Sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday. Sometimes a day gets away from you and you have to just let it go.
As I ended up having to let Thanksgiving go yesterday when the day unexpectedly took off in an direction of its own.
Our traditional Thanksgiving family game plan is that our out-of-town children who are able to come home for the holiday arrive the night before and on Thanksgiving morning we pile into our van and head to Amherst, Ohio to Tom's sister Mary Jane's house for a family reunion and the feast that Mary Jane always prepares for us.
But microbes care nothing for plans or traditions, and one of my visiting children woke up feeling sick and so decided to stay home rather than show up at Thanksgiving dinner with a bug to share.
And though she insisted that she would be fine and that we should all go without her, I decided to stay home and spend Thanksgiving with my sick chick.
But my chick wished only to spend the day lying on the couch and needed little from me except to bring her an occasional glass of Sprite, and so I found myself with a day to fill.
I felt at loose ends, though, like I should be doing something Thanksgiving-y, making a turkey dinner or something. But since I wasn't doing what I felt I should be doing, I couldn't seem to decide what I should be doing instead: Working on my novel? Balancing the check book? Putting away the laundry? Hanging a picture in the guest room? Researching new pieces for my piano students? Practicing the piano? Dusting the piano?
After spending the morning more or less spinning my wheels by afternoon I came up with the idea of spending the rest of the day:
1. Trying an experimental cherry cobbler recipe and
2. Getting a head start on a few desserts for my piano recital next Thursday, and maybe while I'm at it:
3. Practicing my recital piece
The only snag was that I'd need to run to the store to pick up the ingredients for the cobbler and the piano desserts.
Of course this wasn't a true snag - Kroger's was opened on Thanksgiving. But somehow I felt a wee bit funny going grocery shopping at a time when people were supposed to be with their families and friends eating or preparing turkey dinners. I wondered who, if anybody, would be at Krogers in the middle of the afternoon on Thanksgiving. Then it occurred to me that it would be interesting to find out.
Surprisingly, Krogers wasn't empty when I got there at around 2:00. People were shopping. So was I. It actually felt kind of liberating, freedom from convention. I wondered what all these people who, were not currently esconced in a turkey dinner were doing for dinner?
After I picked up my baking supplies - and some herb tea for my sick chick - I came home and, after making a nice fire:
...commenced my baking.
I started with the experimental cherry cobbler, which was actually just my recently-discovered Dollar Tree peach cobbler mix (see post from 11/14/2014 ) using canned sweet cherries in heavy syrup instead of peaches:
Except that I forgot to set the timer and then while the cobbler was baking I got all up in my practicing:
So that my experimental cherry cobbler over-cooked a little:
But ended up tasting pretty good anyway with a side of ice cream:
Still, I do think the peach was better.
Then I for the recital I made fancy brownies (not yet cut up) from a mix:
And, of course, my mini-cupcakes:
By the time the cupcakes were done it was evening, my daughter was feeling better and I felt I'd had a productive day. Another day to be thankful for.
Yesterday morning I arrived at the Y for my 9:30 yoga class to learn that our usual designated yoga room was closed for, I don’t know, cleaning, renovation, a meeting, something, so our class had been redirected to the gym.
Apparently the zumba class room was likewise out of order as the zumba class was also setting up in the gym, separated from the yoga class by a vast curtain that ran, floor to ceiling, down the middle of the gym. So we had our half and the zumbas had theirs.
Now, for the uninitiated, zumba, as far as I can tell from the snippets of classes I've peeked in on while hanging around the Y, is an aerobics workout to music with a fast and conspicuous beat. The morning zumba classes at the Y are always pretty crowded with of a mix of young working-at-home moms and golden-ish gals like myself, shaking it up, down, and all around, probably burning calories to beat the band.
We of the yoga persuasion, on the other hand, prefer to slowly expend what calories we may to the softer rhythms of Indian chanting and sitar music.
But it's all good. Except, as it turned out, when we have to share space.
No sooner had we rolled out our yoga mats and started our first asana, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, arms resting on our knees, our hands forming little mudras circles, when our soft, peaceful mood music was blasted away by the loud booming of the zumbas' rap music.
