Wrinkle Sideways, Strawberry!


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Hello again!

Well, folks, today’s topic: children’s books.

children's books

I LOVE literature for young readers. It’s a passion of mine.

I love yellow roads …


I love teddy bears …


I love vampires …


I also love being able to transform some of the best loved children’s books into live theatrical productions.

Elphaba Me

One day I will happily share a full list of all my favorite children’s books with you, but today I am going to focus on three that have been adapted for the stage and which I’ve been lucky enough to produce and direct in recent years.

I hope this article gets both children and adults excited about reading and going to the theatre.

So let’s get started!


To date, I’ve had the opportunity to produce and direct many shows targeted at young audiences. My favorites so far:

Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Freckleface Strawberry The Musical

A Wrinkle in Time.

The original books these three shows are based on are, by far, some of the best children’s stories ever written. I highly recommend you run out and pick them up today.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Sideways Book Cover

Based on the award-winning children’s books by Louis Sachar, Sideways Stories From Wayside School is set at a school that was accidentally built tall instead of wide, which leads to all sorts of outrageous adventures. Wayside School is a place where pigtails talk, kids get turned into apples and a cow roams the halls.

It’s awesome!

sideways tabloid poster

Here are a couple of photos from my production of Sideways Stories From Wayside School starring Andrew Kasper as Mrs. Gorf, Mr. Pickle, Miss Valooosh and Mr. Gorf; Floyd Carmant as Myron; Sarah Jacobs as Bebe and Leslie’s Pigtails; Jim Gross as Louis and Miss Mush; Luraine Armandt as Leslie; Amandalyn McLellan as Rondi and Leslie’s Pigtails; Richard Wingert as Dameon; David the Edge as the voice of Mr. Kidswatter; Margaret O’Brien as Mrs. Jewls; Meghan Kasper as Sammy and Mrs. Kidswatter; and, me, Toni Ruscio as the voice of Miss Zarves.

Photo by Megan Braemore

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Megan Braemore This image shows actor Jim dipping Ms. Valooosh... that hair! It was a bad look so I blurred out Jim's face to protect his identity.

Photo by Megan Braemore
This image shows Jim Gross dipping Ms. Valooosh … look at that hair! It was a bad look so I blurred out Jim’s face in this and all other Sideways photos to protect his identity.

Photo by Megan Braemore

Photo by Megan Braemore

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Freckleface Strawberry The Musical

Freckleface Strawberry Book

Based on an acclaimed children’s book series by Julianne Moore, Freckleface Strawberry tells the story of a young girl who will do anything to get rid of her freckles – from scrubbing them with soap, to caking on makeup, and even wearing a ski mask to school! With the help of her loveable schoolmates including an amazingly talented ballerina, a cute jock, a charming ditz, and a totally kooky teacher, Freckleface learns that everyone is different – and that’s what makes everyone special.

It’s inspiring!

Freckleface Strawberry tks poster

Here are a few of my favorite photos from my production of Freckleface Strawberry The Musical starring Deirdre Burke as Strawberry; Bryan George Rowell as Danny/Frankie Freckle/Tap Dancer; Carlos Ramos as Harry/Don Fontaine Freckle/Clown; Nathan Fosbinder as Jake/Fredo Freckle/Spy; Luraine Armandt as Ballet Girl/Francine Freckle; Liz Erardi as Jane/Mother/Lady Gaga; Jocelin Weiss as Emily/Guitar Player/Baby Sister; Tara Mansour as Teacher.

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyenc

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time Book

Based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of 13-year-old Meg Murry and her brilliant little brother, Charles Wallace, as they travel through time and space with their friend Calivin O’Keefe to rescue their father. This classic sci-fi story of good vs. evil will absolutely capture your imagination!

It’s far out … waaaayyyy out!


Here are a few photos from my production of A Wrinkle in Time starring Meghan Kasper as Meg Murry; Aaron Kasper as Charles Wallace; Jaden Hallisey as Calvin O’Keefe; Haley McKenney as Mrs Who, Mother, Aunt Beast, Camazotz Woman and IT; Andrew Kasper as Mrs Whatsit, Man with Red Eyes and IT; Jake Plummer as Mrs Which, Father and Camazotz Man.

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen

Photo by Andrew Nguyen


As I attached the above photos I remembered what fun I had with each of those casts.  They are all such special people!

Photos of the Special People

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

Photo by Toni Ruscio

I would love to find a show where I can bring all these talented actors together, but what would I do?




 Maybe I should just combine all threes shows and call it:

Wrinkle Sideways, Strawberry!




I’m sure each of the authors won’t mind me fiddling around with their respective pieces of art a little bit.




(I’M JUST KIDDING, AUTHORS! I know you would mind.)

This is allegedly what angry authors look like...

This is allegedly what angry authors look like…




Angry authors aside, imagine for a moment what such a show would look like?







This is Lulu Cruz - she is thinking about it...

This is Lulu Cruz – she is imagining …




Seriously – the rest of you need to use your imagination! Think!










Here is a scene I imagine:

wrinkle sideways freckleface


I think I can safely say that at least 98% of the people that populate the Universe are always searching for things to do. We search and search and search.

This is PK ... searching...

This is PK … this time he is searching for something to do …

Maybe you can help me help others find something to do!

In keeping with the theme of the article, why don’t we restrict our help to live performance suggestions, including performances in theatre, dance or music. Have you ever seen or been a part of a family-friendly show that you love?

(I only want family-friendly as this is a G-rated blog!)

If so, please comment on this post and let the rest of us know so we can fill up those theatre seats.

View from the stage at Riverside

View from the stage at Riverside


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.




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Here comes the turnip truck! 

Dear Followers,

I’m so sorry I’ve been away for so, so long. The turnip truck was in the shop for repairs and I was overwhelmed with work. Bla Bla Bla … So many excuses.

Many of my friends have missed their occasional meal of turnips, which has inspired me to take the old truck out for a few spins around the web again.

Photo of a sad and lonely friend - and avid Turnip Truck reader - missing his turnips … it’s OK, PK, I’m right here…

Photo of a sad and lonely friend – and avid Turnip Truck reader – Looking desperately for the turnip truck … it’s OK, PK, I’m right here …

Yes, I have returned and you can once again expect an oh-so-sporadic, and hopefully entertaining, blog article from me every now and then. However, I beg you to go easy on me, as my blog writing skills are very rusty and it may take me a little time to bounce back. I’m just getting my feet wet again!


Let’s begin!

Today I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite pastimes: BEING ALONE. Although I love people (in the real way and not the Donald Trump way, but that is a blog spot for a different day…), I also like a little Toni-Time.

'Nuf Said ...

‘Nuf Said …

Almost everyone who knows me knows I love being alone. Well, at least I thought so until this past winter when I discovered that Jim, my husband of thirteen years, did not know! What the heck, Jim! (For more on Jim’s marriage mishaps, please see the Gnomeo and His Ever-Loving Wife article.)

All is good now because my nephew Jack (remember him?) brought his Uncle Jimmy up to speed.

Jack - The Early Years

Jack – The Early Years

Jack - Current Day

Jack – Current Day

Here is how is all went down:

It was a cold and snowy winter’s day on February 8, 2016 and Jim had gone to my mom’s to help her shovel after he was done helping me clear out our own driveway. You all remember my mom: RiRi Poppins.

RiRi Poppins out for a leisurely stroll at Webb Park in Weymouth, Ma ... Doesn't she look happy?

RiRi Poppins out for a leisurely stroll at Webb Park in Weymouth, Ma … Doesn’t she look happy?

