Friday, August 31, 2012


We're a little late in joining the National Sneak Some Zucchini On Your Neighbor's Porch Day (see attached article) as it was observed on August 8. This year, I have been the recipient of extraordinary amounts of zucchini because people know that I will use them and that they will, in turn, receive a complimentary loaf of zucchini bread. I would be happy if someone "sneaked" them onto my porch!

Just about now, Les is tired of making Zucchini Bread and I think Gerald is "zucchinied out"! We've had appetizers, bread, side dishes, entrees, and desserts--all courtesy of the bountiful zucchini! Other than zucchini bread, it is difficult to find recipes to use when we're presented with the very large zucchini. Last week, a friend Cami gave me the idea for zucchini rings and I fixed them the same way as I do small zucchini and they were delicious.


For 20 Zucchini rings: Slice zucchini into twenty slices; encircle the seed area with a sharp knife and cut out the seeds, leaving a nice-shaped hole.

1. Beat 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk together
2. Dredge in cracker crumbs (we prefer Town House, but you can use Ritz or saltines or even flour. Do not care for corn meal)
3. Pan fry or deep fry until tender

Another favorite:


4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon basil, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, finely chopped
1 cup baking mix (such as Bisquick--I use Aldi's)
4 cups shredded zucchini, patted dry
1/2 cup oil (I use Canola)

Mix ingredients together. Spread on a large, round pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown on top.

I use my sister-in-law Betty's recipe for Zucchini Bread.


3 eggs 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil 3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 cups zucchini, peeled and grated dash of ginger
3 teaspoons vanilla dash of ground cloves
3 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1 teaspoon salt

Beat eggs, add oil, sugar, and vanilla. Mix well; add zucchini. Combine the dry ingredients and combine with the zucchini mixture,
blending thoroughly. Add nuts and raisins to mixture and blend. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for
1 hour or until wooden pick comes out clean.

CLICK HERE to see the zucchini article.

Thursday, August 30, 2012



Their marriage was good, their dreams focused.

Their best friends lived barely a wave away.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee-shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress; lawn mower in his hand, and dish-towel in hers. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress.

Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.

All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away; never to return.

So, while we have it, it's best we love it, and care for it, and fix it when it's broken, and heal it when it's sick.

This is true, for marriage and old cars, and children with bad report cards; dogs and cats with bad hips, and aging parents, and grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends.

We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

Some things we keep. Like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special, and so, we keep them close in heart and mind and spirit.

Good friends are like stars.

You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Before we moved to our present home, my sister-in-law once lamented that my idea of decorating was to have piles of books in every room. I said, "But I have them separated by categories: art books in the living room, music and film books in the family room, and cookbooks galore in the linen closet." I always say that the reason I wanted this house is because of the honest-to-god room that's a library. I thought, "Finally, enough room for my books!" However, as soon as we moved in, I realized that I had too many books for the room! I was glad there were built-in bookcases in all the bedrooms and upstairs hallway. Gerald's books were relegated to our bedroom; Mother's herb and gardening books to her room; Les' eclectic collection to his room and there's a gallimaufry in the the spare bedroom. Gerald's car magazines decorate the upstairs bathroom and yes, there are STILL piles of books in every room!

And yet I had three books on my birthday wish-list!

My nephew said, "This is like THE STACKS at the university!"

Oh, how I love Mr. Lincoln, my all-time hero! For my birthday, my friend Gretchen gave me a book for my Lincoln collection. It is named Abraham Lincoln The Man Of The People by Norman Hapgood. It was copyrighted in 1899 and my edition was published in 1913. The condition of the book was excellent and I have enjoyed it immeasurably. In the front of the book is a nameplate which shows: "From the Library of G. Geo. De Nucci". I went to Google and learned that George De Nucci was a prominent Ohio labor leader. I told my friend that I bet that that union would love to have a copy of the book with his nameplate, but guess what? They're not getting MINE!

My brother Duke made a silhouette of Lincoln from oak wood; it's painted black and adorns the Lincoln shrine!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Les says, "Anything more than two is a collection."

I often wonder why people have the compulsion to "collect". I didn't mean to start collecting the items in nearly any of the collections I have. When we moved to our house, the kitchen counters and floors were yellow and the wallpaper had strawberries in the pattern. I liked the mixture of reds and yellows.

