Darrin Stephens was the worst husband ever! Sadder even was Samantha’s complete acquiescence to his demanding and irrational behavior toward who and what she was.
Sadly, when I was a child I failed to grasp the subtle messages inherent in the Bewitched series, one of the more popular television shows of its era. Television was our social media and our influencers were the characters on our favorite shows each week. No wonder we bought the hype of the times and in the end paid a price.
Oh sure Darrin came off as a long suffering mortal with a witch of a mother-in-law, but who was really the villain in this scenario? And didn’t Endora have good reason to despise her misogynistic son-in-law?
Samantha’s desire to live within the rules set by her tyrant of a husband still leave me speechless.
In one episode she is cleaning the oven when Endora enters the kitchen and is quite perturbed to see her daughter doing housework.
Endora’s disgust is totally understandable, but Samantha’s contentment with her housewifely duties is also quite shocking.
If one sees her behavior as a lark and enjoying living the life of a mortal woman, well okay, I imagine we can all understand that mindset. We can also understand that any woman in her right mind would be thrilled to twitch her nose and a second later witness a sparkling house with no effort. Now I don’t know about you but if I could zap my stove clean, scrub the floors or have the dirty laundry show up clean and folded in the drawers, I’d opt for that solution in a New York minute.
However, the fact the real theme of Bewitched is not that Darrin Stephens married a witch, but that he was constantly and angrily forcing her to abandon her nature and behave as a mortal is what frosts my cookies. His constant reminders that he is the “King” of his castle are enough to make a modern woman puke and cast him as one of the most reprehensible characters in television history.
Unless of course her magic suits his purposes and then it is welcomed. Can you say hypocrite?
The message here goes much deeper than simply Samantha choosing to live a mortal life.
It is a man dominating a woman and forbidding her to be who she is. Simply perpetrating the myth that women are subservient to men.
Sounds like the fifties to me.
Darrin’s constant rants about being the head of the household and demanding she stop using witchcraft, becomes more egregious when his daughter is born a witch and he then outlaws her nature as well. Sadly, it is hard to watch for it takes me back to a time when women were expected to do the bidding of their husbands and act as society deemed a proper wife should, cleaning, cooking and childcare.
I am absolutely not saying those are not wonderfully virtuous aspects of a woman’s life, but it should be her choice. No one should diminish any choice a woman makes that will fulfill her and make her happy.
Samantha was a witch and as such she was privy to powers and abilities far greater than ordinary women could imagine.
Yet Darrin insisted over and over in a rather screeching tone by the way, she not use her powers or simply put, just be who she is.
At this point I must stress that I am well aware it was a comedy and make believe, and no I don’t believe in witches, but of course Tinkerbell is another issue.
Yet the theme of the show, husband against wife or witch, his power over her powers and her inability to be herself and have to sneak around just to be her true self, is yet another reason women of the fifties were brainwashed into such behavior. Of course there is always Lucy who wants to be in Ricky’s show and need I say more?
This is not comedy to women who were raised in a time when their opportunities were limited to what society and their father’s felt was appropriate for women. Raised in a home where women were expected to be no more than wives and mothers and a daughter’s duty was to get her MRS degree and provide her parents with grandchildren and a successful husband I can speak firsthand of the damage these attitudes can inflict.
A man demanding we be something other than what we were, denying our visions or dreams for ourselves and having to bow to the male order sentenced too many women to failure to live up to their potential and achieve their dreams.
Watching reruns of this show I wince at his very vocal demands that Samantha bend to his will.
Perhaps even sadder is the fact Samantha continues to use her powers behind Darrin’s back. That he hates his mother-in-law because she simply wants her daughter to be who she truly is and have the life she was raised to enjoy is selfish and petty.
Samantha’s desire to live mortally feels hollow in that she continues to use her powers and thus has not truly committed to a life without witchcraft. Is a good marriage one that has both partners hiding and sneaking around to do the things they enjoy, but the other forbids?
Using her abilities proves she is comfortable with her own self and is only bowing to his demands to please him. This is even sadder that a woman would deny herself to appease a man.
During the fifties and early sixties women in sitcoms were powerless and had to resort to sneaky tactics to achieve their will. I believe “Father Knows Best” says it all.
This lesson was never lost on young girls watching and believing the husband rules and women must be clever and hide their true self.
It was the Darrin Stephens of the world that set the women’s movement back by years. Watching a woman as attractive as Elizabeth Montgomery married to a dork like Dick York is tough enough to buy, but the fact she is capable of twitching her nose to improve her life and change the world and is forbidden to do so is just sad.
Darrin Stephens is just representative of how women were held back and chained to a paradigm that forbade them freedom of choice over their own lives.
Young women today would never tolerate such weakness in their role models. Although the women’s movement made a great first effort, it failed to take into account the fact that some women did choose to be housewives and mothers and this was their prerogative as well. Whatever lifestyle a woman wants she should be able to select for herself.
Women have shown time and again they are very capable of multi tasking their lives. Of course one’s priorities should be in the right places and hopefully the things that truly matter will always be in the forefront. Yet it is not fair to tell a woman how to live, what to choose or what she is capable of in this world. No one should be a Darrin Stephens and dictate who one should be.
Unconditional love and acceptance is what we strive to find in this life and I can definitely tell you it didn’t exist on Bewitched.
“Cinderella is proof a new pair of shoes can change your life”
The other day I was watching one of the home shopping channels and it was Christmas in July, definitely one of the more brilliant marketing ploys in modern times. Who isn’t dreaming of Christmas while you’re sweating by the pool? Well, there I am watching twinkle lights, artificial trees and gold colored bells and lights at twenty times the price as the dollar store.
So why do people buy all this stuff and these networks make billions?
Infomercials aside, and yes Cindy Crawford is gorgeous and if I thought I would look like her I’d buy her face creams all day long, the home shopping channels have cornered the market on couch potato spending. And let’s not forget the pandemic’s contribution to all this. Point and click and ten pounds of cookies can be yours.
I shall now divulge their secrets, not that it will in any way deter us from falling into their highly effective sales traps. They are good and we are hooked.
In case one hasn’t noticed every celebrity and their mother now has a product on these stations. I saw the Pope last week hawking cinnamon communion wafers and it was the daily special! Such a deal! There are over a billion Catholics in the world so you do the math. You could also buy them on auto ship, another incredible sales ploy.
So why do we buy all this stuff we don’t need? Aside from the fact our favorite celebrities are selling it there is another reason. They pound every product into your head until you’re certain if you don’t buy that new drain cleaner your house will flood, no man will ever look at you again unless you’re wearing that new magic formula make up and yes, this new beauty cream is guaranteed to make you look ten years younger so why spend money on plastic surgery. It’s a damn public service they’re doing.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them present a new product and I shook my head and said to myself, who in their right mind would buy that? By the end of the show I am convinced I need those scissors with the built in hedge clipper and rush to call in before it’s sold out. And I don’t even have any hedges!
Can anyone live without the most comfortable bras, the most gorgeous Christmas twinkling lights in a set of three colors or a house cleaner that does everything and even doubles as a mixer with vodka after you’re through cleaning.
A very important component to these channels is they fill in the lonely hours for many people who become attached to the hosts.
Regular viewers call in with comments and the hosts recognize the names, whether they actually do or not they react that way. Listeners happily tell the host they just bought four pairs of Diamonique earrings for Christmas gifts as though they’d just won the lottery.
Shopping becomes personal despite the fact you’re doing it with millions of other people. The late Joan Rivers realized very quickly that her customers translated into more fans at her comedy performances and she mastered the art of forming relationships that added more cha ching to her whole bank thing.
One downside to the experience is the number of times products arrive and are far from what you expect. Luckily returns are a no brainer and customers do have the option of leaving reviews about everything that’s sold. Just a tip here, it’s a damn good idea to check these out before making that call.
They have made it so easy to buy all you need to do is dial the number and you are immediately recognized. Hello sucker (fill in name here) are you calling for item number 123456? What color, how many and do you want a flexible payment method?
That’s the best! You can buy some fifty-dollar piece of crap and take three years without interest to pay it off. Who can resist, it’s like free? Hey wait do I need a fifth air fryer? Well damn it is only five dollars a month so why not?
No wonder the retail stores are in trouble. When you walk through Macy’s there is merchandise on a rack, an occasional mannequin and good luck even finding a salesperson anymore. I wonder what would happen if salespeople started grabbing you and talking up products until you buy. Can you say lawsuit?
On these shows there is a very well-trained host or hostess selling selling selling until you finally give in and purchase that fart filter for your husband even though he’s been dead ten years.
Like a barker at a carnival the hosts go after you convincing you this or that is a necessity you can’t live without and you buy.
Doctors show up with their own pills or make up or creams and that home liposuction kit will eliminate that midriff bulge in twenty minutes.
Even celebrity chefs spend hours on the channel hawking cookware until you’re convinced your eggs could never taste good again unless they’re fried in that chef’s non-stick pan. Even popular hosts sell their own products, have cookbooks of their own recipes and have garnered millions of fans to serve their own retail agenda.
There is nothing you can’t buy on television. Furniture, clothing, food, tools, dishes, toys and I’m waiting for a daily special on a car before trading in my old one.
This is the epitome of American ingenuity and marketing so a big bravo to them. Capitalism is alive and well on television and reigns supreme.
Well I have to go perfect a piece of junk I’m working on to sell to one of the channels, so see you on TV. Oh wait, is that an earwax candle kit? Wow that definitely takes recycling to a whole new level. Happy shopping, everyone!
What To Do When Your Dream Comes True?
What do you do when a dream comes true? Is there more than one way to deal with the realization that something you’ve strived for and sacrificed to accomplish is now in the rearview mirror of life’s highway? Should we be happy, sad, anxious, at peace or feeling a million other emotions jolting through us like electrical charges? To all of the above I say yes.
We all work toward goals that are clearly laid out on the drafting table of our mind’s eye, yet it seems when they finally materialize they are never exactly like the picture we’ve stared at for years. When there is fulfillment of a dream, it almost always is a bit different than we imagined and usually far better than what we’d conjured. Why is that? Shouldn’t it be exactly as we planned? It happened, but why is it different than we envisioned? We never foresaw that part of the dream or that wonderful addition or twist.
We hear the words and we do hear them often, you must never give up on your dreams. Trite clichés like teamwork makes the dream work and quitters never win and winners never quit keep us moving forward in the blind belief we can control the final outcome. And there’s the rub. Because we do get the outcome, but it’s far better than we planned. Shouldn’t it be perfectly perfect in every way? Who changed it and made it even better than we ourselves could ever imagine? What cosmic force interfered and took our dream and colored outside of our lines. Sure the infrastructure is still there, but the building is far more grand and beautiful than our blueprints.
If it’s true that what man can conceive he can achieve shouldn’t we just simply loosen up a bit? Is the reason some feel a certain letdown after realization of a goal because they simply don’t know where they should be heading next? Or have they driven so long in one direction they can’t imagine a different one. If there is some sort of destiny running alongside us in our quest, why must we embrace the burden fully? Perhaps it is for that very reason that fate rides along with us to simply see how dedicated we are and whether or not our dreams should fall short or be far greater than expected.
Is it merely a case of the smaller the dream the fewer enhancements it should be afforded? Or is every dream worthy of the same grand gesture from our better angels? So I pose a simple question: is the amount of effort we put into a dream what determines how much fate contributes to the outcome? Or is the amount of struggle and disappointment the catalyst for all the help? Is the amount destiny contributes a result of other disappointments and failures coming back to add to our joy over this one success? And if that’s the case why do so many people never realize their dreams but are instead thrust onto a totally different life path?
I’m not quite certain about the answers to these questions because it seems certain knowledge can never be made available and although we believe we have it all worked out, we usually don’t. I suppose there are people who achieve a dream and say, “Okay now that’s done so I can relax and play golf.” But there are also others who feel once a dream has been accomplished it only means another one begins. It is in essence a piggyback effect and leads to new chapters and adventures, perhaps never before imagined. We can never be quite certain of where a moment might lead. Small choices that may seem irrelevant to our journey can in fact be the very thing that propels us into the place we’ve struggled to reach.
One hears stories of how a simple act like making a wrong turn or getting into the wrong elevator can create an opportunity to achieve a goal long abandoned. So maybe dreams once dreamt are really never forgotten and are always possible despite our own choices.
When I was a comedian I dreamed of being on the Tonight Show. To receive a visit from the suits at NBC was the goal of every jokester that stood on a stage. Thirty-six years later I got the call and made it to NBC not because of my comedy, but because of an appearance on the Food Network. So was my comedy inconsequential to my journey or only one wheel on the vehicle that would drive me forward to success? It wasn’t the Tonight Show, it wasn’t a sitcom, it wasn’t anything I ever could have imagined and yet all the things I’d done in my life led up to the moment I entered Universal Studios and saw the Peacock emblem.