It was so cold that day that if you were unfortunate enough to be outside shoveling the heaps of snow the plows deposited in front of your just cleared-out driveway, then you found that in a matter of minutes icicles would form and drop from the tip of your little nose … or your big nose … depending on that with which you were blessed. Alas, the deep freeze didn’t stop Jack and Uncle Jimmy from building a snowman!

winter 2016

I’ve blurred out Jim’s face again because I didn’t want him to be recognized and then embarrassed for not knowing about Toni-Time after thirteen years of marriage.

At least last winter in Massachusetts wasn’t as bad as the winter before! We literally couldn’t even find our little house for months behind the mounds and mounds of snow!

A View of Our House From the Street: Winter 2014-2015

From the street looking at the house

A View of the Street From Our Front Window: Winter 2014-2015

From the front window looking at the street

But I digress…

The following conversation took place after the shoveling and snowman-building was done:

Jack: Why do you still have your coat on, Uncle Jim? Take it off and stay awhile.

Jim: I can’t stay, Jack. I need to get home.

Jack: Why do you have to go home?

Jim: Because I have work to do.

Jack: Oh.

Jim: And Ant T (that is what my nieces and nephew call me) is home and she is all alone.

Jack: But Ant T likes to be alone.

Jim: She does?

Jack: Duh! Yes!

Later in the day while Jack and RiRi Poppins were sitting at the kitchen table… 

RiRi Poppins: Jack, how do you know Ant T likes to be alone?

Jack: Because I was at her house one time and she told me so. Ant T and I talk, Nona. I know these things about her.

Not untrue Friends. Not untrue.

Me Alone

Me alone and documenting Toni-Time with my selfie stick

Why, I even got to enjoy a little Toni-Time recently when Jim had to have his hip replaced and spent some time in the hospital (he had the hip of a 75-year-old man and he is only 46 years old. Yikes!). People were shocked that I wasn’t at the hospital with Jim 24-7, but, I mean, come on people! He was fine! … He was better than fine. He had great nurses and his smile post-surgery was bigger than the one he was sporting pre-surgery! Jim loved his sort-of-alone-time too! (He had a private room so he was alone when there weren’t visitors, nurses and therapists passing through.) And, it’s not like I didn’t go up a least twice a day for a couple short visits … I did. And he slept most of the time I was there anyway, so please, folks, cut me some slack.

Here is proof that he, with his Ultra Bright smile, was just fine without me there to hang over him:

Jim Pre-Surgery Looking Fine

Jim Pre-Surgery Looking Fine


Jim Post-Surgery in Recovery Room

Jim Post-Surgery in Recovery Room Still Looking Fine


Jim in His Private Room - 10 Hours after Surgery

Jim in His Private Room – 10 Hours after Surgery Looking Better Than Fine

I had to blur out half Jim’s face because I didn’t want him to be embarrassed as he is wearing hospital garb in these photos – you can still see his big old smile though!

I’m not ashamed of taking my most cherished alone-time whenever I can get it and I encourage all of you to do the same! Maybe you have a garden in your yard where you like to sit and relax like I do and if you do then do it!

Sit! Relax! Enjoy! De-stress!

You’ll love it. I promise.

My Own Garden

My Own Garden, Summer 2016

Well, that’s it for today, friends. The turnip truck needs a nap.

Happy Summer, Everyone!

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Heroes Gone Bad or What Would David the Edge Do?


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Run and Hide


As many of you may remember, over the summer I posted an article about some of my 2012 Summer Olympic heroes who I believed exemplified a good attitude.

Well, what do I know?

As it turns out, my favorite Olympic hero whom I glorified in that article, Oscar Pistorius, is now an alleged premeditating murderer.

I am devastated.


At times like this I have to ask myself: What would my lawyer-friend, David the Edge, do?

Would David the Edge fight to save Mr. Pistorius?

I don’t even know if my friend, David the Edge, is even a good lawyer; but, assuming he is a good lawyer, would he defend Oscar or throw him under the turnip truck?

David the Edge, tell me what to believe!!!

David Would(1)DISCLAIMER: This is what I think David the Edge would think, not necessarily what he does think.














Oscar P Xed Out

I would have posted this convoluted retraction sooner, but David the Edge did not want to be trumped by this alleged murdering fiend so I had to post David the Great first.

















Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


David the Great … and the Beautiful and Mighty Princess Warrior


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Hello, Followers, I’ve missed you; but, I am back now and today I am going to tell you a story about a not-so-young man named David the Great … and a beautiful and mighty princess warrior named Princess Toni.

In this story David the Great will be played by one of the best actor I know: the not-so-young David the Edge (40 years old):

David the Weasel

The above photo shows the not-so-young David the Edge (40 years old) with and without facial and body hair. I asked him to shave for this story. He said OK.

And, the beautiful and mighty Princess Toni will be played by the real-life Princess Toni (30 years old):


She is this pretty all the time.



Chapter 1

Once upon a very long time ago, there was a not-so-young man named David the Great who lived in Rome, Italy with other people.


David the Great was not so young, a little bit smart and very kind. So said almost all who knew him.

He was especially kind to fair maidens in distress.


Chapter 2

One day, a very long time ago, the not-so-young David the Great gathered with some friends on and around a random bench in the middle of Rome.


As his comrades sat around enjoying the lovely weather, the not-so-young David the Great began to contemplate some of life’s biggest questions:

Where can I have my nails nicely manicured?


What day is it?


Is an owl really all that smart?


He asked another not-so-young man named Ralph what he thought the answers to these questions were.


Ralph did not know.

Chapter 3

The next day a mean and ugly troll entered the city and tried to harm the not-so-young David the Great and the not-so-young David the Great was scared.

So were all the male peons and the women-folk.


Alas, the not-so-young David the Great and his comrades had nothing to fear, for hiding among the frightened women-folk was a beautiful and mighty princess warrior named Princess Toni.


Doesn’t she have the prettiest shoes?

The beautiful and mighty Princess Toni saved the weak men and the scared women-folk and drove off the ugly troll forever.


The not-so-young David the Great was very grateful to Princess Toni and swore to be her chambermaid forever.

DTG 10

The not-so-young David the Great’s comrades were also very grateful.

Together they danced for joy in the streets.

DTG 11

And they all lived happily ever after.

Please note that this story is based on the not-so-young David the Edge’s real life.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Breathe, Damn It: Part IV


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Alas, we have reached our last chapter in the Breathe, Damn It series: Facials and Massages. Facials and massages are, in my opinion, the very best way to relax, detox and de-stress.


I think it is a proven fact that facials (are): 1. The best way to cleanse and hydrate your skin, 2. Awesome for increasing face circulation, 3. Have loads of emotional benefits, and 4. Help to prevent aging.

So, if your face is pruning up or flaky or blotchy or pimply or the like …

… you may want to consider a visit to your local spa. If you don’t have a local spa you can use mine:

Oasis Day Spa Website

Ask for Meagan


Another possible proven fact is that massages: 1. Relieve stress, 2. Ease anxiety, 3. Manage depression, 4. Improve immune-system function, 5. Control blood pressure, 6. Calm or stimulate your muscles and body tissues, 7. Stimulate circulation, 8. Improve healing of damaged muscles, and 9. Stimulate your lymphatic system to clear wastes from your body and trigger your body’s release of endorphins and other stress-relieving hormones.

Awesome! Right?

The above information must be true because I found it on some website (I can’t remember which one) and websites are always right. Aren’t they?

