Our lives are in your hands.

Marianne (frantically reviewing the laminated card):  If we crash, promise me you'll help me open the door, right, Joe?

Joe (still not looking up from his Fantasy Football magazine): Yes.  Whatever.  I'll get the door.

Marianne (not feeling assured): They really should let the exit row people practice opening the door before the flight.  It only makes sense.  The flight attendant said that they'll all be counting on us.  That's a lot of pressure.  Especially without the proper training.   

Joe:  (still not looking up, sarcastically):  Sure...that makes GADS of sense. Have a bunch of Joe Blow idiots opening and shutting the emergency exit doors before take-off. I'd feel real good about the safety of the cabin pressure then. Some moron shouts 'Let's go!' and half the passengers are sucked out while the guy is blubbering...'But I thought I heard it click!" 


Joe:  Did you bring gum?

Irrelevant-to-the-story Elvis picture. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Dad

He thought maybe he'd be a priest.  He was a pretty religious fellow and it seemed like a good idea at the time:

But then he got his Irish up, and apparently brawling is frowned upon by the monsignors of the seminary.  He of course has his own side of the story, but I'll share that another day.

Next up was the army.  He wanted to become an electrician, (citing his proficiency in "changing lightbulbs") and the army offered training in the field.  Unfortunately, he never received that training, but the man can scrub a latrine like no other. 

His tour with the Chicago Police Department lasted longer.  After barely surviving the Chicago riots of the 1960s, he began attending night classes at DePaul University. He secured both a Bachelors and Masters degree and went on to work many years in another "public sector" job.  As a kid, I was never sure what exactly he did.  He told us he was a garbage man.  A garbage man with a gun and super-secret credentials. 

I think my dad knows who really killed Kennedy.

Apparently, the CPD used to hire 12 year olds.
He retired about 15 years ago.  Sort of.  He has spent most of the time since teaching classes in finance and criminology.  He has taken other side gigs and consulting assignments as well.  When he was about 65 years old, he decided he should finally take the CPA.  It took him a few tries, but he passed.  Because he's stubborn and maybe just a little crazy.

My husband throws around the word "eccentric" a lot when describing him.

My dad is glad he didn't become a priest, because he really liked having kids:

And I think he enjoys the grandkids, too:

So Happy Father's Day to my eccentric father who taught me everything I know about marching to the beat of my own drum. 

I love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One Man and His Potato Chip

Click here for my latest in Chicago Parent on how a bag of potato chips shed light on my husband's way of thinking. 


Monday, June 11, 2012

Seriously. They Asked Me to Review ALCOHOL.

You guys have no idea how excited I am! First, I was asked to do a review for a brand spanking new product: Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on For bloggers (and particularly for bloggers who consume alcoholic beverages on a semi-regular basis after carpool), this felt like quite the coup.

Plus, I just knew I’d feel super fancy drinking cider.

And then my power! My POWER! I would be one of the first people to provide insight on a new beverage (sponsor site). Rarely do I consider myself on the cutting edge of trends. Instead, I usually find out about the “cool” things on the downslide, like when Saturday Night Live starts making fun of them.
My second big thrill came when I busted open the cider. It was totally tasty. Not too sweet. And gluten-free so my Celiac Disease friend Dr. Stephanie and I will be cracking a few when I visit her in Milwaukee for Irish Fest this year (I hope she forgives me for calling her my "Celiac Disease Friend"). Even my husband, a man who would normally consider ciders “beneath” him took a sip and remarked that it wasn’t half bad. For Joe, that was as hearty an endorsement as the guy has ever given anything. It’s practically the Academy Awards of compliments for Joe.

The cider has a very mellow taste, kind of like a muted fresh apple. No bite. Silky smooth. And with only 120 calories, I didn’t feel too guilty having a couple before bed. This might be the start of a regular habit. Or perhaps just a continuation of my current lifestyle. Without naming names, most of my loyal followers know what my usual drink is, but I will definitely say that Michelob Ultra Light Cider might be taking its place this summer.

So there you have it. My first official review. And it was for alcohol. It’s like I’m being rewarded for all those times I didn’t swear at the playground.