Was it what I’d imagined, heavens no. It was an experience far greater than my own limited dreams could take me. And now I must try to imagine the next stop on the journey after the detour I’ve just realized. So am I unique, not at all. If I had a dollar, even with the inflation this bad, for every time I heard someone say, “what happened was far beyond my wildest dreams,” I’d be richer than the Kardashians.
So in truth I must admit, it was, far greater that is. Would I still like to have had a moment with Johnny Carson? Of course. We don’t just stop caring about our goals although they’ve been surpassed and turned out differently than imagined. But I know now that it was the quest to be on the Tonight Show that led me to Baking It and the enhanced dream. There are always pitfalls, letdowns and disappointments on the road to achievement , but when success finally arrives it brings with it a sense of wonder and fulfillment far greater than can be imagined.
In the end I suppose one might say the powers that be usually want more for us than we want for ourselves, and in the end they do have the power after all.
Good luck with your dreams and let 2022 be the year you achieve, and believe it can be even greater than you ever imagined.
What We Need to be Real
I believe in Merlin the Magician. Of course believing in the greatest wizard who ever or never lived might seem foolishness personified to some, and cause great disagreement with the Harry Potter fans, but I choose to believe there once was a Merlin and a King Arthur complete with Knights of the Round Table that served their king with bravery and dedication. I’m not the only one so don’t look at me like that, man has been fascinated with the Arthurian legend forever.
Of course many would look at me and say I’m a few ants short of a picnic for this outrageous statement, however I’ve found life is incredibly easier if we give in to our inner child occasionally and treat ourselves to a great fantasy, like a hot fudge sundae with no calories once a month. Okay. So most people don’t wait a whole month, and okay so maybe it’s more like once a week, but my point remains the same. A great happy ending often does more for the soul than chocolate.
Yet, as the year ends I’m forced as so many to take stock and examine the past 365 days to make some type of value judgment on all events. So you might ask of me, why am I fixated on Merlin? Simply in this second year of COVID insanity for me Merlin represents magic, pots of gold at the end of rainbows and unicorns with magic-studded horns. Of mysterious forests filled with wood nymphs and fairies. I choose to believe there is magic in the world and whether or not I see it is irrelevant for it exists beyond my sight. Outside the realm where we must live and deal with the mundane and ordinary is a place filled with all the mystical wonders that escape slowly when mankind most needs to believe.
There is something within us that craves more purity and greatness than what we see with our eyes and can defy the senses. A question I must ask, why is it so easy to believe in the evil that exists beyond the world of the seen and not the good? Is it because wickedness dominates us now?
If one asked a room of people if the devil exists I am certain the answers would come down to three: no, yes he exists and three, wickedness exists so I guess you could call it the devil, in a way. For reasonably if evil exists in the world, and one look at Congress and there can be no argument on the issue, then who is the force behind that malevolence? And please don’t blame voters who are consistently faced with choosing between the lesser of two evils.
So why are we as human beings so smitten by the dark side of man’s nature and cast aside a belief in the mystical so easily? Especially when our souls crave it so. Fire-breathing dragons and monsters that go bump in the night are far more believable than Tinkerbell. And yes I clap because I believe in fairies. There is a war inside all of us between the innocence of our youthful fantasies that embrace the proverbial happy ending, and the pragmatist that cannot deny the wicked side of man’s nature so apparent in our daily lives. Now more than ever our society is faced with the inescapable truth that man’s nature too easily succumbs to its evil intentions. How shall we believe otherwise when each day we are bombarded with proof of the decline of goodness and righteousness?
Shall we blame the media? I, as a member of that once illustrious group must admit there is some truth to that statement. It is certainly a well-known belief among the press that if it bleeds it leads, and that holds true even more so today. How can mainstreaming bad be good? There doesn’t seem to be any positive news any longer so no wonder people are frustrated. This fascination with immorality has overwhelmed them to such a degree we as a society must stand up and cry “No more, please.” We crave less fire-breathing dragons and more angels in our lives.
We can’t go on swimming in the slime of depravity, but must believe that despite Grimm fairy tales there can be a happy ending. Cinderella can live happily after with the prince and damn the divorce statistics, Red Riding Hood saves her grandmother and Beauty and the Beast do live happily after without the need for plastic surgeons. It’s true that if we simply follow the second star to the right and fly straight on until morning we will reach Neverland, and Leprechauns staunchly protect the pots of gold at the end of every rainbow.
The world is too real right now and when that happens in man’s history evil explodes and the human race must cleanse itself to make the earth once again receptive to the light. World War II was followed by a time of peace and joy when the dragon was slain and the doors of Camelot swung open and we rushed inside.
The true sadness in the now is that we are no longer just hearing of iniquity on the news, we are living it in our daily lives. Crime is rampant, lawlessness abounds and people are overwhelmed by all the insanity that has become a daily occurrence. I have no idea what it will take to slay that dragon breathing down our necks, but I am certain that soon heroes will arise and we will cast it out once more.
As we need to believe that although evil succeeds in the short run, good will ultimately prevail. On that victorious day surely we “won’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.”
Wishing a beautiful and mystical new year to us one and all.
My Grandparents Myself
Reading the tweets on Twitter about the NBC show Baking It on which I was privileged to be a judge, I was really taken by how many favorable responses us granny judges received. Living in the Hollywood area for so many years I’ve been brainwashed to believe that no one wants to see old people on television, or on the streets for that matter. And I must add that in this town old is considered anyone over fifty.
So you can imagine my surprise when young people were writing so many positive things about we judges, and I assure you fifty is well in the rear view mirror for many of us.
Then it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t really so surprising after all.
Should I assume that I am the only person that adored her grandparents and had an unbelievable relationship with them, especially her grandfather?
My grandfather loved children so as the first grandchild I commanded all of his attention until my brother was born.
When I was a year old he made me an inner tube out of an old truck tire with a seat attached so he could push me around in the ocean. When we were older he took my brother and I fishing in the everglades and I even remember going to the movies to watch Some Like it Hot with him when he wanted to see his old friend George Raft. He made the best dill pickles and his laugh lit up a room, and in every picture together he looked at me like I was a banana split.
Too many of us are castigated for living in the past and told we must be in the present and looking toward the future. Dwelling on the past is a futile effort and waste of time when we could be living in the now…but is it really?
I say poppycock. That’s right. I said, poppycock.
Some days I drive myself to the Santa Monica Pier and sit admiring the ocean remembering the wonderful times with my grandfather.
Do I feel that these moments are a waste of my time? No indeed. In fact it’s rather the opposite. It’s as if I’m back in Miami Beach laughing and kicking my feet as he pushed me along the waves. I can smell the salt air and feel the sun beating down on me and these memories light me up inside even on the darkest days. How can feeling good possibly be bad?
The grandparent/grandchild relationship is incredibly special and to believe that only old people would want to see older people speaks to an inability to connect with the world and see people for who they really are.
I strive constantly to create memories I hope my grandsons will carry with them their entire lives.
When my grandson was four years old and collecting bugs I was on my hands and knees on the sidewalk helping. Although the sight of a bug made me jump five feet into the air under normal circumstances, when he asked me to secure them for him, my fears floated away on a cloud of pure joy at sharing something together. Although now when I ask if he remembers my fearless bug collecting, the recollection seems to have faded.
Yet I know from experience that many of the memories once lost ultimately reappear in time and although I can’t remember for what reason I called a friend by the time I’m finished dialing the number, my earliest memories of Miami Beach as a young child come back into focus whenever I smell the ocean.
So why are these moments of recollection so important as we get older?
In a study at Cambridge University in 2019 researchers found that “recalling specific positive memories and happy life experiences during adolescence may help teens fortify their resilience and reduce the risk of depression later in life.”
All one has to do to verify this thesis is look on Facebook. Every community has pages of memories from their old elementary or high school and the city where they lived as children. These pages are filled with pictures and images and allow users to share stories and reminiscences from their past.
Perhaps it’s simply the innocence we all crave as we get older, the need to believe the world is still that comfy cocoon we once nestled inside filled with play, fun, holidays and grandparents.
Grandparents signify unconditional love, a safe harbor in an often times turbulent ocean. A place to climb back into arms that may not be as toned or strong as they once were, but feel safe against any invader or frightening force.
We need happy memories to ward off the unpleasant ones that have a tendency to surface unwanted and uninvited. A way to reinforce the belief life is beautiful and things do work out in the end; even when they don’t.
Grandparents are the guardians of our memories. They contain all that is good about our youth, a path toward believing and sustaining hope and forcing us to forge ahead even in most difficult times.
It may be as simple as the smell of grandma’s apple pie in the autumn made with fresh apples you picked for her, the sight of your grandfather’s favorite tree you helped him plant or an old television show you watched together. You didn’t get the jokes, but you loved watching him laugh just the same.
So I must offer kudos to the producers of Baking It who truly “get it,” and despite the Hollywood hype about the whole 18 to 49 age restrictions on television and movies, they knew better.
When we can look at television or the movies and see something that makes us feel warm and fuzzy it’s a no brainer we need more of it, and that happily includes all of us grannies.
President Franklin Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Those words have persevered throughout the decades and been closely aligned to the difficulties he spoke of facing this great nation when he took office. Yet, is the lack of fear a good thing and is a fear of fear merely another fear we embrace? Then if we fear fearing isn’t that actually experiencing fear of fear? I’m confused, and what else is new? Sure, Yoda said fear leads to the dark side, but can’t a total lack of it sometimes lead to disaster? I bring up this quandary at this moment in time because of the fact we are living in incredibly scary times. There is so much craziness in our existence it would be practically impossible to be a Pollyanna. COVID19, global warming, rising crime rates, racism, Antisemitism, Congress (Ooh, that one really makes my blood run cold!) and all sorts of scary things that go bump in the night and threaten our sleep. So I pose a simple question, when is it okay to be fearful?
Recently I experienced a strange moment while dining at a restaurant with a friend and sitting outdoors waiting for a table. Usually I’m double masked just to ensure some slippery little COVID bug doesn’t slip through that cotton protective gear that has now become part of my face, but I felt a bit bold and obviously too comfortable in my environment on such a beautiful day. The sky was blue, the temperature perfection and the fresh air enticing so I removed the mask and presented naked faced to the world around me.Was this bold or stupid? I’m still pondering that decision because of what happened next. A couple sitting nearby told us they had driven an hour and a half and always enjoyed this particular restaurant when in the area. We began speaking and the husband said he was a chiropractor and bragged he had never caught COVID although his choice was to forego a mask or receive the vaccine. Has this man never heard of the Jewish fear of bragging about something, what Jewish people call a Kenahora or instant bad luck? Such foolish arrogance may lead to disaster if the devil happens to be listening to your conversation at that moment and sees an opportunity for a bit of fun at your expense by deciding to make a liar out of you?
Of course my hand immediately went toward my face to give coverage, but since I didn’t want to appear overly paranoid I didn’t re-don my mask. In retrospect I probably should have sprinted out of there like Jesse Owens being chased by Hitler. When they got up to go to their table she walked up to me, stood above my chair and leaned in closer to wish me a good day. It was so fast I couldn’t react and when they left My friend turned to me and said, “Sure, have a good day if you’re still alive.”
Okay, we laughed but in my mind I was writing my will. Of course I’m vaccinated but due to receive a booster this week. To say I’m feeling more vulnerable would be an understatement.
Let me be clear here that I am not an advocate of telling others how to live their lives.If someone chooses not to receive the vaccine it is entirely their own decision to make and none of my business. I made a choice to have it, but others are certainly entitled to make their own. Having said that I must also add that although one is free to forego the vaccine or mask, that doesn’t free them from something called human decency and responsibility toward others by acting as a good citizen. Behaving in a reckless manner to endanger other’s health is quite another kettle of fish and a stinky one to boot. Since no one can be certain about that tricky little virus called COVID and now so many who are even vaccinated are coming down with breakthrough cases, to be aloof would to me seem inconsiderate and thoughtless toward others. To be unmindful of personal space and the fact others may actually want to go on living and not have you be the one to choose their time of death is inexcusable.
I totally respect someone’s decision to be unvaccinated and unmasked, but Bitch keep your germs outta my face!
So I now return to my original question, is fear really the boogieman some make it out to be? Or is a little fear a necessary and smart thing to possess as a barrier to chaos? I have a friend who lives with so much fear that on her tombstone it must be added. “She Worried.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “you can’t live your life in fear.” So I don’t, but who’s the crazy one here?