So, if you are feeling achy or stressed out or knotted-up or backed-up or the like…

… you may want to consider a visit to your local spa. If you don’t have a local spa you can use mine:

Oasis Day Spa Website

Ask for Kathleen

I think I also read somewhere that massages can stimulate growth in infants! So – maybe – if shortness runs in your family and you have a child you will want to massage it into tallness!

Again, readers, please consult your doctor before giving your baby a massage – I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. You can’t believe everything you read and I read a lot, so the chances of me getting misinformation somewhere along the line are pretty great.

If I had things my way I would be visiting Meagan and Kathleen every single day for these services. (You were introduced to my favorite esthetician, Meagan Scott, in my article on beauty – Kathleen is my favorite masseuse).

Kathleen and Meagan:

Both Meagan and Kathleen work at Oasis Day Spa in Weymouth, Massachusetts and they are the best and I highly encourage you to visit them some day soon. Firm believers in equal opportunity beautifying, they invite men to try out their services too!


There are plenty of other things you can do to relax if one of the suggestions I’ve made in this Breathe, Damn It series thus far doesn’t float your boat. I will only outline them briefly below because I don’t want to stress anyone out who feels that this article is already too long and who is anxious to move onto some other activity. If you are one of these angst-ridden people, then I have some advice for you: BREATHE, DAMN IT!

First, you can watch a candle burn. I suggest you burn one with a nice patchouli scent.


Don’t leave your candle unattended – bad things happen when candles go unattended for more than a minute and a half.

If you burn a candle or two while taking a tubby, as pictured above, and an accidental fire occurs, you can save yourself by sprinkling those vicious, stress-inducing flames with some of that scented water you are sitting in!

Second, you can stare at a tree. I suggest you choose a tree with luscious green leaves. I also suggest you pick a sunny day, as sitting in the rain on a cold and dreary day looking at a tree like an idiot will only thrust you further into a negative state.

Third, you can listen to soothing music while you rest in a hammock … or read Under the Turnip Truck. If you choose the hammock option make sure you know how to ease yourself into the net without flipping over onto your face because flipping over onto your face will only irritate you further, thereby defeating the purpose of the exercise.

Finally, you can kick the life out of a piece of technology. However, I would not kick the life out of any technology with an “i” in front of it, as these products are all extremely overpriced and if you own one which you purchased yourself you are probably already angry that  such an extravagant purchase has propelled you further into debt making you poorer than you were before you bought it and killing such a product will only piss you off more.






Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Breathe, Damn It: Part III


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Here comes the turnip truck!


I used to think that yoga would be difficult for a person like me, as I am ridiculously NOT flexible; but, I was wrong. If you can breathe you can do yoga.

I love yoga, but lately I haven’t had a chance to practice it much. Heck, I can’t even find the time to write my blog articles, forget about downward dog! Anyway, not stretching has caused my muscles to shrivel up and I can barely even stand up straight anymore. This is the truth!

Jack loves to mock this little handicap of mine. Every chance he gets he assumes a yoga position, which he knows is very difficult, if not impossible, for me to practice and he laughs in my face.

Where’s the love, Jack? Where’s the love?

When I was yogaizing I was going to hot yoga and regular yoga and, like I said, I loved it – most of the time.

What I DIDN’T love was hoofing it to the gym each time I had to go to a class. I like working out in the comfort of my own home – so that is what I am going to start doing with yoga. I bought a few really great yoga DVDs to guide me through and this will make me feel like there are other people in the room with me and like I have a personal coach. Two stuffed birds, one stone. (It’s not nice to throw rocks at living things.)

I also DIDN’T much enjoy the hot yoga. Although I love the way the heat loosens up my muscles so quickly, I am likely to NOT choose the broiler oven option anymore because I sweat so profusely that I start slipping all over the mat and then I fall and then I hurt myself.

Yoga can be a very dangerous sport. If a person is not careful they can very easily knot themselves up and that hurts too. Comfortable pain is fine, but acute pain should never be a part of yoga.

In the future, I am sure I will have a day when I forget how much I do not like hot yoga and I will stupidly decide to practice it in a 100+ degree room – I will close all the windows and turn up the heat to broil – and at the end of that day I am sure I will ask myself: “What was I thinking?!”

In spite of the challenges to my body, I think that yoga really helps with stress-reduction. In fact, starting today I am going to try to do yoga every morning  – or every 2nd morning – for the rest of my life. I recently bought a book that I found on the bargain bookshelf at Barnes & Noble to help me with my plan.

I was motivated the minute I began reading the introduction. Here are the first words I read:

After their first yoga class, people often report that they’ve slept better and feel taller. Yoga has helped people lose weight, overcome fears, conquer habits like smoking and develop better concentration, all of which help their performance in daily tasks. Others feel improved self-awareness, a deeper sense of well-being, developed compassion, enhanced relationships, greater self-acceptance, and a sensation of being at peace.”

Good luck to me!


Pilates is another sport that I love to do and which I do well! I’m really good at strengthening my powerhouse and using my core muscles. Pilates even incorporates a little yoga – it is just not as boring as yoga.

Alas, if only I had the time to practice!

I own several Pilates videos and my very own Pilates machine. I just love it!

I recommend a Pilates reforming machine to anyone who wants to have a flexible and toned body … like a dancer’s.

I have practiced Pilates on and off for years, but have yet to achieve a dancer’s body. However, I know all that is going to change soon because I am going to start practicing again and this time it’s going to work! This time I am going to combine the Pilates workouts with the “Think System” of thinking things into reality and I am going to reshape my body!

If you are patient with yourself and with the process it will happen. I really believe that. Just a little bit longer …

I think you will love having your very own Pilates machine too, but if you buy one and you hate it then it is your own stupid fault for not trying it out first.

I also love that you can play with balls and rings and straps and weights and such when you practice Pilates. That is always a fun time.

Pilates is definitely my favorite sport to play. Definitely.

Stay tuned for part 4 of the Breathe, Damn It series, which will focus on facials and massages.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Breathe, Damn It: Part II


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Here comes the turnip truck!


Ahhhh… meditation. I love to meditate… even though I think I am doing it wrong.

In my opinion meditation is very difficult for a person like me. My mind is always racing with thoughts about everything. For example, during a twenty-minute meditation session when I’m seeking inner peace, world peace, physical healing or a past life, I either think of a slew of questions instead or I fall asleep from the exhaustion of thinking too much.

Falling asleep during meditation is VERY common – just ask this kid:

In the event that you wish to listen to some nice mediation music again while you read, click here to listen to more from Nawang Khechog.

Note: It takes a few seconds before the music begins.


Bell dings to open meditation session.


Concentrate on the breath and on the pretty bright yellow light embracing your whole body – inside and out. It is healing you.


Enjoy the wonderful garden that your soul is floating through right now. … Hey! Is that Oprah’s favorite, giant oak tree in my garden? Is that a sign that Oprah is coming?

No. That is just a regular old oak tree.


What should I eat for lunch right after this session?  I think I will have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.


What should I make for dinner tonight? Pasta? Cabbage? Take-out?

I wonder what Jim wants for dinner tonight? Jim probably wants pizza. Jim always wants pizza. I think I will make cabbage lasagna.

On second thought, maybe we’ll just order a pizza or maybe we will go out for a pizza because I don’t really want to clean up all the pizza boxes and stuff.



Darn it! I just remembered I ran out of peanut butter yesterday. Now what do I do? I will just make myself an omelet for lunch because I had an English muffin for breakfast with a hardboiled egg and a ½ a papaya so that is at least two different styles of egg. …

No. That’s too much egg for you, T, because you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol runs in your family. Thanks family! I will have a veggie burger instead and be done with it.


