Stay Tuned: Conversations with Dad from the Other Side

Overview

Television journalist Jenniffer Weigel takes readers on a humorous, yet deeply moving journey as she struggles to find her own spiritual path during the illness and death of her father, popular sportscaster Tim Weigel.

During his illness, while Tim turns to alternative treatments like chi gong and reiki sessions, Jenniffer reads Neale Donald Walsch, starts a spiritual diet plan, and uses the law of attraction to find free parking spaces. After his death, she does everything she ...

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Stay Tuned: Conversations with Dad from the Other Side

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Overview

Television journalist Jenniffer Weigel takes readers on a humorous, yet deeply moving journey as she struggles to find her own spiritual path during the illness and death of her father, popular sportscaster Tim Weigel.

During his illness, while Tim turns to alternative treatments like chi gong and reiki sessions, Jenniffer reads Neale Donald Walsch, starts a spiritual diet plan, and uses the law of attraction to find free parking spaces. After his death, she does everything she can to have one more conversation with her dad from the "other side."

Stay Tuned is a witty, irreverent trip through popular spiritual beliefs and the insights of masters and celebrities, including conversations with don Miguel Ruiz, James Van Praagh, Caroline Myss, Depak Chopra, and Russell Crowe. This is the funny, heart-breaking, and touching story of one skeptical journalist's transformation from "cynical daughter" to "spiritual woman."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Jenniffer takes you on a fun ride. Enjoy the journey into self-awareness and have a good laugh along the way." -- James Van Praagh, author of Talking to Heaven
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571746696
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,494,468
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenniffer Weigel is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. She is the author of I'm Spiritual Dammit!. She lives in Chicago. Visit her at: www.staytunedwithjen.com

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Read an Excerpt

Stay Tuned

CONVERSATIONS WITH DAD FROM THE OTHER SIDE


By Jenniffer Weigel

Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Jenniffer Weigel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57174-551-4



CHAPTER 1

The Psychic in the Farmhouse


You're late again," said Miss Zells with a frown. My first-grade teacher never smiled. She was German, and spoke with a thick accent. She used to pull Pat Yanakis up by the ear when he wouldn't behave. In today's world, Miss Zells would be a walking lawsuit. In the 1970s, she was just the teacher who whacked you in the head with a ruler when you misbehaved.

"Find a partner and get in line. Ve cannot vait any longer!" she yelled.

I was always late to school in first grade, but on this day, it was more of a problem than usual. We were going on a field trip to Lamb's Farm. The bus was ready to be loaded, and everyone was standing in a row with a buddy partner.

I looked around the room for my best friend, Carolyn. She was already standing with Ali. Cathy had Nicole. Elliot had Joey. Everyone was spoken for. Except for Jason Weitlespock. He was the class nerd, and was at the end of the line, standing by himself.

"Your partner vill be Jason!" Miss Zells commanded.

Everyone snickered as I walked toward him. I rolled my eyes in an effort to salvage my position as a member of the Pink Ladies, a gang Ali Stone had started in honor of Pinky Tuscadero from the TV show Happy Days. It had taken me weeks to get admitted, and I didn't want to blow my status because I had to sit on the bus with Jason Weitlespock.

He was so bundled up, he looked like Randy from A Christmas Story. I saw his scarf pulled around his hood, and realized I was terribly underdressed for an outdoor field trip. It was an unusually cold day in November, and I had no gloves, hat, or scarf.

Jason looked over at me, eyeing the Koolaid stain on my right sleeve. "Where are your gloves?" he asked. He seemed shocked that I was allowed to leave the house without them. "I was in a hurry," I said, embarrassed that I had no winter wardrobe and was wearing a dirty jacket to boot.

I looked at Jason's hands. He was clutching his "Superfriends" lunchbox with his Bugs Bunny mittens. He might have been the target of every bully in the school, but in that moment, I wished that we could trade lives. He was so ... put together. I looked down at my brown paper bag. Inside there was a bologna sandwich and a bag of Cheetos. No drink. I started to wonder what kind of lunch was tucked away inside the "Superfriends." If his mom spent so much time making sure her son was fully layered, she probably gave him homemade cookies. My envy was growing by the second.

I wonder if he has enough to share.

Jason looked at my hands again. Then he looked at his. He slowly took off one of his mittens and handed it to me.

"Here. I don't need them both," he said.

I never made fun of Jason Weitlespock again.

