life, memoir, writing

Second Edition

I finally did it!


Continue reading “Second Edition”

health, life, memoir

Released from Purgatory

The people involved in the repair and recovery of my husband’s shattered feet had left us to fend for ourselves. We no longer could tolerate the miscommunication and lack of compassion. The two of us put our heads together and decided to be more assertive, in other words, pushy … in order to get something done.

Continue reading “Released from Purgatory”

health, life, memoir

Feet Tale Two

From the emergency room, my husband was admitted to the hospital. He was in and out of sleep from pain medication. Since 2:30 in the afternoon we waited for a surgeon to repair his shattered feet, but by 10pm, there was no sign of one. Is it still an emergency after almost eight hours?

Continue reading “Feet Tale Two”

health, life, memoir

A Tale about Feet

On April 15, 2014, my dog, Max, had a quarter-sized lump removed from his side. We had to wait for test results to come back and have his stitches removed in ten days (this is relevant for later).


On April 17, 2014, my husband called me from work just to say hi and let me know he was thinking of me.

Ten minutes after we hung up, around 2:30pm, my phone rang and I saw his number on caller ID again. Hmm. I wonder what he could’ve forgotten to tell me.


A woman’s voice I didn’t recognize said, “Hi. Is this Lori, Gary’s wife?”

“Yes.” My voice shook.

“Gary just had an accident at work. We called an ambulance for him.”

“Wha… Wha… What?” Fear shot through my veins and straight into my brain, causing logical thoughts to scamper and hide.

Continue reading “A Tale about Feet”

life, memoir

Jamaican Juju

cold-art-4-640x427Long before the hoarder house two doors down and the crop-circle house around the corner, a young couple lived next door to us. The man was an Arab, Muslim. His girlfriend, from Colombia, wore low-cut shirts freely displaying her bouncy double D’s. Hey, don’t ask me, I have no idea how that relationship worked with him being Muslim.

Continue reading “Jamaican Juju”

life, memoir, writing

A Peek Inside a Secret Diary

During another era, in a different century, I got to meet my idol. I was nineteen years old. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to write a story about it but wasn’t sure I had enough material.

I wrote a diary when I was younger (now I’m young, then I was younger), and figured I must’ve written about it in there.

Continue reading “A Peek Inside a Secret Diary”

life, memoir, thoughts

My Puzzle Piece

Have you ever felt out of place, like a puzzle piece in the wrong picture? That’s how I have felt since the year 1988. That was the year my husband and I moved from the Chicago suburbs to Florida.

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A park in the center of the town where I grew up.

Continue reading “My Puzzle Piece”

Food, life, memoir

Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives

I’m still on holiday/vacation in my suburban Chicago home town. For those of you who missed the other installments, check here.

Since we have mostly chain restaurants back in Florida, it’s the “mom & pop” places I prefer to frequent when I’m back home in Chicago. Some of you are familiar with Guy Fieri from the food network who travels to such places. This post will focus on one such place in the Chicago suburbs. Continue reading “Diners, Drive-in’s & Dives”

life, memoir, photography

The Old Stompin’ Grounds

Perhaps you read about my road trip 1 from Florida back to my home town in the Chicago area. Well, I’m here and thought I’d show you the suburb where I grew up.

Even though there are suburbs on top of suburbs which makes it quite an urban area, my little suburb is called a village. Mom and I took a ride into the middle of the village, and I thought I’d share the photos I took. Continue reading “The Old Stompin’ Grounds”

life, memoir, Sports

This Time of Year

This is the time of year I start to get nostalgic, and sometimes melancholy.

Where I grew up in the Midwest, my family and I spent Sundays watching football. We were die-hard fans, even when our team was losing and the games were blacked out. We listened to them on the radio when that happened. Younger Bears fans probably couldn’t imagine Soldier Field not selling out and subsequent blackouts. Continue reading “This Time of Year”

life, memoir

Hallway Angel

Hallway Angel

by L. Virelli

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.”

Fleetwood Mac blared from my radio right as I tried to forget about tomorrow. I clicked off the lamp on the nightstand and climbed into bed. My first day of high school loomed like a monster hiding in my closet.

Middle school, or junior high as we called it, left me timid and unsure of myself. My mind drifted back to painful memories of shameful experiences I endured there.