God, I want a personal chef. I wish that Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen would hurry up and discover me so that they can offer me a job making decent enough money so that I can live comfortably and buy a personal chef.


 Is wanting to work with/for Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen my dream or someone else’s dream? If it is someone else’s dream then fate suggests that it can’t be my dream and I have to have my own dream. Or did I read that part about dreams wrong?

I think I am incapable of dreaming because I can’t even decide what I want to be when I grow up. My life is almost 39.5% over and what do I have to show for it? Why isn’t meditation making me feel more enlightened right now and less pitiful?

Lordy, those men working on the house next door are so loud and they listen to crappy music.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

    I hate that music.

    You are floating with your angel friend now – feel light and free.


Why aren’t I able to reshape my body even though I am eating right and working out and put a picture of the body I want on my vision board? I seem to be expanding instead of shrinking. That rots. I don’t want to buy new clothes in case I lose weight – that should make Jim financially happy since I can’t afford to be buying new clothes anyway. God, I want Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen to hurry up and discover me so that I can buy new clothes soon… I don’t want to be a senior citizen before I can afford to buy new clothes because … hmmmm… new thought: I hope I’m stylish like Helen Mirren when I am older…


What is my purpose in this lifetime supposed to be?


If I want to reshape my body into that of a perfect Goddess then I had better not eat pizza tonight …


I will order a Caesar salad with no anchovies or dressing.

Yum. Can’t wait …


How can I be of service to others? Deepak Chopra says that is the most important thing you can strive for in life … to be of service to others.

Dr. Dyer thinks so too…


I used to like Eckhart Tolle the best, but I think I like Deepak the best now… and Dr. Dyer… no Eckhart…


Does Tina Fey like Deepak? Oprah loves Deepak.

Am on the right career path?


God, can’t those workers next door SHUT UP!!!

Am I on a good career path or am I not, damn it!?

Am I on any path?

Am I too lazy?

Do I work too much?

Why can’t I just enjoy existing?


Maybe reciting a poem will help me focus … Twas the night before Christmas

Ugh!!! Stop! It’s the summer not winter. Dork.


God, I’m bored … Is it OK to be bored?

Are those workers smoking? Is that smoke I smell? My Lord!!! It’s 2012 – don’t they know smoking is bad for you??? It can kill. Kill. KILL!


I have friends who smoke. They know who they are. Please stop smoking, friends, I want you to live. I am sending loving, non-smoking thoughts to all my beautiful friends…

I wish I had been born with psychic powers. That would be so fun.

I wish I was born a Jedi Master. That would be better.

Am I missing signs that are meant to guide me through life? Probably.

Is that little voice in my head God talking to me or is it just me talking to myself and hoping that God is talking to me and if it is God talking to me then why can’t He be a little more specific with what he wants me to do with myself and my life?


And, for the love of Pete, what on earth…

The bell dings and the meditation session is over.

See what I mean?

I’ve studied with all the great meditation teachers via books, periodicals, You Tube, DVDs and CDs and still I’m not that great at quieting my mind and letting it slip into the gap of enlightenment and personal fulfillment … but, I’m better than I used to be!

I just know that the more I meditate the better I am going to get. Maybe one day I will be so good at it that I can float my soul self over to Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen and whisper into their ear(s) that undertheturniptruck.wordpress.com is a great site to visit and they will visit it and then they will find me.

Ahhhh – the power of meditation!

Then again, someone (I can’t remember who) recently suggested that I just email each of them my blog site … now there is a thought. I will get right on it after I post this article!

In the event that you, my Followers, would like to learn to meditate, here is a link to some video lessons by the master, Deepak Chopra.

Note: You may have to hit the back button after watching the video clip in order to return to this page.

Video Clip: Deepak Chopra Meditation Technique

Stay tuned for part 3 of the Breathe, Damn It series, which will focus on yoga and Pilates.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Breathe, Damn It: Part I


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Followers, today starts my series on de-stressing called Breathe, Damn It.

Over the next few weeks I am going to give my opinions on how you can best de-stress your lives!

I will share with you some of the things that I do to bring peace to my often-stressful life. You will learn all about the fun of using an acupressure mat, the soothingness of meditation, the benefits of yoga and Pilates, and the joy of treating yourself to facials and massages.

So, let’s begin!

Maybe you want to run and grab yourself a cup of tea to sip on while you read – go ahead, I’ll wait.

Are you back yet?


There are many things you can do to destress, detox, and deflate. I will start this series by telling you about my least favorite.

In the event that you wish to listen to some nice mediation music while you read, click the You Tube link below. Nawang Khechog is one of my favorite musicians.

Jack loves to listen to Nawang while he sleeps.

Get Comfy.



This is my Spoonk acupressure mat:

This is my Bed of Nails acupressure pillow:

The makers of some acupressure mats recommend that customers use the product while naked in their own home (at least I hope they mean in one’s own home – how horrifying would it be for one stranger to see another stranger lying naked on an acupressure mat in the park or at the beach!). I personally cannot use this product without the aid of my clothing because doing so hurts like hell.

NOTE TO THE ACUPRESSURE MAT MAKERS: To the makers of all acupressure products – if I read the instructions wrong and you don’t recommend nakedness then that is your fault and not mine and you need to make the instructions clearer. Thank you and feel free to leave a comment and correct me if I am wrong.

As you can see from the picture below, the mats are lined with circular disks and each disk has a bunch of little sharp plastic nails sticking out of it.

Those nails are so sharp that the first time I tried the mat it poked a hole in my tank top. Now I only use that tank top when I lay on the mat.

One time when I was putting the mat away my hand grazed one of the disks and the little nails broke my skin open! So, should you try one of these mats yourself be very, very careful or you could maim yourself!

I have to say that I do enjoy lying on the mat if my skin isn’t in direct contact with any part of it. I don’t know if it is relieving any stress, but at least I get to take a quick catnap when I use it, which is quite nice … until I roll over. The doctors say the holes in my face should close up any day now.

I’m just kidding! I don’t have any holes in my face from the acupressure mat.

I love that I can use the pillow without any skin protection. My favorite time to use it is when I am watching TV – I like to kick my feet up and rest my neck against it at the end of the day.

Acupressure mats can be used to:

  • Induce and deepen sleep (I think this was only achieved in a clinical trial, but, again, maybe I read it wrong)
  • Relieve back, neck, hip and joint pain (apparently this has been clinically proven, but I have yet to experience such relief)
  • Relax the abdomen, and relieve tension in your neck and face.
  • Ease muscle tension
  • Improve circulation
  • Boost energy
  • Achieve a deeper sense of relaxation

WARNING: It is important to remember to BREATHE as you relax on the mat. Breathing deeply always seems to dull the majority of the pain for me.

So, I urge you to try this mat yourself because there is a good chance you will just love it. My friend Manny (I’ve changed his name to protect his identity) LOVES his and he doesn’t even have to wear a protective covering!

GREAT SUGGESTION: If you clicked on the above You Tube link, as I originally suggested, you may want to let the melodious sounds of Nawang Khechog continue to play – I’m sure listening to his music while you work will relieve a lot of the tension and stress that will surely build throughout the day as you ponder your difficult, sometimes sad life.

And, please stay tuned for part 2 of the Breathe, Damn It series, which will focus on meditation.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Attitude Adjustment


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Before the Olympics began I was hoping to write an inspiring article about all the wonderfulness I watched on TV. By the closing ceremonies I was slightly disenchanted with enough of the athletes and their pitiful attitudes that I scrapped my original idea. Instead I would just like to make the following observations:









Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Mikayla’s Happy Birthday Adventure


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Here comes the turnip truck!