Gerald's niece called and asked if I would like to have some strawberry kitchen items she'd received as a windfall from her brother-in-law's new girlfriend. She said, "They'll match your wallpaper!" I am not one to turn down anything free. When she brought the items, I was overjoyed to see there were McCoy items, as I already had a few McCoy dishes of my mother's, which I treasure. The strawberry plates which adorned the plate rail were immediately tranferred to the walls and the McCoy strawberry pitcher, casserole dishes, etc. were given the prominent place along the wall. I wondered why someone would give away such valuable items and our niece said the woman was "redecorating" and was just going to toss out the stuff. "Toss?", I asked, incredulously. I kept exclaiming, "Didn't she know what these are worth?" Thus started the strawberry collection. For years, I could count on receiving "something strawberry" as presents! Just this year, I received strawberry kitchen towels for my birthday. On the kitchen table, the centerpiece is a McCoy pitcher and bowl I received as a gift. In shopping one day I saw another, but smaller, McCoy pitcher and bowl, so now I have two pitcher and bowl sets on the kitchen table. I have no more room for anything strawberry!

My brother bought a Kitchen Aid mixer and I soon had "mixer envy"! I didn't NEED a mixer; in fact, the gleaming, chrome, Sunbeam Mixmaster and toaster I'd received as wedding presents had looked quite nice in the previous kitchen, but a RED Kitchen Aid mixer would look perfect, wouldn't it? Well, if one has one RED appliance, then certainly all the others should match, right? Thus, we have all RED Kitchen-Aid appliances: mixer, toaster, coffee pot, but dammit, Kitchen Aid doesn't make a stand-alone can opener, so I had to settle for a West Bend, which "almost" matches in color! Then I needed to have a red Fiesta canister set, right? Oh, those every-day dishes were really faded and chipped, right? Then I needed to have red Fiesta dishes, right? It is so easy to convince myself!

We love acronyms and I tell Gerald and Les to tell me NMS (NO MORE STUFF) when I am tempted to add to a collection!

I didn't need another strawberry cup, but I saw one at Goodwill yesterday, and it's now in the collection. NMS, Sue!

Monday, August 27, 2012


A friend recently commented that something she'd given me might seem "tacky". I told her that I am chided regularly in my family for overusing the word tacky! To let me know that I had used the word tacky once too often, my late, beloved, sister-in-law would imitate my pronunciation, and her version would come out with the "a" elongated, as: "T-A-A-ACKY". Once, another family member suggested we should get some white, wicker furniture for the back yard and I said it would be tacky. A chorus of "T-A-A-A-A-CKY", from all assembled, greeted that. I now use "kitschy" instead of "tacky".

A snooty acquaintance once lectured to me, "One must be careful not to be considered too kitschy in decorating!" [I dislike such supercilious, passive-aggressive behavior; instead of saying ONE, I would hope that ONE would have the temerity to say YOU rather than ONE!] I answered, "If by saying ONE, you mean that I am KITSCHY, I readily admit that I am, and I do NOT have to be careful, but I think I'm more NAFF than kitschy!" [Did I mention that I like to use words like "naff" with pretentious people because I think they won't know the word? Speaking of passive-aggressive behavior? Hmmm? Time for some introspection, Sue?]

The snooty one thinks that "themes" in rooms and borders on wallpaper are kitschy. The downstairs bathroom in our house gives me the double--whammy: a seashell theme WITH a seashell wallpaper border. [After going to Florida for twenty years in a row, what the Hell are you supposed to do with all those seashells?] I especially like the seashell border in the bathroom, the "Irish Beauty" sign in the laundry room, and various geegaws around the house. They are all kitschy!

When we moved here, one of my brothers asked if I were going to put a "CEMENT POND" in the back yard. I'm embarrassed to admit that I grasped that Beverly Hillbillies reference. Hey, you can take the girl out of the country, but.........!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I attended the 2012 Ohio Democratic State Convention as a voting delegate. It was a very interesting and informative experience. The caucus to choose our delegate to the Democratic National Convention was just like caucuses I've seen on television from other states. Members from our 10th U.S. Congressional District were instructed to gather at one side of the hall. Nominations were taken and the delegate who was elected is Mark Owens, the Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair. He was elected by acclamation. (CLICK HERE to see the article detailing events at the Convention.)