I think it wasn't so much that their music, loud as it was, was ear-shattering - I'd say it was a good one or two decibels short of painful - as that the vast acoustics of the gym caused the sound to expand, amplify, and reverberate off the floor, walls and ceiling, engulfing the whole place in a roiling sea of rap music. Which I guess is how the zumbas like it.
Me, I felt like my ears, eyes, nose, and teeth were filled with noise. I couldn't hear our yoga teacher's instructions and I certainly couldn't think.
And then it hit me: Hey, I can't think ... which means I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to be doing in yoga class: not thinking!
Yoga is meant to be a meditative experience, in which lies a good part of its benefit...provided one can shift one's mind into a meditative state, which I never can. No matter how I try I can never flip the "off" switch in my brain, not even during yoga class, at the beginning of which our teacher tells us to put our minds for the next hour between the last thought and the next thought. Those of my yoga classmates who can achieve the state of non-thinking say they come out of it feeling refreshed, as if they've gone on vacation for an hour.
And now here I was, finally not thinking, not able to think, all my thoughts blown away by the zumbas' rap music.
And yet my mind, though thought-free, was not empty. My brain-space was now being occupied by the image of a rapper, complete with sunglasses, diamond earrings, gold teeth and jewelry, a backwards baseball cap, low-slung gym shorts, hit-top sneakers and a turned-around baseball cap.
While the zumbas' music blaired I took visual cues from our teacher and flowed through my sun salutations, chatarungas, warrior poses and down-dogs, blissfully thought-free, the rapper in my mind singing and moving to the music and making those hand gestures, you know, with the two middle fingers bent.
Then a song came on with a solid boom, boom, boom beat, and the rapper was now marching through my brain spaces banging on a big bass drum.
When a samba song came on with a fast boom-chaka, boom-chaka rhythm my rapper started dancing a samba and his rapper-dude clothes transformed into a frillly-sleeved, bell-bottomed satin samba-dancer's outfit, complete with a Carmen Miranda turban piled high with grapes and bananas.
About halfway through the class our mild-mannered, gentle-natured ex-football-player yoga teacher left our class and entered the zumba class. A moment later the volume of their music dropped so drastically that we in the yoga class were once more enveloped in our soothing Indian music.
My mental rapper disappeared and I started thinking again.
But about five minutes later the zumbas must have decided to stand their ground, as the volume once more soared and the strains of "Zoot Suit Rocker" blasted to the stratosphere.
And here was my rapper again, now dressed in a checkered zoot suit with a fedora hat, gold watch and two-toned shoes and jitterbugging the thoughts out of my brain.
And so it went for the rest of my thought-free yoga-zumba class.
Now, this whole experience for me begs a question which I'd like to pose to my sister Romaine who is pursuing a degree in counseling:
Is there such a thing as noise therapy?
Last Saturday afternoon Tom and I were in Olive Garden partaking of the $7.99
endless-soup-salad-and-bread sticks lunch deal.
Which really is a deal even if, like me, you can't go more than one round of soup, salad, or bread sticks. Though actually I could probably have gone a few more rounds with the salad and the bread sticks- I love Olive Garden salad above all, it's my favorite salad on the planet, and who couldn't sing the praises of Olive Garden bread sticks 'til the cows come home? - had I opted to skip the soup, which by the end of the meal I was kind of wishing that I had.
Not that my soup was all that bad. It just wasn't all that good. I'd give it a mediocre. Or maybe a mediocre minus.
I had the pasta e fagiole, a tomato-y broth with ground beef, beans and little tube pastas, which bore a strong resemblance to Tom's minestrone, which was a tomato-y broth with vegetables, beans and little shell pastas. Neither soups, thought I, was worth having relinquished the opportunity to fill up on the salad and bread sticks.
