These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Month: May 2013 (page 1 of 2)

Two Degrees of Al Capone

The diamond we bought from one of Chicago's most famous and beloved jewelers!

The diamond we bought from one of Chicago’s most famous and beloved jewelers!

My husband bought my engagement ring while we were living in Chicago in the late 1990s. It was from an 80-year old jeweler who was, as it turns out, quite well known along jeweler’s row.

His name was Sherm Tucker.


His office was in the famous Mallers Building in Chicago along Jeweler’s Row on Wabash. All I can remember is we had to go in this sketchy door, down a long hallway, and in an elevator that looked like it had been there since the time of Jesus. His “store” if you can call it that, was in the back room of the building. He carefully pulled out diamonds, one by one, draped in black velvet. He handled them with such care you would have thought they were newborn babies.

But this guy knew his stuff.

He talked to us as if we knew nothing. Which of course was completely accurate. He taught us more than just the four C’s when shopping for a diamond. He taught us to really pay attention and to know what we could afford. He was sweet and kind, but also very sharp for a man in his 80s.

We chose a lovey marquis cut and although it’s been reset, it still makes me smile.

Sherm Tucker has become part of our wedding lore. His name pops up occasionally and can instantly make us smile.

When an acquaintance recently got engaged, my husband decided to Google Sherm Tucker just for the heck of it. Turns out, he lived a great long life and passed away last year at the age of 95. There’s a lovely write up of him in the Tribune.

Turns out also – that his family lore says famed gangster Al Capone bought a diamond belt buckle from Sherm Tucker.

Which of course means that I’m technically two degrees from Al Capone.

I’ll bet I’m closer than Kevin Bacon is.

How I Scored a Free Kindle Fire

You know those timeshare presentations that you have to sit through for hours and hours only so you can get the free gifts they offer?

Well it turns out they offer them for residential real estate too. Now, I’m not one that just wants the free gifts (omg yes I am), but I have to say this offer was enticing. So enticing in fact, that we ended up doing it!

We visited beautiful Eagle Rock, PA over Memorial Day weekend. Nestled in the gorgeous Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, at the crossroads of I-81 and I-80, Eagle Rock is a little bit of nature-heaven right here on earth. The mountain were stunning, the trees were that dark, woodsy green and the lakes were sparkling. There were beautiful log cabin homes and the air was so invigorating that I swear I was on one constant ‘inhale’ just to suck in as much goodness as I could.

We arrived Sunday. Our tour was set for the next morning, so that left us the afternoon and evening to play a bit. The hotel was gorgeous. Service was so-so. Our room had a private balcony with a sweeping view of the Blue Mountains. Breathtaking. Deer roamed free and trotted across roads and hillsides with grace.

We visited one of the two lakes on the property and the girls kicked off their shoes and played in the sand for a while and took advantage of the nearby playground. And there was a stable nearby filled with gorgeous horses. It was restful and peaceful and lovely.

Dinner was yummier since we had a gift certificate that covered nearly 90% of the bill. And our jacuzzi-size tub made for a relaxing evening 🙂

The next morning was the tour. And it was uncomfortable. We drove around in the sales guy’s car while he pointed to empty lots. And my lovely two year old was being every ounce of “two” that she could be. If you know what I mean.

Bottom line? We saw lots. Bought nothing. Chased said two year old around the guy’s office. Turned him down gently twice and not so gently once. Got our free Kindle Fire and a free set of golf clubs (score!) and drove home.

OMG. Are we horrible people?

kindle fire

Open Adoption Blog Hop #4: What’s the Last Book You Read?

I’m not afraid to admit the last book I read was “Bad Habits” by Jenny McCarthy. What can I say? The woman makes me laugh.


Each month the Open Adoption Blog Hop poses a different question to get us bloggers talking so we can get to know one another and meet new bloggers. When I saw this month’s topic, I cringed at first. I figured I should be reading something really classy like Anna Karenina or something by Jane Austen. But no. In all honesty, the last book I finished was on my Kindle and it was “Bad Habits.”

And I loved it.

For those who don’t know, Jenny was raised in a very strict Catholic home. She attended Catholic school and confused all the nuns and a few priests with her incessant questioning of Catholic doctrine. It just didn’t make sense to her. She talks about the guilt she felt when she posed for Playboy. And about how much she tried to reconcile being a good girl and trying to get into heaven when everyone around her – priests included – were living a less than saintly life.

She loves Jesus and still has her faith, but she isn’t tied to a particular church right now. She’s more spiritual and has adopted many practices of the Buddhist tradition. But she holds true to her roots in the traditions of Catholicism – rather than the rigid man-made rules that she believes are confusing and misleading.

She also tells one especially hilarious story about how she got to wear the Pope’s hat. I am so not kidding here. She was with a bunch of other playmates at a shoot in Italy and, well, you’ll have to read about it.

This book made me laugh so hard tears rolled down my face. A book hasn’t done that for me in…um…a book has NEVER done that to me!

Stop judging me and go pick up a copy. Trust me. You’ll love it.

My Untold Story

A few posts ago, I mentioned the documentary I was asked to participate in about motherhood. Well, it’s a done deal now. The commercials are airing on Oxygen and apparently my less than flattering still shot is on the home page of Lovely.

Anyway, here’s the two minute YouTube clip.

I certainly have no desire to become the poster child for open adoption. Mainly because I think it means different things to different people. But I was happy to be part of this larger storytelling effort.

Virtual Insanity or Marketing Brilliance at Amy’s Baking Company

This post asks an important question – is any exposure considered good exposure? Something for small and large businesses to consider. Kind of makes me think of the whole Abercrombie and Fitch debacle. That CEO couldn’t possibly be that stupid…could he?

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