We were given our choice to attend several educational events; I chose to hear Lilly Ledbetter. Mrs. Ledbetter gave a rousing speech and she lived up to the title of her book, Grit and Grace: My Fight For Equal Pay And Fairness At Goodyear And Beyond, by exhibiting both traits of grit and grace.

While working at Goodyear in a management position, Mrs. Ledbetter learned that her salary was less than male counterparts. She sued Goodyear and was awarded 3.3 million dollars. She was never able to collect the award because the Supreme Court ruled that she "was not entitled to the compensation because she had not filed her claim within the 180 days after receiving her first discriminatory paycheck." The decision was absurd: how could she have filed when she did not learn about the inequity until after the time limit? Fortunately, Congress acted and passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first Act which President Obama signed into law in 2009. Now workers can sue up to 180 days after receiving ANY discriminatory paycheck. (See the following article detailing her speech.)

Superhero Democrats Gather to Defend the Middle Class

Last weekend a plethora of superhero democrats convened in one place for the Ohio Democratic Party State Convention and Dinner. The Keynote speaker for the dinner was Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. You might have heard about Brian Schweitzer from the Rachel Maddow Show. That’s where I first heard about him. In 2004 Brian was elected as Montana’s first Democratic governor since 1988.

Schweitzer is known for his unsparing use of the veto, a power he has exercised 21 times in his eight years as Governor. For instance, in April 2011, Schweitzer made news with his unconventional use of a branding iron to publicly veto several bills that he called “frivolous, unconstitutional and just bad ideas” and that he said were “in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana.”

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the article.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Gerald and I were guests at a surprise birthday party for one of my former employees, whom I had not seen since 1988, although we have kept in contact via Christmas cards.

He is of Italian descent and we enjoyed his family's traditional Italian birthday meal. It was--to use an Italian phrase delizioso cibo--a delicious meal. The antipasto was also the salad course and it was bountiful with prosciutto, Genoa salami, Cerignola, Gaeta, Castelvetrano, Taggniisca and Baresane olives, capers, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers and other delicacies I did not recognize but gladly sampled. There was a wheel of Camembert with a walnut on each slice and drizzled with a red syrup as well as Rustica, Asiago, Pecorino, and Caciotta cheeses. The soup course was stracciatella which consisted of chicken broth, spinach and eggs. I asked what the word entree was translated in Italian and his mother told me prima portata.

The main course was TIMPANO, which I had seen prepared in the movie Big Night. (See the movie clips) Timpano is made with pasta, sauce, meatballs, cheeses, and hard-boiled eggs baked in a thin crust in a special timpano pan. The pan is drum-shaped, thus the name for timpano is derived from the kettle drums musical instruments--timpani--as timpano is the singular form of the plural timpani.

His birthday cake was tiramisu. I don't care for the coffee flavoring of tiramisu but savored the gelato which was also served.

I begged, pleaded, and cajoled until I received the timpano recipe from his mother! It was difficult to find a timpano pan, but I finally found one on! The accompanying recipe is from the movie Big Night, as his mother forbade me from sharing HER recipe!

Of course, I MUST copy this meal! It is my next big project!

CLICK HERE to see The New York Times recipe "Big Night Timpano."

Friday, August 24, 2012


In my blog article DOWN THE PIKE, I quoted my brother using the word "odonym". Spell check does not recognize the word. I was certain of the spelling, but I still diligently checked my OED just to make sure!

This happens to me frequently! This week, while writing my blog, I have been "SPELL CHECKED" several times. I can understand Spell check not recognizing foreign words such as borlotti, or unusual words like polysemic, asudden, rupestrian, and oscitancy, BUT pepperoncini and Facebook?

Also curious: it does NOT recognize "Barack" but it DOES recognize "Obama"!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


For my birthday present, our friend John gave me the audio book Bossypants, read by the author Tina Fey; for some strange reason John thought that I would identify with the title! It is delightful memoir of Fey's life; I could listen to snippets driving around town. Since it debuted in 1975, I have been a fan of Saturday Night Live, in all of its permutations. My feminist heart was thrilled when Tina Fey became the Head Writer--the first FEMALE Head Writer of SNL! I was excited when she left SNL to start her own show 30 Rock and I have watched it regularly, despite its time and slot changes. When Fey returned to SNL during the 2008 Presidential campaign, she delivered trenchant impressions of Sarah Palin.