“Did anyone ever tell you that you look like a boy?” Jeff Zimmer insulted me in Social Studies class.

Ouch! I thought my face looked droopy, but resembling a boy never occurred to me. I kept my tawny hair feathered and flowing, wore dangly jewelry and hip-hugger pants with floral shirts. Mom even let me wear blush on my cheeks in the eighth grade. She always knew of ways to make me look nice, and showed me how to use a device to curl my naturally long eyelashes. How many boys’ eyelashes fluttered as pretty as mine?

“Yeah, she just might really be a boy,” Randy Black joined in on the teasing, “cause I heard she stuffs her bra.”

“Ha! DiNardi stuffs!” Jeff shouted.

Our teacher, Mr. Martin, clomped into the room on his clown feet, belly hanging over his belt. “Okay, guys, sit down. DiNardi isn’t clever enough to think of such a plot to fool you all. She can’t even get simple geography questions answered correctly.”

I shook in my seat a little and remained quiet, knowing full well if I agitated the teacher he’d make things worse. He might throw his softball-sized masking-tape ball at me. He played catch for fun during class sometimes, and also used it for taunting on occasion.

After Social Studies, I skulked through the ancient halls of the amber brick building. The high walls needed a fresh coat of eggshell, and the mustard tile was almost worn right through. An overcast sky outside the large windows of my next classroom added to the gloomy mood of the school. Mr. Tison, with his under-bite and mocking eyes, also seemed to take pleasure in intimidating students like me. “DiNardi, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you and your friend Looney during study hall,” he warned.

He used the rhyme for my friend, Lisa’s last name, Rooney. The kids latched on and we became Looney and Stuffy. The name-calling didn’t stop there. They teased Lisa for being “flat as a board,” and my height brought on Wizard of Oz munchkin jokes.

Between teachers without dedication or compassion, and daily belittling, my grades suffered.

When I got home from school that day, Grandma visited. She commented how my new hip-huggers with the wide, white belt hugged my “cute little figure.”

“Yeah, right,” I groaned. I knew she just wanted to cheer me up after seeing my mopey face. “I’m ugly.”

Grandma turned her head toward my dad. Her teased hair never moved under layers of hairspray. “Did you hear what your daughter said? She thinks she’s ugly.”

Dad peeked up from his newspaper and spoke in his thick Chicago accent. “Just wait’ll you get to high school, kid. All the boys’ll be going after you.”

I rolled my eyes. “You have to say that, you’re my dad.” I’d never find a boyfriend with my stubby, munchkin body.

I broke myself out of those humiliating memories and switched off the radio playing Fleetwood Mac, but the silence made it worse. Rabid thoughts grew like vines and wrapped hold of my brain. High school held hundreds more students to point and laugh.

Though I got little sleep, sparked nerves kept my body moving the next day. I wasn’t alone. My best friend and neighbor, Nancy, and I shared our first-day fears on the ride to school.

Nancy and I (right) on our 8th grade graduation day. I’m as dorky as Sue Heck from the TV show The Middle.

The bus jerked to a stop, and the doors folded open. We didn’t use backpacks, so a purse strap hung over my shoulder and notebooks rested on my hip. One slow step at a time, I planted my feet on the sidewalk. My eyes widened as the school towered before me like a mountain. Would I remember how to get to my classes?

The building was also old but cleaner and more modern than the junior high. The off-white tile and light-green lockers brightened up the alleyways. It didn’t feel dark and dingy at all. It even smelled of books instead of mildew, like the other place.

Wearing a crew-cut, plump Mr. Weslowsky glowed with enthusiasm in my first class, Algebra. Patient and perky, he made sure every single student understood the problem on the board, including me! How different from those mean and insensitive teachers from my last few years!

After Algebra, the crowded corridors both frightened and energized me. I soaked in the sights of students … noisy, shy, fashionable or gaudy. Some looked like adults too old for high school, others seemed small enough to be in grade school.

Around the corner to my locker, I carefully dialed in my code. The first bell rang, reminding us to get to our next class. Murmuring students shuffled by, as I switched out folders and clanked my locker shut. I spun around to head toward English class and almost bumped into someone. The boy stood there in front of me like a wall, staring. Folding my arms around the books at my chest, I stepped past him. He followed alongside, his steady glare fixed on me. This is all I need, even more boys from a new school picking on me.