However these decidedly unexceptional soups did remind me that I have an out-of-this world minestrone recipe which I clipped from the Columbus dispatch years ago and have slightly altered over the years, the memory of which inspired me to run to Kroger's and buy the necessary ingredients for a batch, which I made the other day for Sunday supper and which became a celebratory repast after the Cleveland Browns won against the Atlanta Falcons. (See yesterday's post). Had the Browns lost it would have been consolation comfort food.
I feel about football the same way I feel about drinking and chocolate: I don't care for any of those things, but wish I did, because people who do like those things seem to enjoy them so much.
Especially football. I can't think of anything I do that gives me the up-down roller-coaster rush that football fans get from watching their team in action.
But then I never did like roller coasters, even when I was young. And I've never had a team. I don't know how it feels to have a team. I don't know how it feels to care.
Which is strange, considering that I've lived most of my adult life in Columbus, Ohio, a city that eats, sleeps, breathes, sweats and weeps Ohio State football, where we residents refer to ourselves as "Buckeyes" in support of the team, and where life as we know it stops on Saturday afternoons when the Ohio State Buckeyes are playing.
"Go Bucks!" is a common and acceptable form of greeting in Columbus during football season. I say "Go Bucks!" myself.
But I say it just to be sociable, and the words come from my mouth, not, alas, from my heart. While the rest of the city writhes in Buckeye Fever I remain strangely cool.
But we don't revel only in Buckeye Fever in Columbus.
Columbus is a fairly cosmopolitan place - it seems like almost everyone you meet is from somewhere else; people move here then their children grow up and move away to be replaced by more people from somewhere else. Maybe this is why we're such a polite city. (see blog post from 9/11/14 and 9/12/14).
And since we don't have an NFL team of our own here in Columbus, everyone carries with them loyalty to their home-town team or the home-town team of their parents, and the loyalties are fierce. The rivalry is especially intense among Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburg Steelers fans.
And so while on Saturday afternoons in Columbus everyone roots for the Ohio State Buckeyes, on Sunday afternoons fans segregate according to their team, and gather in the living rooms or in the bars where their fellow fans congregate to represent.
My son Tommy, his friends, and my nephew Randy are serious Browns fans. I took the above photo yesterday when I swung by Tommy's friend's house at a nail-biter moment during the Browns vs. Atlanta game to drop off some subs and snacks. Though the invitation was extended to me to stay and watch the game I declined, not wanting my affective disconnect regarding football to throw a wet blanket on those electrifying moments when the others present would spring from their seats, whooping and screaming with joy or anguish, just as I recalled my brothers and even my normally taciturn father doing in our living room on those Sunday afternoons of my childhood when the Philadelphia Eagles - or Iggles, as pronounced in the patois of Philadelphians - games would be on TV.
Even back then, finding myself a spot in the dining room or the kitchen or the room across the hall from the living room that we that we called the far living room, anywhere in the house but in the living room amidst the commotion therein, I'd wonder at the thrill everyone else but me seemed to take in watching people run up and down a field carrying a ball.
Still, I was always glad when the Eagles won.
Just as I'm glad nowadays when the Buckeyes win. And I'm especially glad when the Browns win, as they ended up doing yesterday, by a heartbeat.
Because, though lacking - perhaps genetically? - the ability to feel any real emotion over football, still a win for the Browns or the Bucks makes people I care for happy and thus renders, at least for a while, a sense of gemultlicheit - a feeling of all being well in the world.
Which I guess is as good a feeling as any to end a weekend with.
So it's only the third week in November and here in Ohio we've already had our share of snowing, blowing, and a school snow day, though I shouldn't complain considering that Buffalo, New York is currently buried under 8 inches of snow with more on the way.
Right now it's It's 19 degrees in Columbus, which is still better than the other day when it dropped down to 12 degrees, a record low.
Subsequently the standard greeting in these parts is, "Hi, how you doing, don't you hate this cold?"
Seems we all do.
But if this prematurely frigid weather has got you down there's an antidote: a nice hot bowl of potato soup.
When my kids were young, during the winter they could have taken or left a mug of hot chocolate; what they wanted after coming in from playing out in the cold was potato soup, and a snow day wasn't a snow day without a pot of it on the stove.