I was amazed how much I have in common with Tina Fey as I'm old enough to be her mother! In her generation, she also faced the strictures and misogyny that women of my generation faced. Fey had to battle the oft-repeated claim that women aren't funny as expounded by male comedians and pundits such as Christopher Hitchens in a famous Vanity Fair magazine article. I admired Hitchens' writing, although I notably disagreed with him about the invasion of Iraq, but as an intellectual, his article was influential. When we hear that the work life has changed very much, I always say, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." [Now that's just showing off, isn't it? I actually say the translation: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."]

I didn't want to invest in audio books--at least not yet--and Les suggested I look at the Library. I hadn't been to the Library in years; in fact, I had to apply for a new "scan card" because all I had was my old library card. I read a great deal but I buy books which I want to read and have two I received as birthday presents which I haven't yet read. At the Library, I checked out Steve Martin's I Was Born Standing Up, read by him. It was enjoyable, being both funny and poignant. I also checked out Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, but it's clearly not meant to be listened to while I'm driving. I am going to order audio books by David Sedaris and Garrison Keillor; I think tapes with humor will be the best to listen to in the car.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I never thought that I could have TOO many bouquets of flowers in the house, but I might reconsider.

Last week I had a meeting scheduled at our house and I wanted to have fresh flower arrangements throughout the house. I didn't have a single flower blooming in the yard. Our niece Robin had told me that I was welcome to come by to cut some flowers from her yard.

I had picked several bunches of different flowers and Robin kept encouraging me to pick more! I had black-eyed Susans, gladioli, cosmos, bachelor's buttons, amaryllis, zinnias, hydrangeas, and even crysanthemums (blooming already!) gathered. I had more than enough flowers for arrangements for every room.

After I'd completed 12 arrangements, competing scents were wafting throughout the house. When a brother walked in he said, "It smells like a funeral home!"

Perhaps one CAN have too many flowers in the house!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The first time I smelled marijuana was in 1969 at a Richie Havens concert. I asked Gerald, "What's THAT smell?" He laughed and said, "It's pot." I asked, "How do you know?" He answered, "Because I smell it all the time at work!"

Gerald and I had very good seats at that concert and shortly before the concert started a swarm of people flooded the aisles close to us. Security never even bothered to come to make them move! [Hey, it was the 60s!] We had aisle seats and a noticeably pregnant woman squatted down beside Gerald's seat and sat cross-legged on the floor. Ever the gentleman, Gerald jumped up and offered his seat, which she gladly accepted. Within minutes, she offered me a joint. I gasped, "Should you be doing that while you're pregnant?" She said, dopily, "I'll have a mellow baby!" When I didn't take the joint, she said, "Pass it on down." I couldn't believe that someone would take a puff from a cigarette of another person--a stranger--but the next person took it! [Hey, it was the 60s!]

I often told Gerald that we couldn't take a physical after a concert after being engulfed by the fragrance!

Needless to say, I encountered THAT illegal aroma quite often after that! Sometimes I think that Gerald and I are the only ones of our generation who didn't smoke pot! When my sister-in-law was dying from cancer, she had no appetite because of all the chemo and radiation. She was staying with me for a couple of days while my brother closed on their house out of town. She said that she thought she could eat some of my noodles. I set about making chicken and noodles. I'll never forget, as I was hurrying down to the family room, I tripped on the steps, spilling noodles all over the floor and I broke my little toe! I hobbled back to the kitchen and took another serving to her; when she tried to take a bite, she couldn't. I asked her, "Do you want me to get you some marijuana; I hear it helps?" Shocked, she asked, "HOW would YOU get marijuana?" I looked at the clock and said, "I can have some in half an hour." She said, "I thought that you would NEVER do anything like that." I said, "Hell, I think it should be legalized, and I would do it for you." She said, "I've never even smoked a cigarette." I asked, "Do you know how to inhale?" We laughed. It's the last laugh we ever had together!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Sometimes one should be careful about asking people if they are "related" to other, well-known people. I'm usually only prompted to do this if it involves an unusual name.