"Wow ..." my little sister said, soaking in every word of my story. Teddi, who was five going on twenty-five, was being teased for hanging out with one of the unpopular kids who had gone through chemotherapy treatments. I figured my first-grade flashback was just what she needed to hear.

"Did the other kids keep making fun of Jason after that?" she asked.

"Unfortunately yes, sweetie. The bullies didn't leave him alone. Kids can be very cruel."

"That's SOOO MEAN!" she cried. "Why do we have bullies anyway?"

I looked into her big brown eyes. It's amazing to me that when my dad and his third wife told me that I was going to be a big sister at the age of twentythree, I was less than excited. Of course, now I couldn't imagine my life without Teddi, but at the time, I remember thinking, You already screwed up two kids, Dad. Why would you want to mess up another?

My dad wanted to be a good father to my older brother and me, but it didn't exactly fit in with his career plans. He worked late hours at the newspaper and socialized late into the night, always sleeping when I was heading off to school. My parents divorced when I was five, and we spent the weekends with him. He never made it to a parent / teacher conference or spelling bee because of his weird hours. It wasn't until I was out of college that we really started to spend time together. Those moments were mostly spent late at night in bars—but hey, it was better than nothing.

When Teddi came around, my dad was professionally established enough to be able to take time off for things like school plays. He was totally present for Teddi in a way that he was not for me. At first I resented it. I would see him with the video camera at Teddi's recitals and think, Where were you for me, you jerk?

As an adult, I now realize that both he and my mom did the best they could at the time. Just because I didn't have Bugs Bunny mittens didn't mean my parents didn't love me.

"The good news is that most of the people who are bullies in grade school wind up being dorks in high school," I explained to Teddi, thinking back on two boys in particular who peaked in the third grade. "You won't have to deal with these kids when you get older," I added. She seemed relieved at this news.

"Do they have bullies in Heaven, Jenny?" Teddi asked.

The question surprised me, but then I remembered asking my mom if they had leotards in Heaven when I was Teddi's age. You want to believe that if you die and have to go somewhere, at least the place will be stocked with dancing supplies and nice people.

"No, sweetie," I said. "I don't think any mean people are allowed in Heaven."

"Well, then, where is Grandpa going to go when he dies?" she asked, matter-of-factly. My smart little sister had noticed that her grandpa was one of the meanest men on the planet. "Will he go to Hell?" she asked worriedly.

John Weigel was a bitter, lonely man who got more joy out of taunting a telemarketer than most people get out of winning the lottery. While he was the kind of guy who didn't bother to learn his grandchildren's names, he wasn't a murderer—so I doubted he would be an automatic shoo-in for the afterlife's fiery inferno.

"I don't know, sweetie," I said, not wanting to have to explain what my idea of Hell actually was. "Maybe there's a special place for people like Grandpa," I continued, thinking that it would have to be a lot like Hell, knowing how many people he pissed off over the years, but a little less severe. "Like Hell Lite."

"What's a hell light?" she queried, confused.

"Never mind," I answered, suddenly remembering that she was only five. I didn't want to get a lecture later from my dad about filling Teddi's head with ideas about the afterlife.

What happens when we die has always been an obsession with me. When I was her age, I remember having a hunch that there was more to life than what we could see, hear, or feel. At the age of four, I had a sixth sense that I couldn't explain. I would get feelings when I'd walk into old buildings as if I'd been there before, but never knew why. I could tell right away after meeting people whether they were good or had ill intentions. I would get an incredible stomachache just before something bad was going to happen.

I told my parents these things, but they were too busy dealing with their divorce to do anything about it. Once after I spent a few days curled up on the couch with another premonitory bellyache, my mom took me to the family doctor. He concluded that I was making up my symptoms for attention.

I decided that I would never share these things with my parents again for fear that they'd take me back to the doctor, who thought I was full of crap.

I eventually outgrew the stomachaches, but those hunches I had about people came in handy when I grew up and became a television journalist. I never talked about it; a reporter is all about the facts. There's no room for "woo-woo" bullshit.

"When I grow up, can I be a reporter too?" Teddi asked.

"I hope not, sweetie," I said, wanting to shield her from the stresses and curses of being in "the family business," just as my dad tried to save me.

"Do me a favor," he used to say. "When it comes time to make a career choice, be a teacher. You'll get tenure," my dad always said. He was a sportscaster and journalist for twenty-five years, and his father (the crabass) was an announcer for CBS who founded his own television station in the 1960s in Chicago. I started as a traffic reporter a couple years after college. You'd have thought I told Dad I was joining the circus when I broke the news to him.