Thanks, Michelob! Great product!

Oh, and the Review Gods also asked me to come up with a favorite summer meal or activity that I think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider. I’m thinking breathing. Walking maybe. Or perhaps making breakfast.

But if you guys have better ideas, please leave a comment!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Of Plaques & Platitudes

They give out medals to everyone who competes in my kids' chess tournaments.  Trophies are handed out to every kid on the baseball team.  Even 5 year olds are awarded a certificate of accomplishment as they graduate preschool.

Of course, these practices generate a feeling of entitlement and deservedness in today's society.  Everybody wants acknowledgement for merely showing up.

And I am no exception.

This week, I will complete my first year of juggling three different CPS schools.  Three different sets of rules. Three different transport plans.  Three different roads to crazy.

So, I ask.  Where's my medal?  My certificate?  My trophy?


Yeah, that's what I thought.

It's a good thing I grew up in an era where only the preeminent athletes received trophies.  Where only the kids who got perfect scores on their ACTs were mentioned at graduation. Where only the best and brightest were acknowledged with plaques instead of empty platitudes.

No, I don't really expect a parade for managing this past school year. 

But I do reserve the right to bitch just a little.

And if my husband is reading, a box of chocolates would be nice.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Why Bank Robbers Suck

The first robbery halted traffic all along 111th this past weekend.  The boys and I were on our way home from music lessons and were re-routed through Oak Lawn.  The robber was eventually found stuck in an air duct inside the adjoining building.  Moron.

The next robbery occurred at my regular bank on Western Avenue where I've given up waiting the 20 minutes it normally takes to go through the drive-thru.  I typically drag the kids inside to handle transactions and I even called the corporate office a few weeks ago to complain how long it takes to get anything done at the bank.  Part of me wonders if this robber was really just a fed-up patron disgusted with the ridiculously slow pace of the employees.  I can almost imagine an annoyed senior citizen walking in with a Nerf Water Gun and insisting "I want $60. NOW.  From my account."

There was yet another robbery on 88th & Ridgeland inside the bank at Jewel.  The guy took off on foot.  I hope he tripped.  Idiot. 

So that's been the big news here on the southside of Chicago this past week.  Rotten apples running around stealing money and mucking up traffic.

I'm starting to think that putting money under the mattress is really the better way to go.

But the kids would complain. 

My mattress doesn't hand out suckers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On the Father's Side

Jenny McCarthy and I typically don't agree on much, but I think she got something right about the good ol' fashioned southside guy last week.

For more, CLICK HERE for my essay in today's Chicago Parent.

Monday, June 4, 2012

For Jeanine

It's not too often that I get a request for a blog topic from a reader. Actually, it's not too often that I get someone who will publicly acknowledge being a regular follower. So with deep appreciation and regards for my sole superfan Jeanine, I will happily comply with her request for "More Joey" today.

We were at the mall several months ago and Joey was wearing a cheap little bracelet with a gold price sticker on it.  He spent most of the trip admiring the bracelet and commenting that it was his "most favorite thing ever."  Suddenly and without warning, Joey threw himself down in the middle of the mall and proceeded to have the mother of all 4-year-old tantrums.

Not being a particularly patient or empathetic person, my response was pretty standard:


"I lost my sticker!  My STICKER!  From my most beautiful bracelet and favorite thing ever."  (Joey really does talk like this, I have witnesses).

"Oh for the love of God, Joey, it was just the price sticker."

Unfortunately, my mom was in attendance, and if there was ever a person who will go out of her way to help soothe a broken hearted four-year-old, it's my mom.  She spent 20 minutes scouring the mall for a sticker that was freckle-sized.  And she found it.  Because that's how Peg rolls.

Joey looked up at her, tears of joy shining in his eyes, and thanked his Nana.  He then walked over to the nearest garbage can and dropped the sticker in.  My mother looked at him, astonished.

"That sticker was garbage Nana.  We hafta throw away stickers so we don't litter."

Story #106 that explains and supports our nickname for Joey.

Captain OCD.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Healy Photography