Set in the steamy equatorial rain forest of Nicaragua, "Tropical Depression" tells a poignant, touchingly funny tale of a young couple, Lupe and Ascensión Guzman, who, after being deported from the United States, have returned to their jungle village of Krukrulitos at the foot of the percolating volcano Momotombo. Here they struggle to readjust to life under one roof with Ascensión's overbearing, over-opinionated, up-in-your-business extended family where emotions are always simmering and the roost is ruled by the family's iron-willed matriarch.
by Patti Liszkay
available it on Amazon:
Last month I posted a blog on the wonderful Irish band that played every Sunday evening on the patio of the Blarney Stone Tavern (see post from 6/11/2023, https://www.ailantha.com/blog/the-blarney-stone-tavern-irish-patio-band),
...of which my good friend Carol, a brilliant Irish fiddler, is a member.
Recently the band moved their Sunday evening performance location from The Blarney Stone to the Smokehouse Brewing Company, a microbrewery and barbeque eatery located in the Columbus suburb of Grandview Heights.
On July 16 my mate Tom and I met some friends there to hear the band play in their new digs and to eat some barbeque.
The interior of the Smokehouse Brewing Company has a friendly brew pub décor,
...and a great area for the band to play and for the audience to enjoy the still wonderful traditional Irish music,
...created by the fiddlers,
...and players of the accordion,
...banjo and guitar,
...and an Irish drum called the Bodhran.
It was in the music room close to the band that most of the diners had gathered,
...and where we likewise joined our friends for dinner,
...and happily discovered that the food was yummy and the portions copious.
Among us we had the brisket platter,
...the brisket sandwich loaded with onion straws,
...and the brisket and chicken sampler.
The drinkers among us (myself not included) opted to try the dark brews, which they pronounced very good.
And so we spent a lovely evening tapping our feet to lively jigs,
...or listening to the beautiful ballads led by the band's Irish tenor.
For the information of any music-lovers who live in the Columbus area, the band now plays at several venues during the week.
How lucky we are here in Columbus to be gifted with such a musical gem.
...Continued from yesterday:
As promised yesterday, here's the second of two blogs I wrote years ago on the role of Barbies in my young life. This one tells of my membership in a group of girls who still played with Barbies into the onset of our teenage years.
This blog was originally posted on March 6, 2014.
One of my adult attempts at making a dress for my daughter's Barbie.
At 13 I was still playing Barbies. Oh, I had other interests, too: Girl Scouts, Beatles, of course (big time!), and joining in pick-up games of soft ball at the playground or the not-yet-occupied section of the cemetery around the corner, touch foot-ball in my back yard, or half-court basketball in anybody's driveway that had a basketball hoop. Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia we were city kids, hither and yon all day long at some occupation or other.
But here's the thing: I wasn't very good at team sports. Not that I didn't like running around with everybody else, but I was on the timid side and just could never seem to work up any real passion about winning or losing. And there was one awesome basketball player in our 'hood who systematically hurt my tender feelings by her high-handed attitude regarding my lack of prowess on the driveway.
(I recall this same girl one day yelling at my best friend Michelle during a game.
"Dribble, Michelle, dribble!" she yelled. Wonderful Michelle stopped where she was, let go of the ball, and started dribbling [spit!] on the spot!).
Ah, but at games of Barbie we shone, Michelle and I, along with a few others in our little Barbie coalition: Michelle's sister Mimi, our friend Judy, and occasionally a pretty friend of Judy's whose name I don't recall (forgive me, Judy's pretty friend!).
Of course, playing Barbies at 13 was a more advanced variation of the 8-year-old's version. We were more into the clothes than anything, I think. One of our mothers made the auspicious discovery of a local woman who sewed Barbie dresses. Fifty cents for a short dress or a dollar for a long gown. We of the Barbie crowd believed we'd discovered a gold mine! The dresses were all of the same style and cut: bodice and shoulder straps, full puffy skirt at the waist, snaps at the back. But the dresses fit our Barbies' svelt forms perfectly, and what beautiful materials this lady used on her miniature creations! I remember that for my 13th birthday someone (probably Michelle) gave me one of these dresses, a ball gown in pink lace that was just too lovely for words.
So we dressed our Barbies and, budding seamstresses that we all were back in the days when girls still sewed (I know, many still do), sometimes we sat around sewing our own primitive little Barbie doll outfits: a wide circle of material with a hole in the center and a snap made do for a skirt and a long rectangle folded in half with a neck hole cut across the fold and indentations cut along the sides then sewn up made a respectable blouse. Then there were the matching scarves, shawls, sashes and belts that we could all manage to produce, sitting and chatting away the time in our little doll sewing circles.
I seems to me that by the time I'd reached 12 or so we seldom actually got around to playing with our dolls anymore, but what we more tended to do was dress up and set up the dolls, then together make up characters and story lines with dialogue, as in: "Let's say this is Karlene. Let's say she's just had a big fight with her best friend, Joanne, and really wants to get back together but Joanne won't talk to her, so..." etc, etc, etc. We'd decide upon our plot, pass some dialogue back and forth, then when the story was resolved to our satisfaction we'd put our dolls away. I remember once getting caught by Judy trying to pass off a story line I'd seen the night before on the Patti Duke show on TV. Judy had seen the show, too, but we all thought it was basically a good story so we tweaked the dialogue a little then went with it.
A word about Barbie's other half, the Ken doll: you know, I don't remember any of us having much interest in Ken. We all had several Barbies and maybe one Ken doll apiece if that, but he more or less sat on the sidelines, one Ken doll in a harem of Barbies. We took even less interest in Barbie's "little sister", a doll named Skipper. It was Barbie who ruled the game.
So go figure this: for all the hours I spent playing Barbies during my formative years, I've always hated getting dressed up myself. Never could be bothered with it.
But I do still love making up characters and writing dialogue.
Like A Good Laugh? Like A Good Cry?
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTPN7NYY
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.