And so over manys the cold snowy winter I mastered the art of potato soupery.
Actually it turned out that there wasn't a whole lot to master, and it's a pretty quick fix.
So here's my recipe for potato soup, feel free to use it to get you through the weekend freeze until the weather goes back up into the 50's next week, as it's predicted to do both here and in Buffalo.
Place the first four ingredients in a pot, add just enough water to cover the ingredients.
Boil until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the milk and heat, but don't boil.
Ladle the soup into a bowl then top with the cheddar cheese.
Enjoy, and stay warm! 8)
The news broke yesterday that NBC has scrapped plans for a TV show in which Bill Cosby was to play the father of three adult daughters, dispenser of wit, wisdom, and family values.
Netflix also pulled his upcoming Thanksgiving special.
His fans have not been coming out of the woodwork in his defense. Quite the contrary; when Bill Cosby's social media team created a meme twitter link to allow his fans to write loving, supportive messages on photos of him, tweeters instead overwhelmingly used the link to call him a rapist.
No throngs of old show business colleagues, co-stars, associates, friends, or even family members have rushed forward to publicly stand up for Bill Cosby. No one has testified that he's a wonderful human being who's incapable of committing the crimes he's being accused of him. No one is defending him.
He won't even defend himself. Or can't.
And so Bill Cosby is no longer America's beloved entertainer. His name is ruined. His career is probably over and so, most likely, is life as he's known it.
His fatal mistake was failing to realize that girls who are vulnerable, easily victimized and easily silenced when they're young don't necessarily stay that way. He didn't foresee these girls growing up to become strong, successful women - a college administrator, an actress, an attorney, a journalist, a television star, - who would one day finally find their voices.
And use their voices to take away his.
By yesterday two more women, journalist Joan Tarshis and model Janice Dickinson, had stepped forward to accuse Bill Cosby of drugging and raping them when they were in their teens or twenties.
Their stories are similar to the stories of the 13 other women who've accused Cosby of sexual assault.
In 2006 one of Cosby's alleged victims, Andrea Constand, director of Women's basketball at Temple University, sued Cosby for drugging and raping her when she was a grad student and the case was settled out of court. But there has been no legal action taken against Cosby by any of the other women who claim to have been his victims.
But now these women are starting to come forward. They appear not to be seeking any kind of criminal prosecution or monetary gain, but simply want their stories told; they want to let the world know what they claim Bill Cosby did to them back when they were too young, afraid, ashamed and insecure to seek justice for the violence committed against them.
So now they are seeking justice in the court of public opinion.
But when you think of it, are not all legally binding outcomes in our courts of law, in reality, determined by public opinion? That is, the opinion of twelve people, or sometimes a single person -a judge - who've considered the evidence and come to a conclusion that the rest of society has agreed to accept? In fact are not all the laws of our country - and of all democratic countries - the opinions of people whom the public has elected to come up with tenets of right and wrong according to the accepted opinions of society as a whole?
Bill Cosby's lawyer, meanwhile, has once again denied the allegations against his client, stating that, "Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment."
Which course of action he is free to take in the court of public opinion.
But it won't stop the trial from proceeding, especially with more women testifying every day.
But if 77-year-old Bill Cosby is in fact innocent then he ought to mount a defense, just as 79-year-old Woody Allen did last February when his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow accused him of molesting her decades earlier.
Woody Allen presented his defense in a February 7, 2014 Op-ed piece in the New York Times (See my post from Feb 18, 2014) in which he laid out the convincing facts that ended up exonerating him in the court of public opinion.
Bill Cosby should do the same. He should give us facts, convince us, his public jury, that his reason for taking a 17-year-old girl on trips around the country and then setting her up in an apartment in New York had nothing to do with the expectation of getting sex from her. He should explain what his legitimate business was with each of the 15 women who say he drugged and raped them. He should clear his name. If he can.
But, of course, Bill Cosby isn't going to do that. Perhaps because stonewalling serves him better.