"Traffic? You are going to do TRAFFIC?!" he screamed.

"I'll get health insurance!" I told him. After years of waiting tables and doing Shakespeare for audiences of ten, health insurance sounded pretty damn good.

"What does it pay?" he asked.

People have a huge misconception that those who work in radio and television are making tons of money. I was one of those people, until I got my first job. My dad knew the reality. You can only get paid the big bucks if you've been doing it for a while. There I was in the third-biggest market, reporting on traffic and news to thousands of commuters every day, and I was being paid a whopping seven bucks an hour. They actually made me sign a contract for that tiny amount. It was all about paying my dues, so I was willing to do whatever it took.

"This business is nothing but headaches," he would always say. "You should have listened to me and gone the teaching route."

I looked down at Teddi, the young girl who wanted to save the world.

"You just keep being nice to the kids at school that nobody else will talk to, and then reporters will want to do stories on you someday," I said.

"Maybe I'll be a movie star instead," she said. I briefly pictured her strolling on the red carpet ten years down the road. She'd probably be walking arm in arm with George Clooney, who would still look like the "Sexiest Man Alive."

"Let's get through grade school first, and then we'll talk," I told her.

So I didn't take my dad's advice, and went full steam ahead into broadcasting. Little did I know that through my jobs, I would also get to explore another topic that I found fascinating: people who say they talk to the dead. The first time I encountered a medium was when I was hired to work with Danny Bonaduce. It was the mid-1990s, and I was the news anchor for his morning radio show out of Chicago.

"Good Morning!" he would scream, as he entered the studio every day. He began each morning with a Mexican coffee, tequila and all. He was supposedly on the wagon, but apparently that was only for cocaine use. Just drinking booze without the hard drugs as a chaser was a victory that he bragged about often.

While Danny was a maniac, he always treated me with respect. I was just amazed that someone could be paid so much money to goof off.

He had a revolving door of guests, which included everyone from celebrities and authors to psychics and mediums. One of my more memorable days on the job involved an interview with a woman who claimed she could chat with your dead relatives.

When she and Danny started off their phone conversation, she told him that one of his dead family members jumped out of a window to her death because she was overmedicated and disoriented. He revealed that he did have a relative who died by plunging from a window. He and his wife had always thought it was a suicide. He seemed amazed that the woman nailed the specifics of her demise.

"You have any relatives who croaked, Jen?" Danny asked me. "If so, speak now, or you'll never know the lottery numbers!"

The only dead relative I had of note was my granny, Virginia, who passed away in 1986 from cancer. This was my dad's mom, and she was a big part of my childhood.

"Yes. I have a grandmother," I said, not wanting to say too much.

"She is very happy that you have her rings," the medium said. While it was true that I wore Granny's wedding bands, I figured that every dead grandma leaves jewelry behind. I wasn't blown out of the water by this revelation.

"That's it?!" Danny said, disappointed that I didn't have any other ghosts in my closet. "Nobody else dead that you'd like to talk to?" he asked.

"Thankfully, no," I said.

"Bummer," he said. "I guess we'll have to say goodbye to our medium then."

While the conversation piqued my curiosity, I wasn't totally convinced that I'd had a brush with the dead. The medium was right on with Danny, however, so the door of possibility had been propped open.

After I had spent only a few months on the job with Danny, he was offered a ton of money to host a show from Detroit and decided to move. My boss shuffled me around from host to host, and I couldn't find my niche. I was beginning to lose hope, but didn't want to say anything to my dad for fear of getting the "I told you so" speech.

"You need to come and see Denise," my friend Jacquey told me. "She will be able to tell you what your next gig will be. She's really good." Denise Guzzardo was a psychic in Rockford; Jacquey's mother had been going to her for years for guidance.

"How much is she?" I asked, not thrilled with the idea of spending my meager salary on a psychic.

"Thirty-five bucks. Come on. I'll drive," she said. "What do you have to lose?"

I told Jacquey not to give Denise my name so that there was no way she could do a background check on me, just in case she knew someone who listened to my morning traffic reports. We decided to make a day out of it, and took the hour-and-a-half drive out of the city one Saturday to get our readings.

