• Dads ring and bracelet
    Confessions,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Eight Months and Two Days

    Today is the day my dad’s cremains will be interred at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. It’s been eight months and two days since he died of COVID-19 complications, and just typing that out, “eight months and two days,” makes me bristle. Under normal circumstances, his funeral would have been within a week and not two-thirds of a whole year later. Under normal circumstances, he would most definitely still be alive today. Several hours after the honors ceremony at the cemetery, we will have a Celebration of Life dinner at a Holiday Inn, the location being my sister’s brilliant idea to honor a man who managed hotels, mostly Holiday…

  • Mustang June 2020
    Music,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Bitter Sweet Symphony

    A few months ago, I brought home my Dream Car, a red Mustang convertible. That full story is for another day but suffice it to say that I have wanted that car since I was 16 years old. The day I drove one home was, as you might guess, dreamy. My Dad loved my car. LOVED. IT. I remember the June day we drove it over to show my parents. Jim and I got out of the car and after I rang their doorbell, we stood way back (thanks, pandemic) so they could walk to the driveway and see it up close. My dad went around to the passenger side…

  • Irving Howard Witcoff
    Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    In Celebration of a Life Well Lived

    It’s very strange, thinking that the obituary you wrote for your Dad is one of your best pieces ever, but that’s where I’m at. While it’s always a challenge to try and capture someone’s essence in a few (okay, a lot of) paragraphs, I know I did a great job for him. I can hear him saying, “Way to go, Toots. I’m proud of you.” Irving Howard Witcoff, 78, of Chicago, died on December 25, 2020 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Irv was born on October 9, 1942 at Loretto Hospital in Chicago, Illinois and grew up on the west side. He attended Harper High School and was by all accounts a…

  • 3196DEED B155 4BC1 AFA9 E650C5ED9C07
    Family Fun,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz,  Travels

    A Scene on the Road

    Like so many other families, we’re on the road today. Jim and I are headed north with my parents and sister, in the same car. Usually we take two cars when we’re all together, so this is new. My dad and sister are in the two middle seats and my mom is in the back. It’s been a relatively quiet trip so far, but after our last pit stop things amped up a little bit. And by “things”, I mean my dad. My sister is trying to read her book, mom is crocheting, and I was playing a game on my phone. (Jim, driving.) Dad suddenly got bored so he started…

  • Childhood Memories,  Family Fun,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz,  UGH.

    Playing Horse

    Jim and I have been streaming the show “Welcome To Sweden”, which is an NBC sitcom produced by Amy Poehler (among others) and starring her younger brother Greg. It’s about a guy and his Swedish fiancee and the hijinks that ensue when they move from New York back to her home in Sweden. I find it hilarious, sweet, and extremely unique (subtitles!!), by the way, and Jim…does not. Anyway, while watching the show I have noticed Swedish Dala horses in the background. Seeing them on television made me remember the three-inch, red Dala horse that my mom used to have hanging on the living room wall above the couch. When…

  • My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Lessons Learned As A Hotel Manager’s Daughter

    Jim and I stayed in a hotel over the weekend and each time we left the room I followed my usual “tidying up for the housekeeper” protocol. Starting in the bathroom, I toss my cosmetics into my makeup bag and scoot that into the corner. I make sure our toothbrushes and toothpaste are off to the side, and put Jim’s stuff in a pile. Then I make sure that any towels we want to continue using are hung on the hook and any towels we no longer need are in a neat pile on the floor. I go back into the bedroom area and make sure all of our clothes…

  • Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Happy Retirement Birthday, Dad!

    My Dad, as I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure out from my post title, is celebrating his birthday AND retirement today. This is a huge milestone for him, and he’s been counting the days until his retirement for months now. (Although he’s “retiring” from his job as a full-time hotel manager, he will still be working, exact job TBD. He has a couple of irons in the fire!) He has been in the hotel business for more than thirty-five years, but did lots of things before that, from serving in the U.S. Army (Vietnam) to delivering mail for the U.S. Post Office to making balloon animals (pretty sure that…

  • Family Fun,  Food,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Retirement Party Surprise!

    Next month, my Dad turns seventy and retires from a long (37 years-ish?) and storied* career in the hospitality industry, hotel management to be more specific. He is looking forward to Retirement Day so much that he has been counting the days for months now. (His enjoyment of the countdown has been greatly aided because of what he’s had to deal with at work lately: pimps, hookers, and drug dealers. Yes, really.) We wanted to throw a party in honor of his retirement, and it just so happened that he and my Mom were coming to town last weekend for her 50th high school reunion. Perfect. My sister designed some…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz,  My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  My Mom Has Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting,  We Are An Awesome Couple

    Parenting Secrets From Behind the Tiara

    I wrote this post a couple of years ago, for a friend who needed a guest post on her blog. She has since shut down her site, so I thought I’d post it here! My husband Jim and I are successful parents. Really. If we were in Oprah’s magazine, our mad parenting skillz would be featured on her “What I Know For Sure” page. Of course we are not the only successful parents in the world, but we’re the only ones that matter…to our kids. I am happy to report that our boys are fine, upstanding young men–and it’s not only because we think so: that’s the general consensus from…

  • My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    You Da Man!

    Note: This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs, where all the cool kids are hanging out. (Moms are welcome over there!) I *might* even have a column called “Teen Angst” there. Welcome to my visitors from DB; thanks for stopping in! Today is a special day, and it’s just lucky that it falls on Fatherhood Friday this year: it’s my (and Julesie’s) Dad’s birthday! My Dad is a character; I’ve posted stories about him before, and he’s even done two posts here on his own! In honor of his birthday, I’m giving you a couple of links to posts that will make you smile, laugh, and quite…