Wednesday, May 08, 2024

We Don’t Pick Our Families But Thankfully We DO Pick Our Friends!

I have been reluctant to write this until now, It happened Saturday, May 4th at my cousin Danielle’s baby shower. It is only after talking to Susan O that I can finally put this down in words. It would have been too hard, too devastating, crushing and traumatizing to my psyche.

Saturday, sitting next to an older cousin on dad’s side Phyllis who is around my dad’s age we were discussing family. Diane had brought up my Uncle and Aunt for some reason. Then she was talking about the boys and Phyllis kept saying “I didn’t know any of this. I am getting an education.” I jumped into the conversation to add validity to what Diane was saying because a lot of it sounds so crazy. I mean my aunt peed on my Godmother who was a young teen because she laughed when baby Johnny peed on Aunt Cathy as she was changing her diaper. She was a kid and it probably seemed very funny. What kind of adult acts like that? Oh I know, my Aunt. So disgusting. 

As we talked more about the deviants that are my two cousins and my uncle and his many girlfriends Phyllis says, “As I am getting older, I am remembering things. Do you want to know where the boys and your uncle learned that behavior? Probably from my Uncle Johnny. He was disgusting. A pervert.” So I said, “yes, probably. I can tell you that I spent many years in therapy over your uncle Johnny. She folded her arms, looked at me in a disgusted, you stupid idiot with downcast but looking up at me eyes and said with distaste in her mouth, “You let him get to you? You let him touch you? I told him to go fuck himself.”

I heard a record scratch and I had to stop myself from standing up to smack her across her face. I never wanted to smack someone across their face in my whole life. I stopped myself because I am at a baby shower and this woman is 80. She is dumb and God help her doesn’t know how wrong she is.

Skye was sitting next to me and I felt her stop drawing. She told me later in the car that she looked her dead in the face. 

Who lets someone touch them? Who at 6 would ever say, “fuck yourself grandpa!” What little girl feels like she has control over what is happening to her? If I could go back in time, maybe I would be able to yell, scream, shout, tell him to stop or hey why not go fuck yourself but there was not way I could have. I imagine I was frozen with fear. Thankfully I do not remember the first time. 

I really had to leave. I had to get out and we eventually left with me feeling horrible. My inner little girl felt hurt, alone, violated and devastated that this person knew what was happening at that house but let three little girls move in after losing their mother. 

When I talked about it with Skye in the car, I didn’t feel any better. I was highway driving in the rain and really just wanted to get him. The feeling was sitting with me and my 19 year old child didn’t really have the words that my soul needed to fight past the feeling I was having. I remember telling her that I was devastated that this adult did nothing. That all these years later I still deal with what happened to me. It changed me as a person, as a parent, as a woman and my anger over her saying what she said but mostly not saying anything as an adult just was eating away at me because when Anthony’s daughter was born, I called April, his wife and said, “ I know you don’t know me but I am Anthony’s cousin and I want you to know what happened to me as a little girl with those people you just married into.   As a responsible person who was devastated by the things that were done to me, I felt an obligation to make sure that Anthony’s daughter didn’t grow up the same way. I told April not not let her around that family without being there. 

My conversation with Phyllis sat with it day and night, eating away at my insides. Making me feel horrible, dirty and stupid. I told Diane that night and she said, “She’s old. She doesn’t always say the right things.” I said it to Gabrielle because if anyone else could relate, it would be her. She said, “I’m sorry, but you have to let that conversation go and this is why I don’t talk to family.” Joe would never say the things I needed to hear and he could make it worse with, “that was a long time ago.” Clarissa said, “that is horrible but maybe at least you have closure.” Not sure what could have given me closure in this case but that was the last thing I had. 

I tried to call Teresa but she was unavailable. I text Susan on my way home and she called back in 5 minutes. We small talked for a moment and when I got home I stepped out of the car and walked around not wanting to go inside. We haven’t talked in a while and I wanted to touch base. When she asked me how I was, I let it all out. She listened, she was angry for me. She couldn’t believe someone could be so harsh and insensitive. She told me I have every right to be angry and upset and “how dare she pick at your scabs. How dare she victim shame you. If I were there I would have held her down for you to smack and then helped you. She is a horrible person to have said those things to you. You were a child! There was more but these are the words that healed my inter child. I needed someone to say, you were not the cause of the horrible things that happened. She said, “I know, you know that none of that was your fault and there was nothing you could have done to change it. I know you know that her words aren’t right to have been said to you but I am going to tell you that she is a horrible, disgusting person and no one should ever say those things. 