His serious gaze changed into a grin. “Hi, my name is Joe Fontana. I’m a sophomore. What’s your name?”

“I’m Lori.” I smiled, trying to hide my uneasiness. Boys didn’t tend to seek me out for friendly chit-chat.

“I think you’re a pretty girl, but I’m sure you’ve heard that before,” he said as if it were a fact.

Aware of my face turning red with heat, my mind blanked out. I couldn’t think of what to say next. By the time the words “thank you” popped into my head, I feared I might choke on them and remained silent.

He didn’t seem to take notice and sounded friendly. “Nice to meet you, Lori. Guess I’ll see ya around.”

Watching him disappear among the teenagers, my cheeks cooled down. He was cute! His wavy black hair swooped down over his forehead like Sylvester Stallone in the movie Rocky. He wore a tight black Rolling Stones tongue t-shirt with jeans. His warm, dark eyes expressed genuine interest. Could Dad have been right?

In the following days when Joe passed me in the hallways he’d say, “Hi, Lori, how ya doin’?” or “Hey, beautiful.” He didn’t stop to talk with me again, and nothing more came of it. But his frequent compliments boosted my self-esteem.

Joe’s simple acts gave me the courage to bat my curled eyelashes at the boy in Science class who always looked my way. Tom’s eyes were like blue crystals. I even flirted with him when he finally spoke to me. He became my first boyfriend and first kiss. The poor guy never stood a chance once I got my groove. It wasn’t long before I dumped him for a different Tom, and then a Chuck. Dad was right!

I should’ve listened to more of the prophetic lyrics of Fleetwood Mac’s song on the night before my first day. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

It did turn out better than before, because my teenage life exploded, and my grades improved too. I’m pretty sure it all started with an angel named Joe Fontana.

More stories like these can be found in my memoir anthology, Home Avenue.

Sorry, no pic of Joe. This is Tom and I, 9th grade homecoming. I still look a bit awkward yet, with my goofy braces, but give it time. 😉 (And, yes, it’s the same dress as graduation. Why wear it just once?)

life, memoir, writing

The Story of Lori’s Lane

I walked down the lane … I looked at the moon … the moon looked at me and …

Those words were the inspiration for the title of my blog … the title of my life.

It all began when I was … oh … two or three years old. Dad used to make up songs and sing them to me. I loved those songs. He made up the lyrics and the melody for the song above in italics. At the end when “the moon looks at me,” he would stick his tongue out and make the raspberry sound. Continue reading “The Story of Lori’s Lane”

Food, life, memoir

Mom’s Stuffed Artichokes

Since I write memoirs, and I discuss cooking with my Italian family in my memoir anthology, here’s some more talk on food.

Don’t know where my mom got this recipe, but I remember it from my childhood and now make it for us at home. It’s really easy to make, but it does take some prep time. This recipe is for two medium to large artichokes. If you’re making more, add ingredients and some prep time.

2 medium to large artichokes
1 garlic clove minced
1 1/3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup to 1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
water for boiling

Continue reading “Mom’s Stuffed Artichokes”

memoir, thoughts, writing

Everyone Writes

I’ve been writing since I was nine-years-old, but I wasn’t a writer.

As and adult, I used some poignant words that connected to some readers, but those readers were people I knew. I hadn’t shared it with too many others, probably because I knew deep down, I really wasn’t a writer … not quite yet anyway.

Everyone writes. Most people probably write in emails and at work every day. Oh, and texting, we’re such good writers at texting, aren’t we? Continue reading “Everyone Writes”

life, memoir, thoughts

Grandma’s Thursday

I hadn’t planned on posting this Thursday, but then decided I wanted to share something special to me.

Some people might remember their loved ones who’ve past away on their birthday, or on the day they died. I tend to remember my Grandma on this Thursday every year. It’s not her birthday which is September 13th, nor is it the day she died, December 4th.  It’s also not this date, April 5th, that has any significance. It is today … a Holy day … the Thursday before Easter, that always brings back sweet memories of my Grandma. Continue reading “Grandma’s Thursday”