So, as I’ve mentioned, Mikayla is one of my many godchildren (I have 3) – what I have not mentioned is that I try always to treat my godchildren like gold when I see them for birthdays and holidays and in general throughout the year.

Mikayla recently celebrated her 16th birthday (October 4, 2011) and so I thought I should get her a really fun gift. After hemming and hawing I decided to buy Mikayla a beautiful silver ring.

But then things changed.

I got busy and I kept forgetting to order the ring and then FALL faded into winter which faded into SPRING.

Mikayla, being Catholic, was confirmed in the spring (April 14, 2012) and seeing that I hadn’t even ordered the ring by that point, I thought it would make a nicer confirmation gift. This put me back at square one in the birthday gift department. And I was running out of time! I mean her 17th birthday was fast approaching and I still hadn’t made good on the 16th birthday gift yet!

What to do?

That is when I had a eureka moment!

I will do what I almost always do and take her someplace cool.

Over the years Jim and I have taken Mikayla on many adventures including:

Plays in New York:


Beauty and the Beast

An Egyptian exhibit called The Tomb:

A tour of Fenway Park:

A Bruins game:

A Cirque du Soleil show called Dralion:

This time I decided to take Mikayla to a Red Sox game!


 Jim and I decided to buy the extra cheap seats in the bleachers ($20 per ticket) so that Mikayla could bring a friend. Mikayla brought Anne.

Before I go on, I need to stop and insert a picture of Anne’s older sister Rita. Rita will have a cow if Anne is featured on the Turnip Truck before her, as she has been a faithful subscriber for eons and has yet to even get a mention. That said, this is Rita:

Note: this is not really the Rita I am talking about, but it is the picture that kept popping up when I tried to Google her. Sorry, Rita, but at least you got a mention. You can blame Scary Turnip (see the Explained page) and your sister for not forwarding me a picture of you as I asked them to do 100 times.

Back to the story of:

Mikayla’s Happy Birthday Adventure.

So, Mikayla brought Anne…

Jim and I bought the tickets for the Red Sox game the week before we intended to go so that we I could have a good idea of what the weather would be like. You can never be too careful when your view of the game is from the cheap seats.

Jim decided that Tuesday, July 31st would be the perfect night to go, but I was apprehensive because the weather app on my stupid iPhone had a picture of a cloud and lightning bolts.

Jim said it would be fine.

He was wrong.


The evening started off lovely enough.  On our way to the ballpark, we stopped and had a slice of pizza at The Upper Crust Pizzeria because Jim and Anne were hungry.

Note: Each of us had a slice of our own. We didn’t share one slice. That would be weird because we barely know Anne.

We then moved on to Fenway Park. When we got there it was just like a carnival outside.

There were souvenir shops.

There were boys hawking programs for exorbitant amounts of money.

There were bands.

There were clowns.

There were rides.

There was food.

Jim couldn’t decide what to eat first!

We finally made it to our seats and we were so happy because it was a warm night and it looked like the rain was going to hold off.

Alas, we should have known it was too good to be true for within a matter of minutes the rain came.

And, oh how it rained!!!

By the end of the 4th inning the bleachers were really clearing out!

We stayed.

We got soaked.

The Sox ended up calling a rain delay in the 6th inning and eventually they just called the game.

The Red Sox won.

We ran back to our car, which Jim parked about 50+ blocks away so he could park for free.

We stopped under every awning and tree we came to so that we could wring ourselves out.

Before we left the house I told the girls to bring a raincoat.

Anne didn’t listen. She brought a skimpy little sweatshirt instead.

Silly girl.

When we finally made it to the car, we tumbled into it laughing hysterically.

This night could have turned into a horrible situation fraught with teenage angst, but it didn’t. Except for the occasional apology from me (I felt horrible that Mikayla’s Happy Birthday Adventure was turning out to be anything but perfect.), there was not a moan or groan to be heard from anyone. The girls took it all in stride and just kept smiling through the unrelenting downpour. Nobody complained about frizzy hair or ruined make-up – not even Jim! We just kept laughing at the craziness of the evening.

I really need to give props to Mikayla (and her little friend too). Even though she is getting older she doesn’t mind hanging out with the older folks me. She never seems embarrassed to be seen with us me.

This is Mikayla and me at her Confirmation:

If Mikayla is embarrassed by our my presence, one would never know it; which makes her a good actor, which then makes me a brilliant director since I taught her everything she knows about the craft. Either way it’s pretty cool and I am grateful.

I hope when Jack is her age he still loves hanging out with me too.

I am thinking about bringing Mikayla to the zoo for her 17th birthday.

I hope she loves it.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


A Delightful Day!


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Here comes the turnip truck!

If you are like me and you don’t really enjoy taking long trips anywhere, then day trips – or weekend get-a-way trips – are for you!

In most cases you don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money to have a good time.

Some of my favorite short trips include:

The Newport Mansions

New York City



Recently, Jim and I took a wonderful day trip into Boston, which I will highlight for you now. We decided to go to Boston’s Faneuil Hall Market Place because it is a very happening place that’s close to home and because I wanted to go shopping at some of the stores that are there.

First, we decided that it would be cheaper most fun to take a boat ride into Boston.

A ride on the Harbor Express will cost about $16 per round-trip ticket if you leave from Quincy, Ma like we did.

I love boats. I wish I owned a boat, but I don’t have any money. If Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen would just hurry up and discover me, then maybe I will be able to afford a boat.


Buying a boat is expensive.

After docking in Boston, we headed over to Faneuil Hall to have lunch. Jim got to pick the restaurant and luckily he picked McCormick and Schmick’s.

Isn’t that such a funny name? Schmick.

Eating at McCormick and Schmick’s will cost you some money, but you won’t go broke and the food is awesome.

If you are looking for cheap eats then head inside the marketplace where you will find a variety of foods to choose from.

WARNING: the smorgasbord of choices inside the Marketplace is not nearly as good as McCormick and Schmick’s food selection and it is annoyingly crowded in there and some of the food at some of the places looks like it has sat out for some time; but the choice is up to you.

I’ve been to McCormick and Schmick’s twice this summer. I had a good meal and a nice server the first time, but I had a mouth-watering meal and stupendous server the second time!

My first visit was on Jack’s 1st birthday, which was a few days before my trip in with Jim.

Happy Birthday, Jack!

What a little man!

During my second visit, Jim and I each ordered a bowl of the Sandia Gazpacho (chilled soup) for an appetizer. This gazpacho has a watermelon base. According to our server, Todd Sullivan, Sandia means watermelon. I believe Todd Sullivan is correct because he looks honest and because he is the best server of all time. I suggest that when you all go and eat at McCormick and Schmick’s in Faneuil Hall, as I know you will because I’m subconsciously using The Force on all of you now, you ask for Todd Sullivan. He really is the bestest. You’ll see.

This is Todd Sullivan:

Sorry, ladies, I do not know if Todd Sullivan is free.

DISCLAIMER: One would naturally assume that McCormick and Schmick’s is paying me for all this free publicity they are getting and/or for the amount of times I mention their name in this article, but they are not. I am doing this out of the goodness of my heart so that my readership will learn about new and exciting opportunities. You are all welcome.

Back to the food … if I’m being honest then I’m telling you that Jim and I didn’t expect the gazpacho to be so incredible. I mean it is just chilled soup (topped with huge chunks of avocado and real crabmeat). Sadly, we wolfed it all down before I thought to take a picture of it.