A local, former County Prosecutor is named Eckstein. Now, Eckstein is NOT a common name! When I met him, I asked, "Are you related to Billy?" and he said he'd never heard of him. I did not believe him and I later heard from a mutual acquaintance that he was NOT amused. Perhaps it's because of the difference in color!

Sometimes people do not share my particular sense of humor, but sometimes it's a rewarding experience.

At a meeting last week I met a man named Fred Strahorn. I asked, "Are you related to Billy?" He smiled and said, "Even though it's spelled differently, I always say I am!" We exchanged business cards and I noticed that his name's spelling was without the "y", like Billy Strayhorn's. He asked, "How many people in here do you think even know who he was?" I answered, "Well, they SHOULD!" We discussed Billy Strayhorn's work with Duke Ellington and he said, "You must be a jazz fan." We compared likes and dislikes. Another person at the meeting said, "HOW do you know these things?"

My favorite example is when I asked a colleague, Carl Hauptmann, "Any relation to Bruno?" Witty and quick on the uptake, he answered, "Oh, you knew UNCLE Bruno?"

However, to me it's sad when people do not know the famous--at least I think they are famous--people. I asked a person named McCullough, "Any relation to David?" Just because I think David McCullough--the Pulitzer Prize winning historian--is famous, doesn't mean that other people named McCullough do! Another time I asked a person named Furness if he were related to Betty and he said he'd never heard of her. When I told Les, he said, "Or, perhaps, others do not retain such minutiae!" I said, "But if you ever hear of someone famous with your surname, I would think you would remember!" Les said, "He's probably too young!"

I did not ask Governor Brian Schweitzer if he were related to Albert or ask Lilly Ledbetter if she were related to Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter). Sometimes I do behave myself!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


When I was in the operating room to have cataract surgery, I did not want any kind of anesthetic or sedation, but my face was immobilized to prevent any movement during the operation.

During the surgery, I could hear banter between two women in the operating room. Obviously they were the surgeon's assistants.

The two women were discussing an upcoming Home Interiors party one was hosting. Of course, I'd seen numerous television medical shows showing the chit chat that goes on between personnel in operating rooms when patients are unconscious. Evidently the women did not know, or forgot, that I was not sedated.

One asked, "Dr. Wittstein, is your wife froufrou?"

The incongruity of being in the OR, experiencing the most serious situation in my life, and the women talking about a damned party bothered me and I asked, in a loud, but muffled voice, "FROUFROU?"

Dr. Wittstein exclaimed, "Mrs. Raypole, are you allright?" I said, "Yes, but I am NOT froufrou, in case they were planning to invite me!"

Dr. Wittstein immediately grasped my consternation--and sarcasm--and said, "Ladies, Mrs. Raypole is NOT sedated, so let's refrain from talking about non-related topics."

After the operation Dr. Wittstein asked, "Now, what the Hell is froufrou?"

During my yearly check-ups, he and I always have a laugh about the incident; this year he said, "My wife still ISN'T froufrou!" I answered, "And neither am I!"

See the A.Word.A.Day article below.

with Anu Garg


1. Something fancy, elaborate, and showy.
2. A rustling sound, as of a silk dress.

From French, of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1870.

"Too often I go to some lunch party and am presented with an exquisite froufrou creation when what I long for is the pasta the three-year-old sitting next to me is given."

Saturday, August 18, 2012


One day, when I was in the third grade, Jayne Weaver asked me, "What's your daddy gonna do with all that money he won?" We called our father "Pap". We didn't know that Pap had won any money, although we all knew that he "played the numbers" every day. The "numbers" was an illegal gambling game and was similar to what became the Ohio Lottery. Jayne's father, "Frog" Weaver, "ran" the numbers in Bloomingburg. I asked Jayne how much money Pap had won and she said $3,000. Hell, one could've bought a house for $3,000 in 1952! When I went home, I told Mother what I'd heard and when she confronted Pap, he told the sad story: after receiving his payoff, he went to Vic Donohoe's Pool Hall; illegal card games were played in "the back room" and he also played cards. He also drank liquor and the last thing he recalled was staggering outside the pool hall, where he collapsed in the parking lot. Someone had slipped a Mickey Finn to my father and he was knocked unconscious and was robbed in the parking lot.