When we pulled up to Denise's home, I was hesitant yet excited at the same time. Her cozy farmhouse looked like an animal shelter; there were three dogs that I could count, a bird, and at least a couple of cats. I was struck by how petite Denise was. I had pictured a huge woman sitting in a corner with a turban on her head. This was a size 2 mother of two with blonde hair who chain-smoked Parliaments and had light-blue eyes that seemed to look straight through you. We sat down at her table, where she took out her tarot cards.

"If you want privacy, I can go run an errand or something," Jacquey said.

"Don't be silly," I said. "I need someone here so I can remember everything."

Jacquey and I sat quietly as Denise started shuffling her cards, and stared off to my right. I guess it was her way of getting into a zone.

"When is your birthday?" she asked.

"October 6," I told her.

She continued to shuffle, and then turned over a few cards. One of the dogs started barking, which almost made me jump out of my chair. Denise didn't even flinch.

What are you barking at? I wondered. Nobody was at the door. Do my spirit guides have something against German Shepherds?

"So, you're in communications," Denise said with certainty. "You work in the media?"

"I guess you could say that," I replied.

She continued to turn over cards.

"In August, an opportunity will arise for you with your current job that will take you to the next level. You will get a partner that you really like working with. You will eventually wind up in television, doing entertainment," she said.

I had only been working in radio for about a year and a half. While I one day hoped it would take me to television, I had no direct plan on how to get there.

"Are you in television now?" she asked.

"No," I answered, reluctant to give her any more information. "I'm in radio."

"You will do all of it," she continued. "Television and writing will be taking over for you in the next couple of years. Stay with radio while you can, but keep your eyes and ears open for television opportunities. I see you on a television screen sitting at a desk."

I started thinking that Jacquey had slipped her some information. Denise didn't live in the Chicago area, so there was no way she could have heard me on the radio, and while Google may have just been invented, Denise didn't even have call-waiting on her phone line, let alone a computer with a dial-up Internet connection.

She then started dipping into my love life. I had just moved in with my husband-to-be, Clay, and I was curious to see if she could pick up anything about our future. Denise picked up her cigarette and took a long drag. Her eyes squinted through the smoke as she put down a couple more cards and slowly exhaled.

"The blonde gentleman in your life, he's an Aquarius, right?"

Damn, she's good!

"Yes."

"This is a good match for you."

I started dating Clay because he was everything my dad wasn't: consistent, monogamous, and affectionate. He wasn't a big partier, and didn't need to work too many hours. While it felt like my parents had been married thirty times, Clay's were married for thirty years.

"I see a ring. Oh wow, is this clear!" she said, jumping out of her seat. "Let me get a pencil so I can draw it for you."

While Clay and I had talked about marriage, I didn't think he was going to pop the question anytime soon.

"I don't know when, but this is what he is thinking about giving you," she said.

Denise brought out her pencil and paper, and started scribbling the most hideous-looking ring I could have ever imagined. Deep down, I was hoping she was either a really bad artist or totally wrong.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Stay Tuned by Jenniffer Weigel. Copyright © 2011 Jenniffer Weigel. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

1. The Psychic in the Farmhouse,
2. Broadcasting 101,
3. He Sees Dead People,
4. Take This Job And ...,
5. Sacred Contracts,
6. Happy Father's Day,
7. I'm Spiritual, Damn It!,
8. Remember My Name,
9. Brush Your Teeth Before You Go To Bed ...,
10. You Will Do Nothing And Like It ...,
11. Stay Tuned,

Afterword,

Acknowledgments,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    Impossible to put down

    I thought this would be a coming to terms tale of a daughter's loss, a tell all and her renewel. This first time author has written an incredibly uplifting book that leaves you with faith in yourself in truely positive, funny and poignant ways. My husband and my two adult children loved it. It is my Holiday gift of choice this year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Honest. Poignant. Hope-filled.

    I thought this was going to be the chronicle of a daughter's search for confirmation that there is something after this life. I was wrong. This is so much more. It is one of the most profound, honest, heart-wrenching love stories I've ever read. Sometimes it's laugh-out-loud funny. The next moment it's so poignant my heart weeps. All in all, it's filled with the wide range of emotions that accompanies the lost and found of a beloved father. I know, I've been there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2007

    A 'MUST READ' for anyone who has had a loss and is searching for answers

    This book has been such a help and inspirtation to me. I picked it up, started reading and couldn't put it down. It is written in such a 'down to earth' style that you feel you are sitting and chatting with a friend. It is filled with numerous wonderful insights and experiences. I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. I highly recommend this book. Warning: Leave your calendar open because once you start reading about her wonderful journey you will not be able to stop.

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