And so, what I believe his accusers should now do is take their case out of the court of public opinion and bring it to a court of law. They should file a collective assault and battery lawsuit against Bill Cosby just as Andrea Constand did. However, they should refuse to settle; let the defendant and plaintiffs, as well as all the agents, handlers, staff, friends and peripheral actors in this drama be called to testify under oath.
And then maybe someone would tell the truth, the whole truth, ad nothing but the truth.
I guess I was a little harsh yesterday on Barbara Bowman's mother. (See yesterday's post). She was probably truly clueless when she allowed her 17-year-old daughter to go off with Bill Cosby.
All of us parents suffer episodes of cluelessness from time to time, though hopefully not often with such devastating consequences as were suffered by young Barbara Bowman.
So having run the gamut - and sometimes the gauntlet - of parenthood myself and having received plenty of slap-down criticism in the process, I'm usually pretty reluctant to judge another mother.
Unless it's a real Dina Lohan of a mother.
Dina Lohan is Lindsay's mother, manager, drinking and wild partying buddy and partner in DUI.
In fact a few years ago when Lindsay Lohan was in her early twenties, her high-profile self-destruction heyday, I used to say that Lindsay Lohan should come and live with me. That I'd watch out for her, make her go to psychiatrist appointments, therapy appointments, to the gym, and out for long walks; that I'd get her to her acting lessons, and that if she couldn't find an acting coach here in Columbus we'd fly her acting coach in from LA and the acting coach could live with us, too, probably do them all some good; that I'd make her good, healthy food and give her TLC and a nice, quiet place where she could recover and read over scripts.
It just seemed to me that what Lindsay Lohan needed back then - and maybe still needs - more than another go-round in some bogus Hollywood rehab clinic or more jail time was some serious super-mothering, complete with chicken soup, cups of hot tea and chocolate-chip cookies.
Maybe Dina Lohan's problem is that she needed some serious mothering, too.
And maybe there are 10 million psychologists out there who would read this and shake their heads.
Last week a woman publicly accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping her on multiple occasions when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress supposedly under his mentorship. Barabara Bowman has come forward to tell her story of how in 1985 an agent discovered her in Denver, Colorado and basically gave her as a present to Bill Cosby.
Ms. Bowman's allegations line up with those of a dozen other women who over the years have claimed that they were sexually molested by Cosby. His reported method was the same in every case: drug, then rape. I expect the idea was to render his victim first helpless then later disoriented and unsure of what had happened.
Though young, confused, frightened and psychologically manipulated, Barbara Bowman eventually told her agent that Cosby had drugged and raped her a number of times. Her agent blew her off.
She told a lawyer, who laughed at her.
She told her friends, who didn't know what to do.
Which begs the question: Of all the people she told, why didn't she tell her mother?
In fact, where was her mother in the picture?
In an interview with the British publication Mail Online Ms. Bowman said:
"Whenever he'd be in Denver for work, he'd make it a point to meet me, give me acting lessons, and eventually this lead to him flying me all over the country to join him. He flew me to Lake Tahoe to attend the John Denver Celebrity Ski Classic. He arranged for me to see Broadway shows in New York. He brought me to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to watch him perform and attend a star-studded golf tournament. He said it was all part of his assessment to see if I was worth mentoring and grooming. He wanted to see how I handled myself around celebrities."
This girl was 17 years old. Bill Cosby was rich, famous, middle-aged and married. Did her mother really not have a clue why her daughter was on his arm?
Why did Barbara Bowman's mother allow her daughter to be taken to New York and set up in an apartment by Cosby? And why didn't she at least sit her daughter down some time before she left and lecture her on the facts of life? Why didn't she lay out objectively for her daughter the position she'd now be in, living alone in New York off the financial support of this man, surrounded by people whose high-paid job it was to do his bidding? Why didn't she warn her daughter to be on her guard for the dangers and the predators, why didn't she arm her daughter with some scenarios of right and wrong? Why didn't she teach her daughter about personal safety, and instill in her a sense of her personal worth, and tell her that her worth that was more important than getting an easy foot in the show-business door? Why didn't she tell her daughter that if she really had what people in the business wanted then then she didn't need to be hanging on to Bill Cosby to make it? Why didn't her mother sense there was something off in the whole situation?