In the intervening years I have probably told this story a hundred times, but only a couple of people have known what a "Mickey Finn" is. Today, in a conversation with a group of people, we were talking about gambling and I told this story as an example of one of the reasons I don't gamble. The group of people ranged in age from 25 to 89, and when I related the story, only the 89-year-old had heard of a Mickey Finn. He added, "And did you ever notice that the terminology is always slipped a Mickey Finn?" Yes, I had said that and also "knocked unconscious"!

See accompanying article.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've had oodles of responses to the MIRACLE FRUIT posting. It's certainly mystifying which articles elicit comments.

I learned that some people recite the jingle as "the musical fruit" and "the magical fruit" rather than "the miracle fruit". "Musical" actually makes more sense than "miracle" or "magical", considering the "tooting"! My brother said, "You need to post the OTHER verses to the song." I had never heard additional verses.

Despite my reservations, here are some other verses:

"Beans, beans, they're good for your heart,
The more you eat, the more you fart,
The more you fart, the better you feel,
So, let's eat beans with every meal."

They get worse:

"Beans, beans, they give you gas,
They make you fart and burn your ass,
The more you eat, the more it hurts,
Slow down your eating to stop the squirts."

"Beans, beans, they're good for your heart,
The more you eat, the more you fart,
The more you fart, the more you eat,
The more you sit on the toilet seat."

The legacies of homespun poets like James Whitcomb Riley and Edgar Guest are obviously not threatened by the authors of these timeless rhymes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


You've seen tee-shirts proclaiming, "My parents went on vacation and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!".

I'm lucky because a friend of mine visited Greece and other Mediterranean countries and she brought back a box of a large variety of olives for me. KALAMATA, AMPHISSA, ROYAL, ATALANTA, CRETAN, HALKIDIKI, and AGRINION; the only one I'd heard of was Kalamata!


I asked, "When are you going to France?" She asked, "Why, what kind of olives do they have there?"

She knows me TOO well!

I answered, "NICOISE, PROVENCAL, NYONS, PICHOLINE, s'il vous plait!

CLICK HERE to read an article in entitled The Different Types of Olives.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


When we moved into our current home, we could not afford to buy the dining room furniture I wanted, so the middle of the room sat empty for more than a year, with only my grandmother's antiques: the drop-leaf table, "3-corner table", and "library table" situated against the walls.

Any meals we had were eaten at the kitchen table. I wasn't about to serve food on my grandmother's antiques; besides, I had no chairs to go with them.

A brother-in-law of one of my brothers was "touring" the house and he said, "You should get a dining room set like ours." I asked, "Do you have cherry furniture?" He said, "No, we have oak." I said, "But the built-in hutch and buffet are cherry." He said, "But ours is really nice; it would look good in here." I said, "It probably is nice, but it wouldn't match our decor." "Well, why don't you just get cherry?", he asked, rather disdainfully. I considered saying, "I haven't found exactly what I want", but instead said, "I can't afford it."

From the look on his face you would have thought that I had just admitted to an ignominious secret. Then, I saw a look of pity from both him and his wife.

Asudden, I felt very liberated! Imagine, being able to tell the truth!

This was a defining moment in my life. When people are so rude to ask those kind of questions, I always answer, "I can't afford it!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I noticed a flowering bush in my client's yard and I said, "That bush looks like crepe myrtle but I didn't think crepe myrtle grew in Ohio." He said, "The woman who lived here before us said it's the only crepe myrtle bush in Fayette County." He told that the woman had said she'd brought it from the south and had babied, coddled, and protected it and now it blooms every year. I told him that my mother had fallen in love with the flowers because my brother had crepe myrtle growing in his back yard in Florida. We brought several plants at different times to try to have it grow here but with no success.

I posted on the Facebook Group page "I Grew Up In Washington Court House" and asked if anyone else had seen crepe myrtle in Fayette County. I received 10 comments. A man living in Florida who had also lived in North Carolina said that crepe myrtle would NOT grow in Ohio. I received numerous comments from others telling about having crepe myrtle right here in Fayette County. Two friends, Patti and Angel Miller, wrote to tell that they have bushes; Patti's father also has them. Patti sent the pictures you see here. In conversations with others, I've learned of eight people with crepe myrtle bushes with three different colors.