Shouldn’t I have been more fearful around strangers and continued wearing my mask although outside that restaurant?Was letting my guard down a good idea in this instance? Is fear getting a bad rap? Do we too often equate fear with common sense and self-preservation? So where is the line between fearful and paranoid? And can we be certain in these times that line still exists? I truly believe we can only do so many stupid things in our life before one catches up with us. Still, we all know people who have done more than their share of stupid and are thriving pretty well.
So what’s the answer to how much fear is okay to fear? Or something like that. In a word or three, I don’t know. What I do know is in today’s world perhaps it’s okay to examine how keeping some fear on the menu isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s a matter of semantics really. Some will fudge the issue by saying, “No Norma you shouldn’t be fearful, simply exercise a bit of caution.” To that I answer “Bullpucky?” Caution is just the acceptable form of fear that is politically correct and easily justified. Being a cautious person evokes intelligence and responsibility, traits to be applauded. Being fearful evokes “she’s a paranoid nutcase and needs to get a grip.”
And yet they are the same thing after all. For what is caution but fear put into action? If I had worn my mask would I be acting out of fear or caution? Put that one in your Meerschaum pipe and smoke it.
I guess I’m tired of being seen as a nut because I’m scared. Does this sense of foreboding stop me from living my life, laughing hysterically at Larry David or choosing to eat salmon once in a blue moon instead of an entire Hershey bar with almonds? No way. I feel very confident that I can multitask and be scared while still enjoying my life. Perhaps even a bit more knowing I’m making “cautious” decisions.
So if I survive that thoughtless woman’s germs, you’ll hear from me again soon. Stay safe, not so much from COVID, but from the crazies out there. Caution is good choice when dealing with the masses nowadays.
Norma Zager, The Hollywood Grammy, COVID19, Yoda, Fear itself, Franklin Roosevelt, Larry David, Congress, masks, vaccine, bitch
Charlie Tuna’s Bait and Switch and is This Our New Reality?
If anyone wonders why one would think of Charlie Tuna at a time when the world is in chaos it seems very reasonable to me. I’m not sure if it’s the chocolate binges that have led me to these crazy, out-there theories and ramblings, but take the ride with me. What the heck? What else do we have to do after binge watching Ozark?
Right now most of us seem possessed with escaping from the turmoil of the outside world and building a safe harbor within our homes and minds.
Although too many are cavalier about the imminent dangers surrounding us at every turn, many have sought refuge in the past and the refrigerator, although not necessarily in that order.
I’ve been surprised and delighted lately at how many have responded positively and vocally to my waxing nostalgic about my youth in Detroit and desire to recall as many wonderful memories as I can from what seems to me now, a magical time in our history. A time when streets were safe, life was innocent and children were in awe of a puppet or seeing the peacock’s feathers in color on a television set. When everyone on the block rushed to see the first color TV, listened for the good humor man and compared collections of 45 records as though they were gold coins worth a fortune. Life made sense.
When the new Hi Fi was delivered I wondered how I’d ever learn to work this new state-of-the-art device. I was so happy when I learned to stick the plastic middle piece into my forty fives to make them fit over the spindle thingy on the turntable without breaking the record. Pretty high tech stuff huh? Now I wrestle with megabytes and artificial intelligence.
No, I’m not digressing from the whole Charlie Tuna headline at all, just merely leading up to a point I wish to convey. Perhaps Charlie Tuna had it right after all. If the whole world was looking for tunas “wit good taste,” Charlie would produce artwork or whatever he needed to do to prove himself. However, as he was reminded in the commercial, “Star-Kist don’t want tunas wit good taste, they want tunas that taste good.”
Yes, we all remember the old commercials where Charlie struggles to be selected by Star-Kist, a company so picky they thumbed their nose at Charlie, an obvious star and continued to reject his constant advances.
And how did we react to his dilemma? We loved Charlie and although we sympathized with his rejection, we were torn by the thought of the company relenting and putting him in a can on our supermarket shelf.
As I’ve said before, we were very innocent. But Charlie’s quandary seemed to teach him a valuable lesson that now goes unnoticed; distraction will save your ass.
Yes, without noticing, Charlie pulled the greatest bait and switch, pun intended, in history. Have you ever wondered why all anyone can talk about nowadays is salmon?
It’s all about the salmon. How healthy and full of good omegas they are. How sustainable they can be raised. How you can’t go to a damn dinner party and not find a slab of pink fish in front of you.
I for one dislike salmon unless it is dressed up like Cinderella for the ball or on a bagel loaded with cream cheese, and have struggled with why we have recently experienced this great love for salmon.
So because I have little to do except check the refrigerator for new food that may have snuck in while I wasn’t looking, I gave it some thought.
I’m convinced this is a plot hatched up by some undercover Charlie Tuna with the help of the Mossad (I have to infer that any food-related plots would defer to Israel) to distract people and turn them off tuna and onto salmon.
Why you ask would Charlie do this when he has always been a big proponent of tuna? Simple, pressure from a tuna mafia that simply got tired of having their tush chased all over the ocean.
Distraction is the perfect vehicle. It allows anyone with an agenda to perform under a cover of whatever they wish and we are easily fooled.
So the big boy tunas sat down with Charlie and laid it on the line, “Stop pushing the tuna or we’ll push you back hard.”
So Charlie possessing a desire for survival decided to secretly exploit a salmon agenda in an increasingly health-conscious society that believes salmon is the filet mignon of the fish world.
Smart move, Charlie. Salmon is now king and the poor fish is dead in the water, literally. Sad after all that work to swim upstream.
If this seems like a long way to go to make a point, it’s not so far as you’d think.
We are inundated today with distractions and being force-fed a steady diet of craziness, fear and distrust.
We are stressed over the news that changes hourly from one extreme to another. Masks, no masks, ventilators bad, no good, who knows anymore, you can catch COVID19 if your neighbor sneezes two blocks away, wait that’s six feet, lock down, go out, occupy the streets, take back our streets, police or no police, I guess if you’re in trouble you can call Rin Tin Tin to save you. Is Joe Biden still alive in the basement or is it a hologram? Is Trump self destructing on purpose or does he have some devious plan? Did Lincoln free the slaves or was he a racist? Is Congress as useless as an old girdle without any elastic left? Oh sorry that one is a no brainer, yes, Congress is useless, no quandary there.
No wonder people are hiding in their homes eating themselves into oblivion. Is all this craziness an attempt to distract us from what’s really happening and if so they’re doing a hellava job, because I don’t have a clue.
We’ve all lived through crazy times before. Viet Nam, the Cold War, Watergate, Bill Clinton’s women, Tiananmen Square, 9/11, the list goes on, but this is different, a complete switch from tuna to salmon.
This is a whole new breed of chaos and even the strongest of us have no idea what to make of it all.
Our generation is tough, but where once there were answers that made even a little sense, now there are none, and it’s a scary place to be.
So now that they’ve switched us off tuna and onto salmon I have two questions; first, what is behind this salmon switch and second, who is the real Charlie Tuna and what is he ultimately up to?
Yes, it’s unsettling and I feel like I’m living through an episode of The Twilight Zone.
And I think I hear Rod Serling’s voice now: “For your consideration, a world that once made sense now filled with strange happenings that cannot be explained. Is this truly reality or has the present descended into what these people will soon awaken to and find makes perfect sense in the new world within the Twilight Zone?”
Anyone for a tuna sandwich on whole wheat with chips in a little paper cup? I thought so. And tell ‘em Charlie sent ya.
Chicken Stuffed Portobello
4 large Portobello mushrooms cleaned
1 large or two small chicken breasts
1/4 cup celery chopped
1 cup grated Fontina cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano cheese
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup mayo
½ cup sliced almonds
1 heaping tablespoon of Panko crumbs
2 tablespoons of chopped sweet onions, sautéed with the celery
Salt and pepper
Cook and season chicken breast until soft. You can poach it in broth or water and wine. After shredding chicken breast combine with all other ingredients except Parmesan Reggiano.
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill the mushroom caps with chicken mixture and cover with Parmesan Reggiano. You may add sautéed spinach or tomatoes if you’d like.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted on top. Serve with soup and salad for a great easy supper.
Nostalgia Or Delusion: Was Childhood As Great As All That?
Okay. I do it too. I remember the past, especially my childhood with enormous longing. Simpler times, great friends, peaceful, unfettered days filled with innocence and fun.
We join groups on Facebook that provide us with a non-stop stream of memories, many long forgotten and we commiserate about the haunts and foods of our youth. Sharing with others that lived the same existence adds a new dimension and warmth to the entire experience. It can also get impassioned when the topic of the best neighborhood pizza arises.
One post and the flow of incoming additions are abundant. I can almost picture the look on everyone’s face as they reminisce about the restaurant where they held their tenth birthday party. Or perhaps a favorite teacher that filled them with confidence or fear.
Yet, although I’m incredibly guilty of these moments of reflection, I wonder if perhaps there is a bit of sugar coating mixed in with the feelings of warmth and longing.
Do we remember the past wearing rose-colored glasses? Is it because we see life back then only in terms of abstracts and happy memories designed to cover up any unhappiness we might have once felt?
I remember growing up in Detroit as idyllic. Not in a fairy-tale manner of course, nor do I believe it was Utopia, but rather a peaceful and vibrant city filled with fun activities, great friends and no lack of great restaurants, movie theaters and tree-lined streets with manicured lawns.
Recalling youthful snippets flashing by like a trailer from a new Hollywood movie, I always choose to recall joyful images.
Going to the movies was a regular occurrence and my favorite was the Mercury Theater on Schaeffer. I’m afraid it spoiled me for other movie houses with its sidewalls lined with light-reflecting murals of the galaxy. Many times I enjoyed staring at the artwork more than the feature and sadly came to expect a great deal from any future movie venues I frequented. I also remember noting a giant banner under the marquis reading “air-conditioned for your comfort.” Bet my grandsons wouldn’t believe there was a time without it. Boy, am I aging myself here.
Yet it’s so odd that these memories seem to eclipse other more personal ones that were unpleasant. The high school mean girl who singled you out as her victim one day, or a boy you liked asking out a friend. Yep, guess it wasn’t all wine and roses.
Or is it just that at a certain stage of life we refuse to acknowledge time spent unhappily? Is there a great need to embrace those happy moments and hold them close before they may fade forever?
Whenever I tell people I’m from Detroit they look at me as though I’m packing a gun. This image was especially true during the more lawless years when crime was rampant before the rest of the nation caught and far bypassed the motor city. When I replied that Detroit was an awesome city in which to grow up, they were incredulous.
Yet, I’m certain I’m not dreaming when I remember Palmer Park ice skating, Livernois Avenue shopping, turning and seeing Smokey Robinson driving next to you on Outer Drive, downtown Hudson’s, the Eastern Market, great schools, amazing food and crossing the Ambassador Bridge or driving through the tunnel to Windsor. It was always fun to see the flags change between America and Canada on the tiles halfway across.
Now I wonder if it’s just age that makes us long for those simpler days, when the community was small and holidays seemed to be shared by everyone, or you could walk alone to a friend’s house five blocks away or play outside until the street lights came on.
People knew their Sanders, Awry’s or Good Humor deliveryman by name and when we heard the bell we ran into the house to let our mother know great goodies were available curbside.
Perhaps one reason those days seem so unfettered and blissful are the turbulent times we’re living today. So often I feel badly for my grandchildren in such a chaotic world, but will they also look back someday on their childhood with rose-colored glasses?
Is it merely that mankind keeps muddling the waters and the years fill with more chaos as they fly past?
Was it really so Utopian or am I choosing to overlook the cold war and neighbors building fall-out shelters in their back yards?
Forgetting hearing the bell in school as we walked downstairs to the basement of our elementary school to sit next to an asbestos-covered pipe to hide from an atom bomb? I imagine many more people died from that asbestos than an atom bomb, that thank goodness never came.
Am I forgetting the Detroit riots, eating my Frosted Flakes while watching a black girl my age on television being escorted into school by the National Guard, the McCarthy hearings or Viet Nam? Or watching Hitchcock’s Psycho and needing my mother to sit in the bathroom with me until I was, well, I still do, and believing it was all so stress free?
Or is this a result of the fact we are in the midst of true craziness where the world seems upside down?
It was easy when we were children to figure it all out. Good, bad, hard, easy, right, wrong; the lines seem so blurred now.
So I just sit and commiserate with friends about those simpler times when whether or not things were good, we believed they were. When life was less confusing and neighbors sat out on the porch on a summer evening to catch a cool breeze and smoke a cigarette.