I thanked her telling her that she said all the things I needed to hear and that I felt so much lighter. 

We discussed what was happening with her and I hoped that I said all the things she needed to hear. She said I did but I always worry that I am not sensitive enough. We thanked each other through text later and said I love you. I hope she truly knows how much I love her. When I look for someone rational to talk to, she has always been at the top of my list. 

Time to go to work.






Monday, May 06, 2024

Culinary Maestro Turned Inmate Turned Author Reveals 5 Secrets for Making Perfect Pasta and Meatballs





PUEBLO, Colo. — From owning acclaimed eateries to forging unexpected alliances in a federal detention center, Frankie “Spice” Morelli has made his mark as a culinary maestro who respects the power of authentic Italian food. Now, in his publishing debut, Morelli creates and compiles delicious recipes, healthful nutrition and decades of experience into MOBB Cookbook & Diet: Savor and Slim the Italian Way (May 7, 2024; MOBB Publishing; ISBN: 9798989079612; Hardcover). It’s a pizza box-sized, full-color coffee table cookbook blending 70-plus recipes, along with nearly 200 original full-color photos and tantalizing mob lore with a vital ingredient: a priority on health. Teaming up with Dr. Sandra “Diet Duchess” Frank, Ed.D., RDN, FAND, who nutritionally vetted the recipes in the book, Morelli guarantees that every dish in this book can be enjoyed as part of a well-balanced, nourishing diet. 


Whether cooking on-camera, providing b-roll footage for the perfect virtual demo, or just chatting with the host, producer or editor, Frankie can share his five secrets for making the BEST spaghetti and meatballs … this side of The Clink:


  1. Undercook your pasta because even when you take it out of boiling water it is still cooking!
  2. To prepare the sauce, sauté fresh garlic in oil, deglaze with white wine … and mix in salt and black pepper. 
  3. To make the sauce, use only San Marzano tomatoes—they are imported from Italy and are naturally sweet without an acidic taste. With a stick or a home blender, puree the tomatoes and combine with the sautéed garlic mixture. Do not add sugar! Simmer it all on “low” for 4 hours.
  4. Make the meatballs as big as a softball … the smaller you make the balls, the harder they become when you cook ‘em. Use 80/20 ground beef/ground pork, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, cream, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Says Frankie, “The better the meatball, the more protection I had in The Joint!” Put the balls into the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees … take ‘em out, flip them and cook for the same amount of time … and that’s it.
  5. Simplicity is the essence of Italian cooking!


MOBB Cookbook & Diet includes an array of recipes, like Don Pasquale’s Shrimp Scampi, Lucky Luciano’s Luscious Lady Fingers and even Lou “The Hebrew Hammer’s” favorite Matzo Ball Soup. It’s filled with “fun” facts about notorious and alleged mobsters, including “Tommy Guns,” Jimmy “The Beast,” Jeremy “The Jett” and other members of the author’s diverse circle of acquaintances from the Sicilian mob, Italian Cosa Nostra and the wide multicultural world of gangsters.   


About the Author

Frankie "Spice" Morelli is a resilient culinary maestro and entrepreneur with an innate understanding of delicious and nourishing, authentic yet innovative Italian food. He owned and operated the award-winning Morelli’s Ristorante Italiano in Florence, Colorado, and founded Nona Morelli Pasta, an international pasta and sauce company that supplied prominent retail chains, engaged in private-label partnerships with respected brands like Kraft Foods’ Budget Gourmet, and pioneered the introduction of microwave pasta. After divesting the restaurant in 1990 and selling the company in 1992, he applied his business savvy to taking companies public through reverse mergers. For more information, please visit

Spring Cleaning? Consider Your Carpet and HVAC Ducts, Too

 If you're getting in the spring cleaning mindset, don't forget that there's more to it than dusting and mopping. You also want to deep clean areas that you might not think about as much. That can include shampooing the carpet, and also cleaning the HVAC ducts. Over time, a lot of dirt and other particles can get trapped in these two areas of your home, even if you vacuum the carpet and change the HVAC filters frequently. Here's what to consider.