Why, before she allowed he daughter to set foot on that plane to New York, didn't she drill it into her to call, anytime day or night, if anything was ever wrong?
Why wasn't Barbara's mother calling her day and night to check on her?
Why didn't her mother do something?!
I don't know the answers to any of those questions. Because I don't know anything about Barbara Bowman's mother. In fact Ms. Bowman referred to her mother only briefly in one of her interviews, one time mentioning that she had no father in her life, another time another time telling of how Bill Cosby used to take her mother and grandmother on trips and how he used to fly her mother to New York to see Broadway shows, thus winning her mother and grandmother's trust.
Or perhaps he was buying it.
Anyway, to me Barbara Bowman's story is one of a vulnerable young person who had no one watching out for her well-being, no advocate, which made her a prime target for a predator.
And so again I ask: Where was her mother?
1. "Barbara Naff Reveals Her Years Of Rape At The Hands Of Bill Cosby," Lycia Naff, Mail Online,October 27, 2014
2. "Actress Barbara Bowman Details Years Of Alleged Rape By Bill Cosby", The Urban Daily, October 29, 2014
3. "Woman says ‘I was terrified of him,’ goes public with rape allegations against Bill Cosby", Fox 8 WGHP from CNN wire, November 14, 2014
...not be confused with Dollar General,
I'm a Dollar Tree afficionada.
I love the Dollar Tree,
...which I also like, but which isn't a dollar store in the truest sense in that most items it carries actually cost more than a dollar. Like the curtains I bought for my bedroom, which cost $4.50 on clearance and look nice in the room,
But which turned out to be not such a deal because I bought two packages of curtains assuming each package held two curtains, but it turned out that each package only held one curtain, so I had to run back to the Dollar General to buy two more curtains, but when I got there all the clearance curtains were gone so now in my bedroom I have one window with the Dollar General curtains that I like and one with some curtains I bought at Ikea which I don't like -
-the Ikea ones were the ones I was trying to hang when I fell off the chair and broke my rib - so now my room looks like this:
...and I can't decide whether to a) just hang the other set of Ikea curtains which I don't like and be done with it, b) keep looking around for new curtains, or c) settle for living out the rest of my life in the state of internal unrest generated by indecision and having a bedroom with mismatched curtains.
But back to the Dollar Tree, the real beauty of which isn't so much that everything there costs a dollar or less but that it's got nice stuff for the price.
I spent quite a bit of time trolling the aisles back when I was collecting things to decorate the church hall for Theresa's wedding.
In fact, after Theresa's wedding was over for weeks whenever I drove by our neighborhood Dollar Tree I felt a pull of nostalgia for all the time I spent in there before the wedding, and I'd often find myself stopping in just to look around, troll the aisles some more - to this day going into the Dollar General still gives me a glowy twinge of wedding feeling - and so I got to know the lay of the place pretty well, became a regular, and have subsequently developed into a rather savvy Dollar Tree connoisseur.
And a few weeks ago, during a routine Dollar Store trip to pick up some canned peaches for a canned peach pie, I happened across this box of cobbler mix in the baking aisle:
The recipe on the back of the box called for, along with the mix, half a stick of butter or margarine, 2/3 cup of milk and a 15-oz. can of peaches in heavy syrup. I decided to go with a 29 oz. can. Disclaimer: the can of peaches in the photo came from the Dollar General. Turns out I already had some Dollar General peaches in the basement.
The cobbler whipped up in minutes: I melted the margarine and poured it into the bottom of a pie plate, mixed the milk with the mix, placed the peaches on top of the mix, and popped it into the oven. 25 minutes later it came out looking like this:
It was sooooo delicious, better than peach pie, and took 'way less than half the time to make. And warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? It was heaven on earth.
So if you find yourself in need of a little slice of heaven on earth but are short on time, hi-ti over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some peaches and a box of Loretta's cobbler mix.
You'll probably see me there doing the same.
Everybody have a sweet weekend. 8)
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
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.