When I rushed home from school to watch American Bandstand and we spent the weekends reading Archie, Superman or Katy Keene comics and exchanging movie star pictures cut out of Photoplay or Modern Screen.
After school eating a creamsicle on the porch watching the neighborhood boys play baseball or football in the street. Or jumping on the pile of leaves my father had raked to burn at the curb filling the air with the smell of autumn and visions of Halloween soon to come.
I’d rather focus on those good times than turn on a news report, or think about the fact I have to miss my grandson’s graduation or birthday party because an evil virus has created havoc.
As time goes by the years fly faster and any time not spent in the here and now seems so wasted. Yet if I gain some small modicum of happiness holding on to some pleasant memories where is the harm?
Many may say it’s more important to live your life in the present than dwell on the past, and yes it is. Still in these times when we are not able to create as many happy memories with friends and family I will default to the ones I possess. Someday we may even choose to remember how good it was back then, even in this very turbulent moment in time.
Lelli’s Like Minestrone
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 cans (16 oz. ea.) Veg-All
2 cans (14 oz. ea.) chicken broth
20 oz. northern white kidney beans
1 can (14 oz.) whole tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pkg. frozen spinach (or fresh)
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. garlic powder
2 T. chopped parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. basil
1/3 c. cooked small macaroni
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
a small amount of chick peas (optional). I never use these.
- Sauté onion and garlic in butter
2. In a large soup pot, put Veg-All, chicken broth, northern beans, whole tomatoes and all liquids from cans.
3. Add spinach, tomato paste, garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, sautéed onion and garlic.
4. Cook slowly for 1 1/2 hours.
5. Take 1/2 of the soup and blend in food processor. I use an immersion blender and it’s so much easier.
6. Pour it back in the soup pot.
7. Add macaroni and heavy cream.
8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
10. Cook slowly 1/2 hour.
Sanders Hot Fudge Versus COVID-19
The Bout Of The Century
My doctor’s office called today to set up a follow-up appointment. The girl asked when I might have time and I laughed out loud. “Well I said, I could make time between walking from the bedroom into the living room and back, if I cut short my trip to the freezer to check it for the fourteenth time that day. I do that regularly just to see if any new Ben and Jerry’s magically appeared since the last time I checked.”
Yes, life is truly fulfilling these days. After all the drawers and closets are organized, clothes color-coded, stuff repaired, new hair colors and styles tried and online shopping, one must pause.
Okay, sure there are books to read, puzzles to do and new movies on Netflix to watch, but let’s face it, this is getting old.
This morning my daughter texted to tell me that there has been an uptick in cases and I must stay at home.
It was a little like hoping for parole and finding out your sentence was extended.
I have friends who are leaving their houses all the time, visiting their kids, shopping, running errands like nothing is going on, so I’ve been thinking perhaps I should lighten up a bit and venture back out into that scary world. Baby steps or something like that. But when the warden called this morning and dashed my hopes of returning to some semblance of normality, well there was no need to ponder any longer.
It’s not the staying home part as there is plenty to do to keep busy. I can’t even say it’s a fear of the virus. It’s simply put, the fact that these scientists don’t know anything! They say something and change it the next day if not the next hour. First we’re in and the virus can creep inside our homes on bags, boxes, shoe bottoms and whatnot. Then they say maybe not so much after all.
Wear a mask, no, yes, maybe, I don’t know.
One can catch it from breathing, sneezing, shaking hands, coming within six feet of someone, HEY! STOP! Could someone make up their mind already? So you say to yourself, I’m done being crazy cause other people are out living their lives. You’re going to defy it and go and you have one foot out the door then boom, the phone call that someone you know has died or is in the hospital and you lock your door close the blinds and hide under the covers again. I swear I saw the virus trying to squeeze through my screen the other day so I immediately shut my window.
Does the damn thing have a Rolodex? Who’s on its list and does it hold a grudge? I visualize it wearing a black hooded robe with a scythe.
If someone has offended it does it come looking for you like a special ops guy crawling through the muck in Afghanistan?
Is it racist, anti Semitic or Islamophobic? Has anyone checked its politics or where it grew up to see how it feels about white privilege? Who’s its family and what do we really know about this thing except that it was made in China?
I’m not complaining because I know our parents went through far worse with depressions, wars and craziness, but really? So COVID-19, protests, rioting and looting, tornadoes, earthquakes and Pelosi dressed as an African on one knee.
What’s next locusts, frogs jumping out of the water, the Pacific turning into blood, hailstones? A Kardashian without make up? Excuse me I have to order some lamb’s blood from Amazon to put around my doorway.
So recently I did what I’ve been trained to do in difficult times and called out the big guns and ordered Sanders hot fudge and profiteroles online. If you’re not from Detroit you couldn’t be expected to know about this unbelievable milk chocolate fudgy delicacy that would have to be labeled the heroin of dessert toppings. The hit you get from it, well I can’t describe, but it has been the go-to cure for everything that plagues Detroiters for as long as I can remember.
We celebrated with it, cried with it, cured all boo boos with it and pretty much used it as a remedy for all the stuff we ran out of answers for. When the ice cream was gone we ate it out of the jar with a spoon.
A bad break up, Sanders hot fudge cream puff, bad grade, mother in law visit, gained weight, it was always there.
I’m not certain if it can hold up to the corona virus but we’ll see.
The very fact I must resort to old cures tells me a great deal.
I’m running out of reasons to stay home and to go out. It’s like stay in or go out are the two questions I can’t even dream up an answer for.
I take a walk to see the sky and assure myself it still exists. I get into my car and go for a curbside pick up to remember how to drive. I Skype and play games with my grandsons and they carry the computer around the house so I can watch them while they play.
I do maj jong online to keep in shape. So I guess this all sounds like a lot to do and it is. Cooking, baking, trying new recipes the days fly by and that’s just it.
Should we all have to work so hard to keep ourselves busy? Doesn’t time fly by fast enough already without trying?
At the end of the day it’s about the freedom to go out and live your life as you wish. Work, take a vacation, visit your kids, see a show, or wear pants without an elastic waist.
Are we being imprisoned or protected? I guess some days it feels like both.
So until my daughter commutes my sentence I’ll be here, writing, cooking, eating and chatting with friends. Stay safe and keep laughing.
Easy Rice Pudding
1 cup uncooked rice
4 ½ cups of milk
1 heaping half cup of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch of salt
Pour everything except the eggs in a saucepan and cook covered over a low heat. After about fifteen minutes lightly beat your eggs and temper them, (add some of the hot liquid to the eggs until they are room temperature) then add to rice pudding and continue cooking.
Cook until all the milk is absorbed, approximately 40 minutes and rice is thickened.
Serve with cinnamon and even a little whipped cream if you choose. Enjoy!
Doing the COVID Crazy Dance
There’s a new disease in town, COVIDphobia and I’m sad to say I am COVIDphobic. I have a feeling it’s a close cousin to Agoraphobia or the fear of leaving the house. I imagine the difference would be that Agoraphobics are afraid to leave home for numerous reasons and the COVIDphobic has only one—a scary, horrible, evil virus waiting outside your door to kill you.
Okay, I need to take a breath here, but I fear going outside won’t be as easy as I once thought. Cause I’ve discovered something about myself…I’m a big fat chicken.
That’s right; as yellow as a barnyard hen and clucking day and night as I wander about wiping doorknobs, light switches, all surfaces and anything that doesn’t move.
Have I gone COVID crazy? You bet.
Groceries that are delivered must be wiped, removed from their outer wrappings and if they aren’t perishable they don’t enter for at least a week. A precaution just in case there’s a speck of virus sitting on my diet Snapple bottle waiting to jump up and attack me in my sleep.
I feel like I’m in Viet Nam and there are gorilla fighters in every tree and swamp. Apocalypse Now? Perhaps.
So how are we just supposed to leave the house and live our lives as though nothing has happened?
Well I guess millions of people are. I saw the opening of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and it seems the gambling gene is not affected by COVID cause that place was rocking.
So why am I so convinced that there is a virus lurking outside my door, like a private eye on a stakeout, scarfing down coffee and donuts until I step outside and boom, gotcha?
So besides gambling what else isn’t affected by COVID-19?
Eating seems to be fine and there is no apparent loss of appetite as we sit in our nests awaiting release. Cooking, tasting, drinking, baking, all fine and dandy and totally unaffected by this whole crazy scene.
What else? Protesting. Seems millions of people aren’t concerned with the virus cause apparently it’s a social activist. Marching is one of its talents so no one is deterred.
It also seems it hasn’t affected criminals who see the fact they wear a mask without being singled out as a real benefit to their violent activities.
Watching television hasn’t been impacted at all. In fact it’s been increased during the quarantine.
So yes, I know we can go out now, it’s allowed and I actually have one friend that never stayed home. She has been on the go and outside running around since this whole thing started. There hasn’t been any change at all to her life except the mask.
Why am I having so much trouble believing it’s safe out there in a COVID-ravaged world? Why do I believe it has another trick up its sleeve and is just waiting for the right moment to show its hand and that hand will land on my back? Is my paranoia normal or are others still frightened to take the plunge back into society?
I have spoken to people who know of no one that has had or died from the virus and I’m shocked. I know far too many. So is that a reason I’m hesitant to rejoin the outside world?
Or have I gone totally COVID crazy and believe my children’s constant warnings about rejoining society?
Not much has ever scared me and I’m a pretty fearless bitch as anyone can tell you. Oh sure, the shower and turn-the-rocking-chair-around scenes in Psycho still scare the living- you-know-what out of me, and the sight of Nancy Pelosi without her Botox injections could put me over the edge, but mostly I can hold my own, bravery wise. Yet I can’t find the guts to face off with a teeny-weeny Chinese virus I can’t even see. Shame on me for my cowardice, or am I just being responsible? Color me COVID confused, perhaps another new illness.
I know I’d feel horrible if I ever infected someone and wouldn’t want that on my conscience. To have to live with the idea I needed a chocolate croissant so badly I’d risk my life and the life of others to get one, well how could I?
Sure a chocolate croissant versus death is a tough call, but still the thought of being stuck here for another six months scares me more than a policeman in my rear-view mirror when I’ve been driving five miles over the speed limit.
I have no answers here. Should one throw caution to the wind and just say, “What the hell?” Or should we act like vigilant soldiers at war with a virus?
If there is a happy medium I’d love to hear what it is soon cause I’m really getting sick of this nuttiness.
There doesn’t seem to be an answer, it’s all a risk. If I go out there is always the chance of contacting the virus, but if I stay inside there is always the chance I’ll lose what’s left of my mind. Not far to go on that one either.
So what’s an old broad to do in the meantime while we await vaccines, cures, Houdini to make it disappear or a miracle? As I used to say when walking the floor with my son at three a.m., “this too shall pass.”
Guess as I continue to ponder, I’ll bake. Check out my new recipe for oatmeal caramel cookies. Enjoy and stay safe.
Oatmeal Caramel Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature,
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- Sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 12 Kraft caramels
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon and baking soda; set aside.
Combine the butter with both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed and add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat about 1 minute then add flour mixture.
Unwrap your caramels and cut each of them into four small pieces. Add to mixture before oats and mix them in well.
A small hint here: after cutting the caramels just toss them very lightly in flour and they won’t stick together in the cookie dough.
Stir in the oats, cover and chill dough for one hour to overnight. This is optional as I have baked them without chilling and they turn out great.
Drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and I use a tablespoon, but use a small ice cream scooper if you have one. They should be two inches apart because they will spread. Drop a smidge of sea salt on top of each cookie before baking. This step is optional if you’re not a salt fan or watching salt intake.
Bake until cookies are just golden around the edges, but soft in the center. Should take eight to ten minutes, but ovens may vary, so watch.
Cool on baking sheet a minute or two and then transfer to a wire rack. ENJOY!
Why We Refuse to See The Unseen
I’ve never seen a UFO. I thought I heard one outside my window one night, but of course that’s pure conjecture. So no, I have no evidence they either exist or don’t exist. The truth is UFOs have given me a rather interesting perspective on life that I’ve embraced and believe has been greatly responsible for my points of view. Simply, I understand that it’s not so much what we see in life that colors our reality so much as what we won’t see.
The empty space that exists between what is seen and what is not can answer questions, inject wisdom and provide a vital perspective to the answers we seek.
How can a void be so filled with information you ask? Because it’s sometimes the lack of information that is most clear.
Although a simple analogy, most people will tell you that at stressful times like funerals or serious moments in life, human nature may not notice so much who is there as whom is missing. I believe we’ve all felt this during our lives and heard others speak it as well.
So and so wasn’t at the funeral did you notice?