Shampooing Your Carpet for Health and Cleanliness

When you frequently vacuum the carpet in your home, it can still get dirty over time. The particles that the vacuum cleaner doesn't get, dampness from spilled water or other drinks, and having pets in your home all add up to a carpet that might not smell or look as fresh as it used to. The good news is that spring is a great time to have your carpets professionally cleaned, so they look and feel better, and so they aren't putting you at risk of allergy issues and other health concerns.

HVAC Ducts Can Cause Allergy Issues

If you have allergies or asthma, or you're concerned about indoor air quality, it can also be a great time to clean your HVAC ducts. Having a company come and clean these thoroughly will help you get the most from your HVAC unit. By changing the filter often you'll reduce problems with the unit, but there will still be dust and debris that can build up in the ducts. Adding this to your spring cleaning list will help your house stay cleaner and safer for the long term.

Choosing the Right Company is Very Important

By working with a company like Valley Restoration & Construction you can get quality HVAC duct and carpet cleaning, along with other restoration and remediation services. It's important to contract with a company you can feel good about and rely on, and one that will help you get the services you need quickly and efficiently. That makes it easier for you to enjoy your home to the fullest, and spend time with friends and families in a space that feels clean and safe.

Spring Cleaning Should Involve the Entire House

When you focus on spring cleaning, it should involve your whole house, so don't neglect things like the HVAC unit or the carpets. When you work with professionals for thorough cleaning, you can have confidence in the air quality of your home, and the cleanliness of its surfaces. Then, you can get ready for all the fun of summer weather without worrying about what your home might need.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Hurting At The Supermarket

Every week it literally pains me to go grocery shopping for my family of 4. We aren’t huge wasters or splurge shoppers so we just buy what we need. These days it is a lot less meat that it used to be.

Weekly our bill  has gone from $185 to $325.00 a week. I am certain you are all feeling the exact same and if you are not please let me know how you are doing it. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food prices have surged at their fastest rate since the 1970s. Grocery prices are up nearly 25% overall, though certain items have seen more significant upticks. This upward trend in food costs is particularly concerning for families on tight budgets, as food expenses represent a non-negotiable necessity.

Researchers calculated the percentage change in CPI between March 2020 and March 2024 across the most common grocery (food at home) items, then ranked items accordingly. The full report also includes a complete breakdown of grocery spending for all 50 states.

These are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Groceries account for the largest share of individual spending in a number of states where income is relatively low, such as Mississippi (9.8%) and Kansas(9.5%), or where grocery prices are especially high, like Hawaii (9.7%).
  • In 37 states, consumers report weekly household grocery expenditures exceeding $250 on average.
  • Since March 2020, the cost of eggs has increased by 50%.
  • Other items with large price increases over the same time period include carbonated beverages (up 32.1%) and canned fruits and vegetables (up +31.6%).
  • More recently, beef products have witnessed considerable price hikes, claiming the top three spots in year-over-year increases. Since last March, the cost of beef roasts has risen by 11.2%, steaks by 7.2%, and ground beef by 6.2%.

Price Changes for Common Grocery Items

Source: Trace One analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Here is a link to the complete results of the analysis, with data on nearly 40 of the most popular grocery store items, as well as grocery spending for all 50 states. And here is a snapshot of the data table included in the full report, looking at the 15 grocery items that have seen the largest increase in price since March 2020.

ItemRankChange in price since March 2020Two-year change in priceOne-year change in price
Beef roasts2+40.0%+6.5%+11.2%
Sugar & substitutes4+34.9%+19.1%+5.6%
Beef steaks5+32.6%+6.6%+7.2%
Carbonated drinks6+32.1%+16.4%+4.2%
Fruits & vegetables (canned)7+31.6%+13.1%+2.7%
Salad dressing8+31.5%+16.0%-0.4%
Biscuits, rolls, & muffins9+31.4%+13.3%+2.6%
Butter & margarine10+29.4%+14.8%-2.1%
Cakes, cupcakes, & cookies13+27.6%+15.8%+0.2%
Fruits & vegetables (frozen)14+27.4%+14.0%-0.9%

Feel free to republish or use the findings in your own write-up. If you choose to use the analysis, please link to the original report: