Reminder! The blog has moved.

Just a reminder that the blog has moved to If you want to keep seeing posts from me, you can either click the subscribe button on any of the posts there or you can use the RSS feed.

If you haven’t been popping by the new blog, you’ve missed my request for my funeral, an angel’s pronouncement on the importance of fish, and you won’t know how to get my newest publication for free. So come on by!


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We’re moving!!! Come with me!

I’m moving my blog over to my actual website, that way I can do whatever I want with my own pages.

Come visit me here:

I’ve already got one post up there (and I’ve moved all the rest of them over, along with your comments) and I’d love to hear from you. The first post is “Tiny Cold Feet,” and I’m sure your life won’t be complete unless you read it. Or not. But you’ll never know if you don’t go check it out, will you?

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New story — and it’s free!

Yay! It’s a new short ebook about Father Jay, from about a year before The Boys Upstairs. It’s free, and it’s free forever.



You can find the ebook at Smashwords  and Omnilit  or direct from the publisher. (I’d say do it that way, just to have fun — the website will try to charge you one cent, and then you use the coupon code FATHERJAY and voila, the one cent disappears. I love computers. Really, I do.)

If you aren’t sure why you’d want to buy The Boys Upstairs while it’s still priced at a dollar, this short story is an introduction to Father Jay and his world at Saint Gus. Enjoy!

Posted in The Boys Upstairs, writing | 3 Comments

Funerals and laughter

I attended Uncle Mayhem‘s funeral about three weeks ago. At my aunt’s house before we went to the church, I’d been there about ten minutes before I noticed Kiddo1 looking shocked. I pulled him aside and said, “This is how Italian funerals work. We laugh.”

There’s the initial greeting, of course, the condolences and the comfort. And then within five minutes, you have the first outrageous story involving the deceased, and after that you’re pretty much off to the races. That’s how it is in my family, and because that’s all I ever knew, I’d assumed that’s just how funerals go.

Kiddo1, who assumed for some reason that a funeral would be filled with sad, crying people, had no idea what to make of the dissonance. But in my family, that’s how we mourn. We share. We laugh together. If we can laugh at something, we can make it through.

My father tells me Irish funerals are the same. My Patient Husband, on the other hand, says no, in his family that kind of thing never happens.

“Your relatives are more colorful,” he says. “There aren’t family tall tales like that.”

I said, “Come on,” and told a story about Uncle Mayhem and my grandfather that involved unpasteurized milk and a real-life dose of farm animals. “No,” my Patient Husband said. “My mother would be mortified if someone told a story like that about her at her wake, something crazy and a little embarrassing.”

Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about that story as even remotely embarrassing. Uncle Mayhem was on the receiving end of the laughter, but if he’d been there, he’d have taken over telling the story from my aunt and probably hammed it up even more. Embarrassed? No, he’d have laughed loudly and probably slapped the table and then followed it up with an even funnier story.

Well, that’s what I want. If I show up in ghostly form at my own wake, I want to hear laughter. I want to hear funny stories spanning back decades, key moments that exemplify what we all loved about each other, maybe a little exaggeration here and there, but overall a sense that we all truly lived our lives as who we are.

No punches pulled, no pretending I lived a life of dignity and reservation. Life is story. So talk about the time I went all New-Yorker on that employee who mistreated my kid or how I turned in the gas station manager engaged in insurance fraud. Laugh about the time I bit into kim chee without knowing what it was and saw actual sparks. 

If I were there, I’d be laughing right along with you. I’d probably tell you some detail you forgot, and that would lead to another story still. 


Posted in family, sarcasm | 7 Comments

The Boys Upstairs only $.99

Oops — in the flurry around the rosary, I totally forgot to post this here. My publisher marked down the Boys Upstairs ebook to only $.99 through December 2nd!

Even if you already own it, you can still gift an ebook to someone else — my understanding is that Amazon will let you buy it at the discounted price now and set the delivery date on the book for Christmas if that’s what you want. It’s an easy Christmas gift, and really, I’ll love you for it. 🙂

A jaded cop struggles to save three homeless children a few nights before Christmas, with temperatures below zero and dropping. But the only one he can ask for help is his estranged brother, a crippled priest.

Direct from publisher:

The print book is currently $6.29 (through the magic of Amazon’s pricing algorithm, which I will never understand) and the audiobook will soon be live too. Enjoy!

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That rosary?

It’s home. It’s been identified, and it’s with its proper owner. As it turns out, that rosary took a path it never should have taken to that donation table, but now it’s home and it’s being properly appreciated by the one who should have kept it all along.

Apparently it came from a pilgrimage. I don’t know anything more about it.

But it’s home again in time for Thanksgiving. Isn’t that a warm fuzzy?

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An update on that fabulous rosary

If it was a surprise to me that my $7-free-with-donation rosary was worth hundreds of dollars, then it was even a bigger surprise when the parish priest wrote back to me.

“He’ll tell you to keep it,” my Patient Husband had said, I think more than a little surprised I was worried about the donor of the heirloom rosary. But when the parish priest wrote back, he surprised me by saying yes, please return it so he could track down the donor and let them know what I’d discovered.

So, no more dilemma about what to do with it.

I brought it right over. (And it was kind of funny because the priest said “if you don’t mind,” whereas if I’d minded, I would have been well within my rights to just keep my discovery to myself.)

The other surprise to me was how reluctant I was to let it go, hence the urgency to get it back right away.

I read over everyone’s comments on yesterday’s post, and a number of you said God wanted me to have it and I should keep it and at least I’d put it to good use. But I don’t think that’s why I found it. I think I found it because God knew I’d recognize it for what it was, and that way it could make its way back to the person who shouldn’t have let it go in the first place.

I have a rosary from my grandmother. My Patient Husband has one from his grandfather. Yes, they’re both plastic, and yes mine is falling apart, but they’re meaningful because in a way they’re not just chains of beads but also chains of people, chains of family. Prayers don’t count more when they’re on an expensive counting device; heaven knows I’ve prayed often enough on my ten fingers, and God gave me those for free. But we attach importance to the love we felt at the hands of others. Remember all those knitting tools my friend gave me last year, how I revisited my grandmother’s crochet hooks? How they’re like touching the past?

It needed to go home. It needed to be loved and treasured and with someone who had a connection to its past. I’d have loved it, but not like that.

Now, if Father G. comes back to me with a statement that the donor doesn’t want it or that the donor wants me to have it, of course I’d take it back and love it and use it. But for now, I like to think it’s going home.

Posted in family, pensive, religion | 3 Comments