It’s not about being petty, it’s actually about new information that absence or empty space affords us.
We expect the people who show up, to well show up, so there is no surprise when they do. However when one doesn’t, that is new information. If we apply this simple logic to most things in life it becomes apparent. There may be much to see in the abyss.
As a reporter I often made it a habit to look for the non-existence in the room before what was before my eyes. Who might be absent from a crucial meeting? Who was seated far away from a former colleague or someone’s silence in lieu of speaking? I often learned a great deal from observing what wasn’t there.
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s what we refuse to observe that most effects our lives. The obvious cannot surprise or catch us off guard. The silent however is capable of the strangest and most deadly consequences.
Have we all been guilty at times of closing our eyes to what is unseen or our ears to the unspoken?
To be Cleopatra, Queen of Denial instead of facing the silence that literally screamed at us to notice while we covered or averted our eyes.
Are there UFOs, does China have ten more viruses at hand even more deadly and dangerous than COVID19, is Iran on the verge of nuclear power, has the day for robots to take our place already come and we refuse to see? No, I’m not claiming there are UFOs, they are merely a good example of the schism between those who have witnessed them and those who say absolutely not. Perhaps the expression, “I couldn’t believe my own eyes,” may be relevant.
The scariest part of recent events is that in our relationship with China we avoided the space that held the truth. What else are we refusing to see that may come in the night and catch us off guard? When did we ignore the potential of an oppressive regime that had committed atrocities against its own people? The warnings of so many experts, or were we simply no more than a foolish woman who is blinded by a man’s good looks and wealth and ignores his five previous marriages?
These are global examples, but the truth is there is an unseen every day in our lives.
Google is now running the world in the void between sight lines. They are far more dangerous than Big Brother because even Orwell who foresaw the power didn’t see its true extent.
Computers have relegated every area of our lives into a giant open book of data they now possess and use to control us. How we buy, shop, travel, live, eat, work and even love. Yet we shake it off and say “no big deal.”
Artificial intelligence is already baked into the cake we consume each day and yet we don’t see.
Will we awaken one morning as we did to a pandemic and find we have been taken over by robots? Or a terrorist nation with a bomb they’ve handed to one of their proxies to explode in Times Square, or perhaps even aliens among us unseen and close to being unmasked? Is the element of surprise not really a surprise at all?
What might next catch us off guard because we’ve refused to notice, to read between the lines, to avoid those parts of reality we’d rather not observe?
Hamlet said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Shakespeare acknowledged the determination of human beings to refuse to test reality, to look away from the unseen even when it stares us in the face.
“There is no there there” is probably the most misleading statement in human existence, for if we look into the void we will see there is always a there there. What we won’t see will always ultimately be revealed, so the question we must ask is; will we be prepared when it is?
No Sense of Urgency
To procrastinate: delay or postpone action; put off doing something
One of the things I’ve found during this crisis is that I have rediscovered and am now channeling my inner procrastinator. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, “I’ll do it tomorrow in the last few months, well you know”
Yes, that concept we have been taught to avoid because it focuses on short-term happiness and goals seems to be the operative word now.
However, can we be accused of acting hedonistically when short term is all there is to focus on right now? Can we plan our lives even a week from now? Sadly no.
Aside from those that are lucky enough to still be employed and out functioning in the world, the rest of us seem to be busy trying to fill our days in captivity.
Of course there are many productive activities we can and continue doing like working from home, but many hours in the day we filled with more compulsory endeavors are now more discretionary.
I must admit that even I as an avid motion picture fan am growing rather tired of on demand, live streaming and Turner Classic Movies.
Yes, I do keep up with the latest Netflix offerings and read everyone’s comments on Facebook about the Tiger King and Unorthodox so I’m not living under a rock, however it does get old.
So begs the question, is a sense of urgency what’s necessary to cure procrastination? Or are human beings wired to move quickly when probed, like swatting a burro on its hindquarters. Andalay!
Mothers and fathers are now tasked with more to do as so many are working from home and must help teach and plan activities for their children. I know some young Moms who contend when this is over they will feel like they’re on vacation.
Perhaps these days of seeking ways to fill the time have been good and bad in many ways.
One good is obviously the fact so many have now embraced their inner Emeril. Cooks all over the world are drawn into the kitchen to refine their skills and experiment with new recipes and concoctions.
However this trend must be traced back to a primal urge for humans to eat when hungry or many times, bored, aggravated, bathing suit shopping, family dinners, depressed, hating a new hairdo or you run out of Cherry Garcia ice cream; and yes an entire carton is considered one serving.
So, the serge in cooking is actually predicated on the desire to first and foremost eat and second to fill the day. This is a positive outcome of the time in quarantine and will probably translate into new vistas of adventure for many that have never previously left the sofa to order take out.
There are many areas however one can point to and say, “Uh oh, procrastination has sunk in.” For example dressing up.
After all when you’re wearing sweats everyday and walking from the bedroom to the television screen not so much need for wardrobe changes or jewelry.
Although there are those who are exercising regularly outdoors as well, when at home it’s the bare minimum in fashion and the maximum in comfort one seeks.
Hair has become such an issue for some women that they are literally threatening to drive to other states to find a hairdresser to color their roots. Hello, Girlfriend, shampoo in tints, Amazon delivers, and a no brainer that even a baboon can do.
Elastic waists are ruling the roost now allowing room for all the extra cooking and tasting going on.
Where once women that lived alone could argue I put on make up even when I’m home just for myself. Out the window, cause unless you’re zooming not so much grooming.
Americans especially are a nation of urgency junkies. We love to receive a good kick in the behind because that’s what has always worked so well for us in the past.
When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor we were up and running. We even had a theme song, “Over There Over There.” Should be played now, “The Yanks are Coming the Yanks are coming, the drums drum drumming everywhere.” We jump into action and never look back. We’re a country of scrappers and we love a good fight.
When Japan attacked General Motors, we leapt into action once again and fought back. Okay, so Japan won that one, but we did make a heck of an effort.
World Trade Center, we fought, we conquered, we rebuilt. It’s what Americans do.
Human beings need a sense of urgency, which is proven by the way they’re fighting to get businesses reopen although the virus is still out there as strong as ever.
People need a reason to get up in the morning and yes, although a new Netflix movie may be exciting it’s not enough to fill our lives.
I think one example of a positive is the virus has forced us to spend time at home with our families. To cook, eat, watch television, read, exercise, talk and create new activities together. Sadly it may be a boom for divorce lawyers, but I doubt that, last man standing rule and all.
Perhaps there was a sense of urgency to slow down and smell the roses and if anything good comes from all this captivity, I vote for family time. The other side of course is not being able to see family and grandchildren.
The scale tips both ways, but as I’ve said before we rise to the occasion.
Expectations from others and from within ourselves are what drives and propels us to achieve more and greater goals. That sense of urgency we experience every day is what flicks on the light switch within us and forces the electric current into our creative selves.
So if you’ve been home channeling your inner chef, Picasso, Dior, or Hemingway, once life returns to normal it will be a sense of being in the world once more that sparks you up to the next level. New businesses, books, creative outlets will be born from captivity, but sadly one doesn’t have the luxury to plan when right now. Let’s face it, the song doesn’t just say “where”, but also “when” and that’s a big factor in giving one impetus to move ahead with life, dreams and goals. Perhaps there was a sense of urgency for you to delve into your inner dreams.
Much will change in this new normal we face, but one fact remains the same, every so often we all need to slow down, relax and procrastinate just a little. Get in touch with parts of oneself forgotten or ignored. But I think everyone will agree, enough already!
I Shop Therefore I am
Please Save The Malls!
There is a point when things get out of hand. When lines are crossed and deeds done that can’t be undone.
This damn virus has now placed all ten toes across my damn line!
Death, suffering, sickness, house arrest, not being able to see my children and grandchildren up close and personal, people losing everything they have, no parties, movies, events, concerts and Lord knows all the sacrifices we’ve all had to make for this curse from the east, but now I find out malls want us to pull up and curbside pick up. What?
The stores that will be left standing and I can’t even speak about such icons of the retail world as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus going under, the pain is too great, but curbside pick up?
I heard other malls are toying with the idea of giving out numbers in the parking lot to tell you when you can enter the stores. In the meantime coffee shops and restaurants will call you in your car to offer you food while you’re waiting.
Now men may be fine with this brave new shopping world because most don’t like to shop anyway, (have you ever tried to get your husband away from the football game to shop for new shirts?) but women? Listen up retailers. Women must use their shopping gene or it will damage our psyche.
Okay universe you’ve had your fun, now honestly stop threatening to close malls. My heart can’t take anymore.
Amazon is fine when you’re bored, in quarantine, need something in a hurry, lazy or can’t find what you’re looking for in the stores.
It’s a perfect shopping distraction when you’re on the phone listening to someone bore your ass off, but is it a substitute for actual shopping? I think not.
Women need retail therapy. It’s like the air we breathe. Feeling clothing, trying on shoes until you make a shoe salesperson cry, these are rites of passage for a female. Age, race, economic circumstances, career woman or mom, size, education, married or single, it matters not. Shopping is the great equalizer for my gender. It’s like Spanx because every woman can find a size to fit her.
Racks of blouses, jeans, dresses or sweats are not just fabric to us; they are mother’s milk, endearing and special. We need to see these choices up close and become one with them. Their fabric and prints call to us and we bond.
We crave a sale sign that says 50% off. This is serious stuff here, these experiences comfort and soothe us.
There are consequences for a woman when she is unable to walk through a store, reject the perfume sprayer and salivate over the shoe department. We could develop terrible diseases like high blood pressure, anxiety or even have a mental collapse. We’re built to shop and if we can’t it’s a shock to our nervous systems.
There is a special feeling when the Mac girl offers to do your make up and that new eye shadow is simply perfect. Or Benefits opens an eyebrow bar and you finally find a color that doesn’t make you look like Groucho Marx.
Does any man understand what it does to a woman’s blood pressure when she spies that fabulous black cashmere sweater she has been salivating over at half off?
Yoga is fine to relieve stress but a 75% off sale adds years back to a woman’s life.
For women shopping is therapy.
Only at the mall can a woman pick up a pound of chocolate covered gummy bears and find the leather jacket of her dreams in one place. Plus, there’s always a place to sit and calm down after a session of trying on bathing suits.
Malls are healing and they make us happy after the world has collapsed. When your mother in law has spent the weekend visiting…a new sweater.
When your husband refuses to clean the garage after six months of begging…new shoes. Your boss asks you to make him coffee…a new handbag. When your perfect angel uses your freshly painted walls as a canvas for his latest Picasso… another pound of chocolate gummies, please.
I have a theory that Stonehenge is actually the remnants of a parking structure for the first mall in England.
Women meet at the mall to shop, eat lunch, play cards or maj jong and hunt for the perfect new piece for their wardrobe. Can you check out online how your ass looks in those skinny jeans?
It’s serious to a woman and a need that can’t be filled by any parking lot waiting, curbside picking up or online perusing. These are all nice sides to the meal but the real star of dinner is the filet mignon…the mall!
We shop, we forget. We seek, we relax, we hunt, we feel pride, we score a bargain, and we brag to every friend who will listen.
You can’t take shopping away from a woman and not cause severe psychological damage. Like backing up in a parking lot and blowing out your tires.
Shopping is calming and soothes the savage breast to bring us to an enlightened state. Does any woman not know the joy of unearthing that perfect accessory to complete an outfit?
We share the experience with friends, “Deb, this black blouse is perfect for that wedding in January. Randi, you so need this rhinestone encrusted sweater to go with those new jeans. Guys is this not the perfect jacket to go with my new pants?” “Janet, get out of your comfort zone and try on this blouse. Karen, you need to return ten pairs of those shoes you ordered!”
We don’t just shop for ourselves, but for all women, it’s a bonding experience, we pursue, we track, we discover, then we celebrate.
Women share coupons. It’s not just important for us to save on that new outfit, but for our friends as well.
Would a man reach into his purse at the cashier and say, “Here take this 20% off coupon, I don’t need it?”
Oh some may mock and point fingers, but has anyone ever gone home empty handed from a Tupperware party?
Malls are group think, a herd mentality when the thrill of the hunt is heightened by the sheer fact there is competition for the prize. We need to get to those shoes on the sale rack before that woman eyeing them on my left.
You may think I’m exaggerating a bit, but think of how much you’ve missed the mall. After your hairdresser and manicurist, it’s our first stop.
Don’t take away our malls; women need a place to escape to when overloaded by our busy lives and empty closets. Men have sports, we have shopping.
Small or large, strip or giant they are one part of our lives we need to fight to protect. Otherwise we will turn around one day and just like our youth, they will we gone.