For his main dish, Jim ordered the tasty fish and chips, which I recommended after having ordered it during my first trip to the establishment.

I ordered a lovely lobster salad. My Lord, it was so delectable!

Next, we shared a delicious key lime pie for dessert.

Chef Eric Hammer was responsible for all this scrumptiousness. I figured he was so busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen that I didn’t want to disturb him for a photo, so I decided to include a symbol for him instead.

Here is Chef Eric Hammer’s symbol:

Jim really loved taking in all the sights throughout the day.


Sightseeing is free.

After lunch, I decided to do a little shopping and Jim came along and pretended to enjoy it. That’s my Gnomeo!


Shopping will cost someone a few dollars depending on the shopper and his/her inclination to buy everything in sight.

We also got to see a plethora of talented and/or weird street performers!

We saw clowns:

Clowns are technically free, but they ask for money.

We saw singers:

Singers are also technically free, but ask for money.

But our favorite street performance was the group of B BOYS we saw. We gave them all our extra money … that amounted to about $8 in total.

They were awesomely fun.

Imagine cool thumping music in your head as you look at the next few images.

If you are not one of those cheapo people who pretend they don’t even have a dollar bill on them, then this activity will cost you anywhere from $ 1 to ? – It depends on how generous you are.

For more information on this wonderful group of dancers you can visit www.yakcrewent.com or go and find them in Faneuil Hall.

There are even a couple of carousels for you to enjoy on your Boston adventure.

Jack, RiRi and Ally took a spin on the carousel across from Faneuil Hall for Jack’s birthday.

The carousel is about $3 per person to ride.

To finish out the afternoon, you can grab a slushy and enjoy it on the boat ride back while you ponder your very delightful day!

Expect to pay about $3.50 per slushy.

Wherever you decide to go, I wish you loads of fun, plenty of memories and safe travels!

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Gnomeo and His Ever-Loving Wife


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Followers, today you are very fortunate because I am going to tell you a VERY LONG story about an overly romantic man and his ever-loving wife.

Please know that names have been changed or not mentioned to protect the reputations of the story’s real-life characters.

The Story…


Once upon a time a woman gave birth to one of the nicest boys that ever lived. This boy was so nice that he was loathed by a lot of people. People found it hard to be in the presence of this little boy because all they saw when they looked at him were their own shortcomings and inadequacies.

The little boy eventually grew into a big boy and as he grew so did all his irritating virtues.  Among other things, he was always overly generous, annoyingly patient, super kind, ridiculously romantic, and ultra compassionate. These virtues were a curse for the boy because they completely overshadowed and, in fact, squashed out all the attractive vices women love so much.

Throughout history many good girls have been attracted to the cool looking bad biker dudes … like the fella below.

At least that was the case until one day when the afore-mentioned big boy met a beautiful, vivacious, intelligent and talented girl who agreed to be his ever-loving wife.

They were married on December 27, 2003

Both the boy and his ever-loving wife were hopeful and optimistic at the start of their marriage.

Both were sure that wedded life would be bliss.

Unfortunately, year after year on their anniversary, the boy ended up making his ever-loving wife feel very inadequate. In fact, sometimes these feelings of inadequacy lead the wife to angrily do or say things she later truly regretted.



Each year the boy carefully researched the traditional gift that was most appropriate for that particular anniversary.


December 27, 2004

Being married for 1 year is represented by a gift of paper.

On December 27, 2004, the boy gave his ever-loving wife a card (and flowers).

The ever-loving wife gave him a card too.

The two were off to a good start!

December 27, 2005

Being married for 2 years is represented by a gift of cotton.

On December 27, 2005, the boy gave his ever-loving wife Wicked (the musical) t-shirts (1 short-sleeved and 1 long-sleeved). He also took his wife to the stage musical, White Christmas.

Because she felt bad for not giving him a gift, the boy’s ever-loving wife angrily purchased him an expensive White Christmas t-shirt after the show and threw it at him.

The boy was sad.

The ever-loving wife was embarrassed.

December 27, 2006

Being married for 3 years is represented by a gift of­­­ leather.

On December 27, 2006, the boy gave his ever-loving wife, a graduate student at the time, a leather backpack, which he had handmade on some ranch Oklahoma.

The boy’s ever-loving wife gave him nothing.

The boy was delighted with his creativity in thinking up the perfect gift for the occasion.

The ever-loving wife was pissed.

December 27, 2007

Being married for 4 years is represented by a gift of­­­ fruit and flowers.

On December 27, 2007, the boy gave his ever-loving wife a card and flowers. No fruit.

The boy’s ever-loving wife went to their refrigerator, took out an orange and threw it at him!

The boy laughed and laughed because he thought his ever-loving wife was having fun with him.

She wasn’t.

December 27, 2008

Being married for 5 years is represented by a gift of wood.

On December 27, 2008, the boy was too afraid to buy his ever-loving wife anything for fear that it would lead to divorce.

The boy’s ever-loving wife gave him a tube of wood filler (so he could fill in the holes he drilled all over her stage floor at work) …

… and a Home Depot gift card (so he could buy wood to build things for her).

The boy was so happy to see his ever-loving wife walk tall, feeling smart and superior to everyone around her.

He lost and she won and all was well again.

December 27, 2009

Being married for 6 years is represented by a gift of candy.

On December 27, 2009, the boy gave his ever-loving wife an extra-large, extra-fattening box of chocolates.

The ever-loving wife gave him nothing but a kick in the butt for making her feel fatter than she already felt.

December 27, 2010

Being married for 7 years is represented by a gift of­­­ copper and wool.

On December 27, 2010, the boy gave his ever-loving wife a lovely woolen scarf, hat and glove set.

The ever-loving wife gave him nothing and eventually lost the damn hat in a snowstorm.

December 27, 2011

Being married for 8 years is represented by a gift of­­­ pottery.

On December 27, 2011, the boy begged his ever-loving wife to take a pottery class with him so that they could give each other a piece of pottery.

 The ever-loving wife grudgingly, and against her better judgment, agreed.


The boy and his ever-loving wife were both very busy with work and extra-curricular activities in the months following their 8th anniversary. As the months flew by, the boy’s ever-loving wife was hoping that he would forget about this silly pottery idea.

He didn’t.

The boy was so excited when an opening appeared on their over-scheduled calendars, that he scheduled a time for himself and his ever-loving wife to go and potterize.

 Seeing the boy so happy made his wife realize that she needed to stop being such a Debbie Downer and just have fun.


The boy’s ever-loving wife hated all kinds of arts and crafts – including ceramics. You can imagine her disappointment when the boy unwittingly chose a ceramics joint instead of a pottery class for them to celebrate their 8th anniversary (the ever-loving wife insists there is a difference between the two).

The poor ever-loving wife had actually started getting excited about shaping a big lump of clay into a vase or a bowl or something; instead, she was going to have to pick an unfinished and unoriginal ceramic mold off a cluttered shelf and paint it.

She wouldn’t even get to glaze her project herself, as the shop does that part and customers get to pick up their finished products a week later.

Oh well.


Upon stepping inside the ceramics shop the boy’s unsuspecting, ever-loving wife was completely horrified by the sight before her!



Lots of screaming, cackling, energetic, crazy girl scouts!

There, spread across 75% of the small noise-inducing space was a troupe of insane, insufferable girl scouts and their equally disruptive chaperones.

The ever-loving wife should have run right then and there, but because she had a big, ever-loving heart and didn’t want to disappoint the boy, she stayed.

As they looked through all the unfinished molds of cats, bowls, mugs and plates, they stumbled across some garden gnomes. Because the ever-loving wife has a thing for garden gnomes they decided to buy two (at $20+ a piece) and paint those.