Is Quarantine in Italy More Fattening?
I have noticed while perusing Facebook and Instagram that most posts have something to do with food. People who never made anything but reservations are now suddenly future cooking show stars as they prepare new dishes for their families.
I applaud everyone setting out on their new kitchen journey, but for me it does beg the question—is the quarantine food better in Italy or France?
Perhaps I should be asking, why is it all about food?”
Of course there are great chefs and great food in America and I don’t wish to infer anything different, but hey being stuck in a home in Tuscany with an Italian grandma cooking, well come on let’s get real.
Homemade pasta, pizzas, minestrone, cannoli, tiramisu. Just a minute my mouth is watering here.
Okay I’m back.
There is no doubt Italian food is high on the list of everyone’s favorites and to be locked in with fresh pastas cooking daily, oh my. How fat can you get?
Who could say no to all the luscious foods being catered morning till night with a pot of Sunday gravy (sauce) constantly simmering on the stove? Not me.
They would have to roll me out the door at the end of this whole adventure because I would be stuffing food into my mouth non-stop. The only exercise I’m sure I’d get would be walking from the table to the stove or pizza oven to refill my plate.
I don’t mean to sound as though I’m playing favorites so let’s examine being quarantined in France.
Oh boy, chocolate croissants for breakfast, beurre blanc sauces and luscious creamy éclairs with a side of macrons.
The delicate touch of French cooking would not do much to prevent me from packing on the pounds. I would have to get up extra early to ensure I get to the croissants when they first came out of the oven.
I believe it’s almost impossible to be at home for such a length of time and not focus way too much on food. It’s a well-known fact when we’re all busy and productive our appetites take a back seat while boredom leads them into the forefront.
Okay, I just finished the first season of Fauda, what’s for lunch?
Now let me see, I’ll just watch another season of Shitt’s Creek and then have dinner. Wait, what should I have for dinner? Hmmm, let me check the freezer. You stand in front of the freezer watching your Hagen Daz melt as you scan the food and come up empty.
You check the refrigerator to get a feel for what might be appealing and you are left cold, literally with what catches your eye. So you wonder, should I order in? What can I get that I’ve been craving?
You spend another ten minutes trying to figure out what looks good for dinner and since you’re basically still full from lunch, your appetite isn’t really responding as you’d hoped and the signal is a bit hazy.
So you go back to the television and click back onto Netflix and in a few hours you’re starting to feel hungry and your attention shifts back to food.
This has now become a search for the most appealing dinner and you realize what you want for dinner isn’t available in your kitchen so you settle for cereal.
Now if that Italian Grandma had been busy cooking all day you would sit down to a dinner of homemade pasta, delicious meatballs and a tiramisu for dessert.
Captivity is not a conducive atmosphere for dieting.
When politicians mention the dangers of being quarantined in your homes, stress, depression, suicide, etc, they don’t mention the biggest danger—FAT!
Yes, this is good for the economy. Let’s face it when we get out again none of our clothes will fit so we’ll need to buy new things to wear. That’s positive for retailers, yet the negative is the extra pounds. Positive is more business for the gyms when they reopen. Negative is diabetes, heart disease, etc.
So there doesn’t seem to be a good answer for everyone here.
As a serious foodaholic being locked in with a refrigerator and access to food delivery to my door is making my fat cells dance for joy. They have been waiting my whole life for instant food on a whim and not even have to get in the car to shop.
I remember how I celebrated pizza delivery. That was the first step on the road to extra calories in an instant. Now whatever you want is available too quickly and too easily. Step number two on that road was elastic-waist pants.
Oh sure, all good news for my fat cells but bad for my diet.
So what can I do, fly to Italy and search Tuscany for my Italian grandmother who died many, many, many years ago?
It’s just me, Amazon, and my better angels screaming at me to stop carbo-loading and suck up the kale. Who will win? So far I’m holding my own, but chocolate is a formidable foe.
Am I glad I’m not in Italy or France? You bet I am. Excuse me I have a pot of sauce simmering on the stove. I remembered I’m part Italian grandma so bye bye cereal and hello minestrone. It ain’t Tuscany, but good pasta is worth its weight in gold anywhere on earth.
Can I Get an Expiration Date on all this Fun and Frivolity?
This was an unusual Mother’s Day. Where most are spent with children and grandchildren brunching, lunching or supping, this one was spent Zooming or Facetiming by far too many families.
Okay, I’ll say it, it sucks, but yes I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to see our families albeit from a distance.
This Brave New World that we all now inhabit courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party has not come cheap. So much for the economic benefits of manufacturing in China.
It has cost us all dearly and I for one need to know there is an end to this madness.
I have heard too many times lately that although the quarantine may end for those under sixty, the older folks, and sadly I must count myself among that group, although I have absolutely no idea how I got this old, will not be able to run amuck so quickly.
One of my friends confessed between sobs she was so lonesome for her children and grandchildren she admitted this is “getting to her.” An understatement of gargantuan proportions.
I feel her pain and I’m sure most of the rest of the world does as well.
While there are many whose children will allow visitation rights in this climate, many won’t. My children would feel better if they could shackle my leg to the couch, but I have behaved and stayed indoors except for the occasional walk around the neighborhood. My daughter, bless her heart, texts after my walk to see if I made it home okay. I imagine my children fear that a giant corona virus is lurking outside just to attack older people that can’t outrun it.
And yes, it’s a warm and fuzzy feeling to know my children are concerned about my welfare and very protective yet it does beg the question, “When the hell can I get out of here?”
That seems to be the dilemma for most of my friends. There isn’t a light at the end of this tunnel.
It’s far easier to except the inevitable when the inevitable has an expiration date. At this point in time no one can say with any certainty when this plague will be gone. Is it a month or a year or never?
Tough to get happy thinking we may never be able to step into the light unencumbered by the threat of sickness or death once again.
Yes, I know as my son has pointed out to make me feel better, that the greatest minds in the world are focused on only one thing, killing this viral sucker, and that does help.
After all, we do live in a world of impressive innovation.
There are cures for diseases, electric cars, reservations for recreational space travel, which by the way is looking real good right now, Alexa (or as I like to refer to her, Big Brother’s little sister), Downton Abbey, Cherry Garcia ice cream, magnetic false eyelashes, umbrellas that close upside down, air fryers, Amazon, and the Real Housewives of anywhere and everywhere, although they don’t resemble anyone I’ve ever known, in any house anywhere.
Yes, while great minds are at work 24/7 I’ve noticed some things conspicuously missing as I pondered why I’m having trouble finding certain pieces of my jigsaw puzzles.
Did you know for instance there are no television shows where old stars can go to remain semi relevant. And no, Dancing with the Stars doesn’t count. No Love Boats to watch as the characters we grew up with parade around the Lido Deck and order cocktails from Isaac.
I’ve also seriously questioned my intelligence while viewing reruns of That Girl on METV wondering how the hell Marlo Thomas afforded an apartment in New York and couture clothes working as a part-time actress?
As I watch the old shows I ask myself, “Was I dumb enough to buy into this horse shit?” As if Ann Marie and Donald weren’t sleeping together, yeah right!
And don’t even start me on Jeannie and Larry Hagman. Like any red-blooded American male wouldn’t wish for one thing first, last and always when he has a half-naked blond living on his coffee table.
Donna Reed with her perfect make up, wearing high heels, silk shirtwaist and pearls in the morning to make oatmeal. Really, seriously? No wonder I was so screwed up. My mother didn’t get out of bed until at least nine and when I returned home from school was still in her nightgown. Pearls and oatmeal were never a thing in our house. It was pretty much Tony the Tiger or my Dad’s special eggs, which were actually eggs scrambled in the pan that were breakfast fare most mornings.
As I’ve said before, I have way too much time on my hands now that I can’t play Maj Jong.
Thinking this much is over rated and so was the new Netflix series, Hollywood, but it served as a nice distraction for a few hours.
I saw on the news that a drive-in movie just opened somewhere in Texas. I was so excited thinking of being outside on a summer night and watching the drink cups, ice cream bars, popcorn and hot dogs singing and dancing across the screen, “Let’s all go to the lobby to get ourselves a treat!” Now that was entertainment.
Some old stuff is looking pretty good right now, although I can’t say I am with no haircut and roots as long as a politician’s arrest record.
Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank has reintroduced carhops. Great, now we don’t even have to get a bit of exercise by walking into the restaurant. Calories on a tray hand delivered to your car. Is that innovation or a step back into lazy land?
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy some down time like everyone else. There are puzzles to do, shows to watch, new recipes to try and some crafty things I can now find time for, but I need an end date on all this fun and frivolity. I’m burning out on relaxation.
No matter how many times we turn off the news we are all still aware, especially on a holiday, that these are scary times and somewhere in the back of our minds that fear lingers like the aroma of cheap drugstore perfume.
I have a new and profound respect for animals at the zoo. No wonder they look pissed off. I guess those monkey bars can get old pretty fast. I know mine are. So until we can once more overpay for a ticket to a mediocre movie and ten dollar tubs of popcorn I wish you all happy days filled with fun and interesting diversions.
Stay safe everyone.
Ponder, Ponder, Ponder…Get Me Outta Here
Ponder: to think carefully about something, especially for a noticeable length of time.
I have way too much time on my hands right now to ponder. Yes ponder. No good can come of pondering. Thinking leads to allowing things into our minds that we have successfully been able to lock out for years. And then suddenly we are pondering and all the stuff we are trying to avoid comes back like Cadbury eggs at Easter time. Among today’s ponderings one stood out I knew I must share, since many have been the victim of its relentless convoluted logic. So here is one of the most obnoxious forms of guilt and manipulation on the planet.
I give you the plea, “I know their wrong, but you give in and be the bigger person.”
I’m sure if we had a dollar for every time we heard that phrase we’d be rich as Rockefeller. I know I would.
So I will now bust this myth wide open by saying simply. When you strive to be the bigger person, you only succeed in making yourself the bigger target.
Why do you say this Norma? Why shouldn’t everyone attempt to be bigger and more magnanimous? How can it be negative in any way?
I shall splain, Lucy.
In most cases the plea for one to be the bigger person always comes when someone is acting like a giant jerk and you are the one chosen to keep the peace.
One must ask why you are the one being asked to succumb to the idiotic or selfish ramblings of others. Is it because those beseeching you believe you are the bigger person? Or do they really believe you are the weaker one, or perhaps even more prideful?
I believe it’s true especially with parents that understand when we are very young which child is the weakest of the herd. Whom can they most easily manipulate and lead about through the use of many methods, including guilt.
Thus when the most spoiled and stubborn of the group acts up they immediately know which to approach to give in and end the stand off.
The weakest one of course, the one that will most easily succumb to the guilt, praise and downright lies.
It’s usually the one doing the acting up or out that’s the favored one, the most loved and revered and not to be messed with. So because they are the most prized everyone must give in to their ridiculous and selfish behavior.
I am merely pondering here, but I believe I’m on the money.
After one gives in to a spoiled obnoxious person there is a period of praise from others and pride in being the bigger person.
Nothing is ever gained by backing down and letting others walk over you. Oh sure there is momentary peace. Yet all it accomplishes is to set a pattern of behavior where you give in to those who in many instances, will never change, grow or become better people.
You will never have established healthy boundaries with this type of person and they will continue throughout life to take advantage of the fact they can emotionally bully you.
Eventually the day will come when you will grow tired of the dynamic and walk away. So what has been gained?
Being the bigger person is not always predicated on giving in. Nor is it dependent on the desire to always be right. We should agree that many times we must let others be right even when we believed we were, and sometimes when they may not be.
In retrospect as we all look back on our mistakes, failures and successes there have been many times we would change our behavior to affect the outcome. This is a necessary lesson in human relationships.
Giving in to appease others to believe we’re the bigger person is an exercise in futility and pride. It’s like winning the booby prize. Sure someone else won the argument, but I know I’m the bigger person. As if that counts for anything.
I think there are two ways to be the bigger person in these encounters. One is to walk away and ignore the entire situation. Rise above it altogether and don’t engage.
Second is to avoid people in your life that back you against a wall and encourage disputes and unpleasantness. Being the bigger person may be nothing more than being the wiser one.
In the end none of it matters anyway. Arguments are futile because most people don’t really change their opinions. Hostility is unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. As one ages we all realize that very little matters except love and family. So being the so-called bigger person always has and always will come to naught in the end.
I think we are all the bigger person for knowing what is really important for bigger, as we know, is not always better.
So in my pondering I have decided that what matters most is to seek love, forgive easily and embrace laughter. And I don’t need anything bigger than that.
This new normal is an exercise in self control personified.
Grandparents have now been relegated to seeing their grandchildren via Face time or Zoom, neither of which is conducive to this Grammy’s needs.
Sure I can see my grandsons as they carry the phone around with them through their activities and I can pseudo join them in their daily routine for a short time. I applaud the technology that allows us access in these dangerous times.
However, let me say loud and clear, iphones are no substitute for smelling your grandson’s hair and hugging him until he says Grammy you’re squeezing me so hard I can’t breathe.
This quarantine, although necessary has been difficult for grandparents.
We are told by our children, “make sure you walk and stay active.” I say you can’t watch Netflix and lump all your other activities together. All multi tasking aside it’s truly difficult to relax while you’re trying to use your foot pedal bike, shove Cherry Garcia into your mouth, do a jigsaw puzzle and watch Grace and Frankie at the same time.
When this is over I will not be able to sit still and simply relax without feeling I must be doing a million different things to avoid my hardening arteries from turning to stone.
There are so many things one must not do. No news on television lest we want to hang ourselves. No cooking unless one wants to become so fat that when we are allowed out the door we will not be able to fit through the door. Nothing will feel as good as breathing the stale air in a mall, eating the greasy over-spiced food in a food court or shopping a sale.
Yet with all the things we miss in our daily routine, Grandmas need kisses and hugs and the scent of their grandchildren to stay alive.
I almost feel sorry for my grandsons because I have months to make up for. There will be retroactive hugs and kisses to secure and that will take extra time.
So what will be the response of our grandchildren?
Will they allow all that extra affection? Will they allow those long stares and proud smiles? Will they be annoyed and say, Grammy, stop staring at me?
Will there be a backlash? Will our grandchildren rebel and say no more? Will we have to live with cuddling cutbacks if we come on too strong? And how can we not come on too strong when we are let out of quarantine jail and allowed to get within hugging distance again?
We’ve had months of withdrawal. We are chomping at the bit to see those little faces we love up close and personal. Who can blame us for a little overdoing? Am I perhaps a bit melodramatic? Well staring at the damn walls and reruns of the West Wing have created more than just a little desperation here!
Hopefully our grandchildren will understand how excited we are to make up for lost time.
Okay, so I know self-control will have to be the rule of the day when I am allowed near my grandsons once more.
I shall practice restraint and time my hugs to be just short of annoying.
My staring at their adorable faces will have to be monitored and shortened although I’m afraid I won’t be able to take my eyes off them.
These are hard Grammy times and I’m feeling the burn here.
It’s more than an exercise in self-control, it’s an exercise in the pain of withdrawal from a perfectly acceptable drug—my grandchildren. I’m addicted and I’m not ashamed to speak it out loud.
I also know I’m not the only grandparent out there who is hurting. There is something about being in the company of your grandchildren that lowers blood pressure, allows one’s tired old heart to beat with a renewed sense of joy and youth, and the sheer act of smiling so hard at the sight of them takes years off one’s face.
What is one to do when separated from the most powerful youth drug on the planet? I can’t imagine I’ll have enough time to catch up on my dosage once this is over.
Grandchildren are the fountains of youth. Their smiles contain all the secrets of the universe and they are the sun to my planet.
So I must say to all grandparents, hang in there and double up on your dosage when we are allowed to return to the universe that keeps us young and excited about life. Until then please stay safe and healthy and hopeful about the future. That sense of hope and optimism is something we all can pass down to our offspring.
Being old in captivity brings a whole new set of problems. Each age group has faced unique challenges in the face of this horrific world attack by an evil virus and the world has now seen the ravages of biological warfare on a global scale.
Much has been learned or one can hope, but each age group has had to face different and scary trials.
I have witnessed the tests younger people including my own children and grandchildren have faced.
It is however my own that I can speak to most clearly.
Did I fully appreciate Amazon before, probably not? Do I now? Have I completely embraced the whole let my fingers do the walking routine online? You bet. Will I be excited to run through a mall again and feel and touch the merchandise? You bet I will! Is chocolate still a panacea, it is indeed.
Busy brings distraction. Growing old is difficult and most of my generation have learned to use denial and distraction as the prevalent tools in their arsenal to battle back against the reality of old age.
Time doesn’t creep it pounces.
We look in the mirror and our close-up vision is compromised by time.
We compensate by using magnified mirrors that are probably the work of the devil, but we insist on a true glimpse into the ravages of time.
We battle back with plastic surgery, Botox, creams, treatments whatever we can unearth to slow the process.
Yet what I have discovered in the last few months is that the greatest tool in our arsenal is indeed distraction and without that we must come face to face with our own mortality.
And it isn’t pretty.
In the pre-covid 19 days I would see a new wrinkle and meet a friend for lunch, do some shopping, play Maj Jong, visit my grandsons, or any one of a million other activities, including work related to distract from the truth that stared me in the face, I am growing old. I am now the oldest generation, and time is winning.
The last few months have brought many deaths, some from covid, some from natural causes, but many I grew up with and around are suddenly gone.
Once I would hear about a death of an old friend and busy myself with trivial activities to ignore the fact that time was racing past. Distraction was king, and I say long live the king!
Now I have no such luxury. Binge watching Shitt’s Creek is not the same as being with family or friends. It isn’t working. It may provide a moment’s distraction, but our lifestyle is the ultimate defense against reality. Celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, important life events and holidays with family and friends cannot be discounted.
We hear bad news, we move, we see a gray hair we move, we feel the ravages of time on our bodies, we move.
Without movement, we have little defense.
We need as Streisand said, “People”. We need interaction, even those among us who once considered ourselves a bit of an introvert. We’ve all realized we are part of the world and we use this world to our advantage to deal with the fears and issues we face each day.
Without interaction we are forced to see life for what is it is and that can be very painful for one who is moving into old age. It even sounds sad, but once I wouldn’t have cared. I could laugh with friends, celebrate life and keep going.
Stopping is not an option. The challenge has been to keep busy and relevant now that the world has closed up shop.
Soon we will all enter a new world, a new normal; we can’t yet predict or foresee and we will have to move even further away from the world we once knew.
This is a painful exercise even in the best of times so how we will approach these good byes now.
Part of growing older are the memories we embrace, our childhoods, our parenting years and remembering those who are now gone.
I know my generation is up to this as we have overcome before, we will again. I am forcibly optimistic and choose to be.
So to all my friends I can only say what I have been saying to myself,
More than ever it is imperative we make the most of every moment. Live fully and excitedly each day and dwell only in the present. Had we ever forgotten those rules and I have many times, we cannot again.
Happy new world coming and may it be the best years of your lives.
Why I’m Voting For Jed Bartlet for President
I never discuss politics on social media. In this political climate, no matter what your political affiliation the wrath of Satan will come at you from the other side. There is no civil discourse and I find it incredibly disheartening and tragic that we as Americans can’t simply have an opinion and not be sought out for pain and suffering for our beliefs.
However, this election I have decided to take a stand. I will be casting my vote for Josiah (Jed) Bartlet and I’m praying he once again picks Tim Matheson for his Veep. Any guy who could handle the guys in Animal House should be able to handle Congress. Well maybe.
Watching the West Wing reruns, which I do regularly, makes me long for the good old days when politicians hated one another, but were polite when they stuck the knives in someone’s back.
There have been times lately when I truly believe America will be totally fine in their battle against the coronavirus because the toxic atmosphere of politics today will take down the virus. No match.
People are so angry and aggressive we have become a nation of pitbulls and there seems to be no limit to the mean. Racism and anti- Semitism are fair game and hate has become an overt pastime that comes with no price to pay.
Friendships, family relationships and businesses have all felt the wrath of this new normal.
Jed Bartlet is the only man who can calm the waters and restore peace.
No one would dare call C.J. Craig fat at a White House press dinner.
Who could ever accuse Josh Lyman, Toby Zeigler or Sam Seaborn of inappropriate behavior? Leo McGarry was even coerced by Jed to hire a Republican, Ainsley Hayes in the White House.
Could you ever see that happening today?
Okay I know, you’re thinking Norma, hello, this wasn’t real life. The West Wing was a television program so you need to come back to reality. Politicians like Bartlet don’t really exist and never could.
I know I know, I’m very well aware of what politicians are, probably more than most since I’m a journalist and possess the anti-politician gene.
I’m dog they are cat, born to be at odds. I get it.
So here is my solution. Since Jed was created by genius Aaron Sorkin, perhaps he should run.
In West Wingland life was good, people were human and the politics were admirable. Crises were averted without name calling and shaming one another.
Since Sorkin imagined this political utopia let’s give him a shot at bringing it into the real world.
So Mr. S, I’m throwing your hat into the political ring whether or not you care to be there.
America needs you and it’s your duty to serve your country. To paraphrase a line from one of the episodes, “we’ve all been down that hole now and you know the way out.”
I’m volunteering to be your press secretary and Matheson for your vice president. Look out Congress the Belushi tamer is coming your way.
Sure I’m kidding, sort of, well maybe kinda, but the point is life imitates art or vice versa. In these times of anger, pure mean and contempt toward one another, perhaps this is the solution.
I for one can think of no other so I’ll throw my hands in the air and shout Bartlet’s campaign slogan, “Make America Nice Again.”
Stay healthy everyone and take heart, if you run out of toilet paper you can always use your ballot for the upcoming election.
How Fat Are You?
110 Pounds Thinner, Thank You
I haven’t really ever taken on weight as a subject, but I feel it’s time to impart my take on the whole food/weight thing. There are so many opinions in this area the lights of Broadway dim by comparison.
Many of those opinions lack the true knowledge of living in a fat world and what it means to be bursting out of your clothes and not see your feet for years.
I lost 110 pounds twenty six years ago and have managed through daily battles to keep it off. No applause please; just throw money.
This is not a tome to brag about my weight loss or have everyone cluck his or her tongue and say, “Well she’s not really that thin, just how fat was she?”
I merely feel it’s time for someone who has been there and done that to speak out.
Losing weight is not a war one ever wins. It’s a series of battles and many we unfortunately lose.
Every day in human existence is fraught with land mines waiting to explode under our feet.
No matter how we start our day, we have no guarantee how it will end.
We may think, today I’m going to eat healthy, and then suddenly a friend calls and says, “I’m picking you up in twenty minutes; I have reservations at that fabulous new restaurant we’ve been dying to try.”
Resolve or no resolve, you’re going down. No one is going to go to a restaurant that makes the most phenomenal pizza outside of Naples, Italy and have a chef’s salad.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned in this life it’s that there is no black and white, only gray.
Why should we be torn with guilt if we have the pizza?
Shouldn’t we be jubilant at the prospects of enjoying something new with a friend?
I want to say right now I’m not espousing eating pizza and not following whatever it takes to stay healthy, and I know there are many schools of thought about this. I am strictly talking about guilt related to food. I have already designated pizza as my last meal so I’m not objective here.
Not any conscious decision to eat plant based, vegan, keto or any of the other new age versions of a healthy diet may change your relationship with food. Unless you are dead set on doing so.
This is all about you, your snickers bar and the relationship you share.
How does one lose weight really? Is it a combination of foods? Many would have us believe that if you eat a certain food with another they become best friends and attack your fat together.
Okay whatever! I’ve never found two foods that would gang up to attack fat. In my body it’s every man for himself and it’s been my experience that everyone has a different body.
I have a friend whose doctor told her that she has the metabolism of a corpse.
Some people run and are incredibly active all day. Others sit at their desk and write, some try to get in a bit of walking when they can. The point is we are all different and our calorie count should reflect these differences.
I could never eat what an athlete can. I have to allow for the fact that some days I’m sitting and writing, or reading or pitifully inactive.
I can’t eat much on those days or my metabolism laughs at me and starts building new fat condos in my midsection. I can hear the construction noises as I go through the day.
I also know that certain foods love me too much. So much in fact, once I eat them they never want to leave. Like that guest at the party that keeps talking even as your eyes are closing. These would be the carbohydrate family.
Oh you all know them; the breads, chips, cookies, cakes, brownies, candy and potatoes clan. They are so in love with me I think the fat under my right arm is all from the onion rings I ate at Big Boy when I was sixteen years old.
They love to snuggle in the smaller crevices of my body and expand to fit their needs.
Chocolate is my biggest nemesis because it knows it owns me. So once I have one piece of Sees candy it keeps screaming for more knowing full well I haven’t the power to say no.
I have found however that eating these carb foods earlier in the day does give my poor, old tired metabolism a bit of extra time to face them head on. There may be casualties, but not as many.
The sad part about loving food is it’s an affair that never ends. Not until the doctor says you must stop eating those foods or die do you give any consideration to a break up.