As the boy and his ever-loving wife filled the little plastic paint pallets the girl scouts whirled around them making so much noise that the ever-loving wife could feel her blood pressure rising and in that moment she really, really hated the boy for putting his desires before her own.

While they were painting the damn gnomes, the little monsters around them screamed louder and ran around the place squealing like pigs in mud. Their chaperones were worse.

Hiding behind his gnome, the boy finally admitted to his unsuspecting and ever-loving wife that when he called to confirm their ceramics time earlier that day, he was informed that there would be a group of girl scouts there.

The boy thought it best not to tell his ever-loving wife because he was sure she wouldn’t go if she knew. For once in his life, the boy was right!

The Lord carried His cross first and the boy’s ever-loving wife carried one that night.

Three hours later, the ever-loving wife’s head was pounding from all the noise, her face hurt from clenching her teeth so tightly, and her arms and shoulder blades ached from all the painting. All she wanted was a big bottle of Ibuprofen.

Now, understand that the boy’s ever-loving wife doesn’t hate the girl scouts; she just doesn’t want to be around them when they are on field trips. She always says they sell awesome cookies!

From that day forth the ever-loving wife affectionately referred to her infuriatingly romantic husband as Gnomeo as a forever reminder of the Gnomes they painted that awful wonderful night.

And, the evening did end on a good note, as the pair met their friends, M&M, for a late dinner and M1 brought her ever-loving friend that big bottle of Ibuprofen she so desperately needed.



Stories like this one make me believe that life would be so much less stressful if we all just agreed to abolish this whole silly gift-giving tradition. And don’t all you self-righteous, hypocritical freaks act like you don’t think the same thing each time you wrap an obligatory present because you do and you know it!

Gnomeo and his ever-loving wife have only had eight anniversaries thus far… and probably won’t be having anymore if Gnomeo continues to outdo her in the gift department.


The moral of this story is:

For a healthy and happy marriage, all a man needs to do is remember NOT to outdo his ever-loving wife (wives if he is married to more than one wife) – EVER!

For that matter, men should never ever act like they are better than, smarter than, prettier than or righter than their ever-loving wives because they are not – EVER!

That is just the honest truth and you know I’m right.


Please know that the ever-loving wife truly appreciates her Gnomeo. She realizes that there are people out there who really are in tough marital situations and she has a message for all of you:

Fear not friends and general Turnip Truck followers who are or have ever been married to truly despicable spouses – one day when you are all happily divorced Toni will gleefully run her turnip truck over them all!

You’re welcome.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Being Beautiful


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Here comes the turnip truck!




A Turnip
















Since the beginning of time the Universe has been plagued with beautiful women. Women who’ve been despised for their good looks and excellent genes.

Followers, today I am here to ask you not to hate us because we are beautiful. Prettiness requires A LOT of work. Beautiful people don’t wake up looking gorgeous everyday. Most of us have to pluck, wax, wash, nip, tuck, color, cut and buff to achieve such perfection!

It’s not easy.

To show you what a chore being beautiful really is, I’ve decided to take you behind the scenes so you can see what I have to do to BE BEAUTIFUL. That said, the beautifying process is a long one. Therefore, this article is going to be a long one, so settle in for the long haul or read it in chapters – whichever you prefer.

This is what I typically look like when I wake up in the morning.

Poor Jim. This is yet another reason for me to keep blurring out his face in photos.


This first thing you must do if you want to be beautiful is make an appointment to see a dermatologist – if you don’t already – so that a professional can check your body, front and back, for any abnormalities and weirdness. Seriously. I go every year and on my last visit I discovered that the cute little freckles which cover my body are really MOLES! Yikes. Fortunately, they are not cancerous and I know to watch them for any changes that may occur over time. You may be able to prevent skin cancer if you just make a dermatology appointment!


They say one’s eyes are a mirror of his/her soul … I think … anyway, I want people to be able to look into my eyes and see my inner beauty, but first I have to make sure they can find them! Several times a month I am forced to wax away the jungle above my eyes so that my unruly brows don’t turn into awnings.

I have being going to the same spa for eons because I just love my aesthetician (Meagan at Oasis Day Spa) to pieces – even though she seems to get joy out of torturing me.

Come on, Meagan! You’re pretty too.

It all starts with the waxing pot:

Doesn’t this look enticing?

First, I settle in and get cozy on the waxing table.

Next, I get to enjoy the warmth of the wax as it is spread like butter all over my forehead and melts onto my unwanted hair. It’s nice.

Then RIP!!!!

It’s OK, folks, the pain only lasts a few seconds and the redness goes away in a matter of hours.

Since we are already in Meagan’s torture chamber, I will also share with you my arm waxing experience.

Because I come from a long line of Italians, I am a very hairy girl. My arms resemble that of an orangutan when I don’t wax them.

Don’t feel bad for me though because I was lucky enough to be born with this issue, and so early on I learned to overcome the frightened stares people sported when they saw me coming, the bullying from other kids and the constant excess of hair everywhere.

I’m in a good place now.

Actually, funny stories come out of unfunny situations. Once, when I was a baby, my mom and dad brought me to the zoo and accidentally almost left me in the primate pen! Mom had unknowingly picked up a baby orangutan instead of me and as she started to carry it away she was stopped by security guards who thought she was trying to get herself a free pet by replacing a baby orangutan with an ugly duckling. Upon further examination, the security team understood completely that my mom made an honest mistake.

Really, Mom? Really?

Can you tell the difference?

Back to the waxing…

In order for Meagan to reach all the hair on my arms, she makes me contort my body like a pretzel. I don’t know which hurts more – the actual waxing or my arm popping out of its socket as it “rests” on the table.

One may think I would hate Meagan’s guts for torturing me so, but this is simply not true. I love her. Although, I am concerned when she laughs as I scream. She seems to delight in my pain.

I love Meagan for making me beautiful … and for convincing me that I need to buy hundreds of dollars in top-of-the-line beauty products every month to keep the wrinkles and the age spots at bay.

You’re the best Meagan!


When I am done waxing the brows and arms, I need to move on to the upper lip … and that REALLY hurts so I take care of that area myself in a more loving fashion.

Instead of waxing, I buy a bottle of Sally Hansen Brush-On Hair Removal Crème from the drug store and go to town tenderly removing the fuzz on my upper lip.

In just a matter of minutes my upper lip is hairless and smooth!


Next, women have to beautify their hands, shoulders (well, really their armpits), knees and toes. This requires that we wax or shave regularly and adhere to a strict manicure and pedicure schedule.

I myself prefer to shave my legs because my hair grows as fast as the weeds in my garden grow, so waxing is not economical for me (if you need a reminder of my hairiness please see the orangutan pictures above).

Don’t I have such pretty legs!

Speaking of personal economics, I can’t afford regular manis and pedis, as my more affluent friends are accustomed to getting, but I do try to keep up with the pedicures in the summer and I always try to get both for special occasions.

Don’t I have the cutest toes and fingers?

Manicures and pedicures are really one of those things that add a polished look to a person’s outward appearance. And they are not just for women! Jim’s friend, Pete, gets regular manis and pedis too! It’s true. Just ask him.

This is Pete:

I know Pete may appear scary at first, but really he is a moderately tempered giant! All the girls at my spa say so.


Now, beauty wanna-bees, it is very important to moisturize every single day… from the top of your head all the way down to that pinky toe!