Sadder still is that so many are not swayed by such threats and continue eating until the inevitable result.
However there are those that keep eating, are overweight and can’t get through a door and seem to keep on keeping on even as skinny people die.
Go figure? I can’t.
There is one silver lining to getting older. You can’t eat as much. Hence the sharing of a sandwich by couples at the deli and the early bird special.
So what can one do to fight against the cravings and love we all feel for our foodie favorites?
I can only say what has worked for me and I must add not all the time, but a battle or two.
I eat 90% of my food early in the day. I find it prevents me from gaining. Even when I treat myself to pizza I can diminish the damage by giving my body the whole day to work its magic.
I don’t eat at night for two reasons, I gain weight and I’m up all night feeling full and yucky. Yucky referring to a term used to describe bloated and full from that chocolate cake I shouldn’t have eaten before bed.
If I’m craving a certain food I make a plan to eat it beforehand.
Say I want a chocolate brownie, which I guess would be most days actually. Anyhow I say to myself, okay I’m going to the mall on such a day. I will go early and walk around for an extra hour to work off my brownie. That way I don’t feel as guilty.
No one should diet. That is the key. Everyone should find their sweet spot of maintenance and eat that many calories every day. Then we can treat ourselves to something wonderful once a week.
I literally think about what would make me happy in my cravings closet and plan for the moment. Surprisingly there are many weeks you don’t need to, or if you put off the craving it dissipates and disappears.
One of the worst things I used to do was get a craving for example Oreos, but there were none in the house. So I would try every food in my kitchen to alleviate the need for that Oreo taste. Results, no Oreos and a weight gain at the end of the day. Just learn delayed gratification and you’ll find it a good friend for life. Many nights I’d think of a food I want to eat and say okay I’ll eat it tomorrow and by the morning I didn’t want it anymore.
I’ve found it helps when you crave a cookie or piece of candy to buy a single serving not bake or buy a whole package. One cookie probably won’t hurt, a whole package loosen your belt time.
If you’re a crunchaholic and need to hear your food being eaten from a mile away, I won’t suggest an apple even though it could work for you.
Although apples are the better choice, I know when the potato chip or popcorn craving comes a calling one must open that door.
Still there are many great options today. Tasty low calorie choices so you don’t have to do the damage to your waist you once did. You can also change your favorite recipes to be a bit healthier and calorie lighter.
We all have good and bad days watching our weight. One bad choice doesn’t lose the war. You needn’t go crazy binging because you feel guilty over that Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Just eat and enjoy, then move on making healthier choices afterward.
I know all the things I’ve told you aren’t new or different than what you’ve heard before, but surprisingly most people revert back to old habits where food is concerned. I have to take each day as a different foodie challenge and deal with it accordingly.
Fat cells are little gorilla warriors just hiding inside your body waiting for you to slip up and then they attack.
I admit I eat much healthier now, far less food and treat myself less frequently; although I have been known to lose many battles to chocolate gummy bears and paid a hefty price.
The most important thing is to like yourself, stay healthy, be proud of every battle you win and never wear elastic waist pants.
Weight loss is a difficult opponent and if you win, the prize is feeling and looking good.
Wishing you luck and just write me if you need any support. No war was ever won by a single battle or a single soldier, so go out and win, win, win!
No, Queen Elizabeth, All Americans Aren’t Meghan
With so much attention these days on the royal family and no millennials, I’m not talking about the Kardashians; I’m feeling immense sympathy for Queen Elizabeth. Why you ask, would Norma Zager feel sorry for the Queen?
With very good reason actually. She is a queen it’s true, but she is also a grandmother. Incidentally a very involved one since Harry and William lost their mother so young and it fell to her to become the female authority figure in their young lives. It must be very difficult for her to watch her grandsons unhappy or making bad decisions, just as any grandmother would.
William seems to have towed the party line. Despite his enormous pain at the loss of his mother, he rose to the occasion and selected and fell in love with a woman who in all aspects reflects a royal demeanor. Kate not only won William’s heart but she succeeded to win over the English people and the world. Her grace, refinement and charm have succeeded in creating a mate for the Prince that most deem highly appropriate and positive for a future queen.
Harry as we all have seen, has not dealt well with his position and tragic history. The loss of his mother took a large chunk out of his soul that he has been unable to repair and of course could never replace.
His behavior has been erratic, embarrassing and decidedly un-royal, but the public forgives his weaknesses and trespasses because he is loved.
Enter Meghan Markle. Oops! Now we have a new wrinkle in the royal laundry.
From all accounts the Queen Grandmother seemed to be welcoming because as we all know, what makes our children and grandchildren happy, is fine with us.
Yet, things quickly took a negative turn when Meghan’s family exhibited the signs of, how shall we put it, less than classy and talked to a hungry press about their dirty family secrets.
However, instead of placing the blame where it belonged with the Markle clan, she chose to deride the royals. Poor pitiful Meghan no one stood up for her as she was being attacked by her own family.
I’m sure it hurt in fact I know it does, but what was her reaction to this unpleasant piece of Markle business?
She became defensive instead of understanding that it would never do for the Queen or Prince Charles to come out swinging at anyone.
It is simply not done.
Meghan believed that because she is an American, she can open her big American mouth, as we all do and state her opinions. So sorry Honey, but you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Perhaps the press might have reacted more favorably toward you had you not been so obvious in your distain toward all things royal. It is what it is, get over it.
The royal family lives by a far different standard. Oh, of course they are well compensated for their lack of ability to speak their minds at all times, but sweetie get a grip. A crown is not free and comes with a cost.
Obviously Kate understood this truth and it’s why she’s a beloved member of the royal family.
While poor Meghan was crying into her Hermes handkerchief, she was also slathering her negativity upon Harry. Hasn’t he been through enough? And hasn’t the Queen?
Few people can resist the pomp and circumstance of the royal family. They are the reality television of England and watching their foibles and fashions is a guilty pleasure shared by countless Americans.
The viewing audience for the Kate and Wills’ wedding was astronomical and of course we all sat transfixed to the screen as yet another Windsor regaled us with the possibility of an English happily ever after, despite the grave feast of disappointment offered up by Charles and Diana.
Americans were nostalgic at how much Kate reminded us of our own royal Princess Grace, and aside from the gowns and uproarious chapeaus donned copiously on that royal day, I was struck by something perhaps most overlooked.
Of course as a grandmother, I see things differently and through the lens of all things grandchildren and
I was surprised to witness the fact the Queen of England seems to feel the same way.
Although the wedding was beautiful I managed to escape teary moments, romance aside, until for one split second I found myself face to face with a grandmother’s love and then the tears flowed like water.
Yes, right there in St. Paul’s Cathedral as William and Kate stopped after their nuptials to bow in respect as they headed back up the aisle, the Queen bowed her head and I saw the Grandma lip quiver as clear as day.
Oh she caught herself of course as any self-respecting and quite contained royal would do. Elizabeth more than most is dedicated to composure as the monarch, yet for one brief second she couldn’t contain her grandmother’s love for her grandson.
Her lip quivered and she looked down to hide the rush of emotion only a grandma could feel watching her beloved grandchild heading out into life, a married man, a new wife and a new life.
I imagined it must have been especially difficult for her as perhaps a fleeting memory of William’s pain at losing his mother washed over her and forced her to stand staunch against the tide of emotion attacking from all sides.
And of course Elizabeth in her well-practiced and inimitable way retained composure and caught that tear before it escaped her eye to fall onto a careworn cheek.
Yes, despite all of our differences at that moment we bonded as grandmothers, and I knew for certain Elizabeth is quite human after all. She has her weaknesses and one of them is William.
Her façade, her inner strength, her public persona all fell away when faced with the emotions of grandma love.
Shame on me for my utter surprise when so many of her grandchildren have praised her devotion. Princess Eugenie for example recounts how, “Granny would take us raspberry picking, and we’d have the raspberry jam that we picked that day on the table for tea.”
Kate first meeting her was surprised to learn the Queen played video games.
And yes part of my surprise does relate to the reputation of the English for being more affectionate with their dogs than their children.
I now know I was wrong and proven so by a quivering lip.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that indeed the Queen of England and I, an American cousin, have so much in common.
We are both no more than grandmas and that is a powerful and positive bond no matter who or what you are.
Now as her new great grandson, Archie, is removed to a country far away I’m certain she is saddened. A face-time chat is only second best to holding your grandchildren and great grandchildren in your arms and coochy-cooing them in person.
Since we can’t always choose our loved ones’ partners, even royalty, it’s more evident than ever to me that life doesn’t always turn out as we planned for any of us, even if you’re the Queen of England.
Maj Jong at the Mall
Every week five friends play maj jong at the mall. The first question from those who hear of our location is, “Where at the mall?”
I answer, “In the food court of course,” and they shake their head nodding it makes sense.
And it does. Aside from the fact it takes Karen ten minutes to find a table that doesn’t wobble, or text us to, then disinfect it we have found the perfect location.
Maj is a total snacks game. There are usually nuts of some kind, m and ms, chocolate gummy bears, (we should never have discovered those), chips, cut up veggies for the diet conscious, drinks, coffee and for the more adventurous even lunch.
So it always falls to the hostess to plan the eats and it can be tedious and a great deal of work.
Problem solved at the mall.
Everyone can eat what they want, drink the best coffees and of course we still sneak in chocolates for those of us with absolutely no self-control.
(I’m raising my hand here but you can’t see it of course.)
Even if I begin the day with a healthy mindset vowing not to eat junk food, a lot can happen to change my resolve before I sit down in front of those tiles. Perhaps the son of a bitch who cut me off in traffic created the need for a handful of m and ms to calm me down. Yes, I’m a chocoholic and I admit it freely.
Yes, it’s well known that will power is not an absolute. One’s need for chocolate can change in a millisecond depending on circumstances. Is this a good hair day or are my locks determined to have a mind of their own? Why does my make up look like I just turned into a raccoon? I know these damn jeans fit yesterday what’s going on here with this muffin top situation?
Get me the damn Sees Candy! Where once Shakespeare advised Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery,” I say get thee to Godiva.
The real fun about the mall is the little community that assembles there, and they are quite a cast of characters.
There are always other tables of maj players as well. Now there is even a table of rummicubers.
Next to our usual table is a group of older men from Israel. There are probably ten of them and they eat, talk, tell stories and love to flirt with us. Sometimes they bring baked goods and offer them up to us.
The security guard always stops by to say hello and ask who’s winning then stays to chat.
Of course there is also the assortment of customers that come and go with their various dishes and sometimes screaming children.
Another group comes in after five to have dinner. Among the five o’clockers are Virginia, now 99 and Francis, now 92 along with their male friends that make sure they have what they need. Virginia’s boyfriend bought her a gorgeous watch for Christmas.
The same people show up every week and if someone isn’t there everyone else notices.
After the maj game is over Randi, Deb and I shop for a while and Janet buys dinner to take home. Karen meets her husband Mark for dinner and after shopping we stop by to chat with Virginia and her friends to show off our new purchases before we leave.
It’s rare that we go through a day without a friend of one of ours walking up to the table to say hello. Or people stopping by to ask, what is that game you’re playing.
Obviously we don’t play as many games as we would were we at someone’s home. Nor is it as quiet.
So you ask, if you’re serious maj players why do you play at the mall with all the distractions?
That’s the point. We love the distractions. Okay occasionally it can get a bit raucous at the retired men’s table and yes the screaming kids bother some more than others.
Our maj game has become a highlight of our week. We have not only all become great friends, but we have added so many interesting people to our lives.
We all can’t wait to get there on Fridays to see everyone and hear about one another’s week. What’s the latest news or just saying hello and meeting and greeting everyone?
So thank you for bearing with me because I do have a point here. Malls are dying and that is terribly sad.
In a world where people are watching a techie toy more than each other, the mall is one of the last bastions of community left.
It’s not just that we all enjoy ourselves it’s also about the kids. You see them hanging out, having lunch, talking laughing and interacting with one another. If the mall goes away will kids ever look at anything ever again besides Instagram or have any sense of what if feels like to be part of a community?
Man was not created to be alone. Just like wolves we travel in packs and are happier to do so. Even the Romans gathered together in the coliseum to feed the lions.
The mall offers a place that is completely inter generational and a safe place to gather and share happy moments.
The sad part of what’s occurring is that malls are closing because the stores can’t compete with online business. Yet a mall is so much more and the loss would be incredibly damaging to social interaction.
The day Amazon can provide me with interesting people to meet, greet and play maj with will be a cold day in California. I have to believe that for now maj at the mall will be a safe haven for everyone, for a long time to come.