I love to moisturize. You’ve already seen a picture of the expensive facial moisturizers I use (above); following is a photo of some of the body moisturizers I am currently using. Hempz is my favorite body lotion; however, I change up the brands of creams I use all the time depending on the size of my wallet.

Note: It’s best to moisturize after you shower when your body is still damp because this allows the moisturizers to seep into your skin better. I saw this tip on Dr. Oz.


Next, I will tell you how I maintain the luscious locks on my precious head.

I go to a professional (my friend Wendi) and get my hair colored and cut every 6-8 weeks. I should probably go more often for maintenance but I can’t afford to because of those dang facial creams and cleansers Meagan makes me purchase every month.

Plus, when I am done with my hair appointment I like to buy another $100 in fancy coiffure products to nourish my hair and scalp.

Anyway, when I do get to the hair salon Wendi pulls out her weed whacker, mixes the color and sculpts my hair into a nest of niceness.

To start, Wendi colors my hair – this is never a pretty look for me.

Next, I get my hair washed and my head massaged. This is my most favorite part. And, Wendi loves me so much that she uses the most expensive shampoos, conditioners and styling products in the joint because she knows that they are too rich for my blood.

Finally, she gives me a good cut and blow dry and sends me on my merry way.

Me and my nest of niceness:


I like to wear makeup when I go out in public. I like the way it covers up all my red blotches and “sun spots”. Depending on the gathering or event or place I am going to, I will change up the brand I use.

For instance, if I am performing or attending a big party I pull out the big guns: MAC Makeup. This is as good for covering up one’s face as Spackle is for covering up a crumbling wall.

For work and everyday use I wear Clinique Makeup.

I prefer wearing neutral colors because it gives me a very natural look, which causes people to wonder if I am wearing any makeup at all! I just love when people ask me if I have make-up on or if my skin is just naturally radiant.  I always say, “Why, no, this is me makeup free! The dewy glow you see is a result of the burpless fish-oil pills I take everyday.”

Now, I know it’s a lie, but it’s a lie that makes me feel good about myself. Besides, the part about the fish oil pills is true. I take one fish oil pill everyday, along with one Vitamin D tablet and 2 Flintstones vitamins (gummy-bear style) for my heart health, bone health, overall skin care and all the things that need help in between.


Audrey’s Beauty Secret: When asked in January 1992 if she had any personal beauty secrets besides Sam Levenson’s philosophical tips, Ms. Hepburn said, “If I had them, I’d make a fortune.  But I know what helps: lots of sleep, lots of fresh air, and a lot of help from Estée Lauder.”

Krystal’s Beauty Secret: Krystal is a big fan of eyebrow threading. She says, “I would have to say threading of the eyebrows is the way to go! I never had shape to my eyebrows until I got them threaded. It’s torturous but so worth it! And cheap!”

Lucy’s Beauty Secret: According to The Stir, Lucy was quoted as saying, “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

The Turnip’s Beauty Secret: Use Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion to remove eye makeup.

Beverly’s Beauty Secret: Beverly said, on The Nate Burkus show, “Staying active is important for health and to keep a youthful figure.” Beverly loves to golf.

Ann’s Beauty Secret: Three words: Oil of Olay

Katy’s Beauty Secret: Katy says she is “religious” about washing her face before bed. She also keeps her lips perfectly primed for lipstick by moisturizing them with a sea scrub before she goes to bed each night and applying a little cocoa butter to them each morning. Katy never bakes in the sun – she uses a self-tanner instead. Finally, Katy brushes her teeth about 6 times a day.

Elisabetta’s Beauty Secret: Elisabetta, my maternal grandmamma, died over three years ago, but before that she kept her skin soft and subtle by using Dove Facial Cleanser and Ponds Cold Cream.

Christie’s Beauty Secret: Christie believes it is important to have close relationships with trusted friends and family. She is a vegetarian who doesn’t believe in diets, loves to smile and who always uses sunscreen. She also encourages everyone to work toward protecting the planet – and you can start by eating organically. Christie thinks everyone should go out and enjoy nature and she does all kinds of exercises: gym, Pilates, yoga, walking on the beach, and dancing. And she rarely drinks.

Nancy’s Beauty Secret: Nancy believes that the more expensive products are usually worth the extra money. She also recommends that if you have acne look for products with salicylic acid versus glycolic acid (I would check this tip with a dermatologist first if I were you. Nancy is not a doctor). She believes drinking water helps a person’s skin look better and can help eliminate acne. Finally, Nancy says that alcohol (the kind people drink) makes people look puffy and bloated.

Aishwarya’s Beauty Secret: Aishwarya Rai is a self-confessed natural beauty follower. She uses cucumber to soothe her skin, gram flour to exfoliate, and milk and yogurt to moisturize the skin.

Gale’s Beauty Secret: Gold Bond Ultimate Restoring Skin Therapy Cream.

Kate’s Beauty Secret: According to an insider, Kate’s flat tummy is the work of one of those giant exercise balls. “Kate does an hour’s workout every morning using the gym ball and dumbbells, which includes some core exercises like squats, sit-ups and arm curls.” Apparently she is also a fan of a face mask containing bee-sting venom pioneered by beauty therapist Deborah Mitchell that claims to be a needle-free shortcut to youthful, line-free skin.

I don’t know about that last tip though – her stepmother-in-law, Camilla Parker Bowles, uses the face mask containing bee-sting venom too.

RiRi’s Beauty Secret: RiRi loves Avon Day Cream. She would like to love Avon Night Cream too, but that is currently more money than she is willing to spend on her beauty regimen. Until she gives in and pays the $50 or Avon lowers the price of this product, RiRi will moisturize her face at night with Oil of Olay.

Ellen’s Beauty Secret: I’m going to make a wild guess here:

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Cover Girl.

Tina’s Beauty Secret: To all the women out there, Tina suggests that you lose weight sensibly (when you need to lose weight), always wear a bra (even if you think you don’t need one), have a trademark (Tina’s trademark is her black, horn rimmed glasses), choose the right makeup (she uses Mommy Makeup kits) and be yourself (don’t cover the real you with flashy dresses and jewels).

Oprah’s Beauty Secret: Oprah’s favorite bra is the Le Mystere Tisha Bra.

Toni’s Beauty Secret: Use Preparation H to reduce under-eye puffiness. For years models and Lisa Ling have used Preparation H to reduce under-eye puffiness. It’s not just for hemorrhoids.

Now, if I am being honest, I don’t know if Prep H is really reducing my facial puffs, but if the super models say it works then I’m going to keep having faith that it’s working and I am less puffy than I would be if I didn’t use it on a daily basis.

Please consult a physician before putting Preparation H on your face, as I will not be held responsible for your stupidity.


Friends, please, whatever the mistakes you may make in your life, do not make the mistake of missing your beauty appointments. My cousin and godchild, Mikayla, learned this the hard way.

The day before her confirmation Mikayla had a waxing appointment with my Meagan. Actually, while I was getting my arms waxed (see above photo) I discovered that Mikayla had the next appointment. When I left the room I could not find Mikayla anywhere. I thought to myself: “Why isn’t she waiting to go in?” So, I called her on the phone … she was skipping her appointment to tool around Boston with a fellow Turnip! I was so embarrassed.

Unfortunately for Mikayla, this was just the first in a long line of missed beauty appointments. Today, she looks like this:

I fear I will soon have a Cousin It in the family.

People are starting to confuse her with Troy Polamalu, which I don’t really get … Troy has a much friendlier smile.

This is Troy Polamalu:


After all the waxing, whining, spackling, plastering, moisturizing and painting is complete, this is the image I see looking back at me from the mirror:




























Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.