Now I MUST have crepe myrtle, as soon as I learn the "secrets" of growing them in Ohio!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Mark Twain: "Give a man a reputation as an early riser and that man can sleep until noon."

I am continually irritated with people who obviously think it is somehow noble to "get up early". They always say "I'm an early riser" with a sort of moral superiority.

Gerald says, "I got up at 4:30 in the morning for 30 years and I'm gonna sleep as late as I want."

I sleep very little. Gerald sleeps a lot. If I need to get up early, I do, but I am a night owl who spent nearly all of my work life on first shift. I was always happier, physically and emotionally, and more productive at home and at work, when I was on second shift. I could not tolerate third shift.

I am a night person; I've always been a night person. I have more energy at night. Obviously my CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS were inherited from my father who spent the majority of his work life on second shift.

I say that the only thing Mother ever taught us that was sinful was sleeping. She was also one who had the air of moral superiority of being an early riser.

I can recall in school that I was telling what someone had said on the Jack Paar show the previous night. My teacher had a sudden intake of breath and said, "Your mother shouldn't let you stay up late like that!" My mother didn't care if we stayed up late; she was always up--usually still working--but we had better get up the next morning!

When I was a kid, I thought that my mother NEVER slept, as she was always UP--and cheerful! When I was working, I would be rushing around in the morning, getting ready. I am known as "The White Tornado"! I know that Mother was always awake but would never bother me in the morning, because I am totally anti-social until I've been awake at least two hours. When I was ready to leave, she would open her bedroom door and say, "Have a good day, Hon!" By that time I could barely mumble a response, "You too--love you."

Circadian Rhythms (according to

A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria. In a strict sense, circadian rhythms are endogenously generated, although they can be modulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature.

Circadian rhythms are important in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including human beings. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a family of sleep disorders affecting the timing of sleep. People with circadian rhythm sleep disorders are unable to sleep and wake at the times required for normal work, school, and social needs. They are generally able to get enough sleep if allowed to sleep and wake at the times dictated by their body clocks. Unless they have another sleep disorder, their sleep is of normal quality.

Humans have biological rhythms, known as circadian rhythms, which are controlled by a biological clock and work on a daily time scale.
Due to the circadian clock, sleepiness does not continuously increase as time passes. Instead, the drive for sleep follows a cycle, and the body is ready for sleep and for wakefulness at different times of the day.

Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is a chronic disorder of sleep timing. People with DSPS tend to fall asleep at very late times, and also have difficulty waking up in time for school or work which begins in the morning. Often, DSP individuals report that they cannot sleep until early morning. Unlike insomniacs, however, they fall asleep at about the same time every night, no matter what time they go to bed. People with DSPS have at least a normal - and often much greater than normal - ability to sleep during the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon as well. In contrast, those with chronic insomnia do not find it much easier to sleep during the morning than at night.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


A former schoolmate, Chuck McCoy, used the term "Lewis Pike" in a recent Facebook reminiscence (see below) and made me recall that my mother always insisted on saying "Lewis Pike" instead of Lewis Road; "Greenfield Pike" instead of Route 41; "New Holland Pike" instead of Route 22, and "Leesburg Pike" instead of Route 62. Being a smart-aleck kid, I would ask, "Is Route 753 the Greenfield Pike also?"

She said that when she was growing up, they had always been called "PIKES" instead of "ROADS". Always having to prove I'm right, I got a map of Fayette County from 1900 and it had Route 41, Route 22, etc. designated as Routes instead of Pikes. She said the map was wrong! [Now, brothers, where do we get that trait of never admitting we're wrong?]

When I asked Les if he remembered Mother saying "pike", he said, "One person's pike or road is another person's ODONYM!" [Now THAT is just showing-off!]

A blogger, PIKE MAN, writes about the origin of the phrase "coming down the pike":

"The phrase "coming down the pike" dates back to an idiom used by Greek Phalanxes in the Second Century (BCA). The Greek Phalanx was a column formation of heavy infantry carrying swords and using long spears known as "pikes". After the conquests of Alexander The Great, the greek army was considered invincible, a scourge of the gods that could not be defeated. The Greek ranks brought utter destruction to any army that opposed them. Out of this reality the term "coming down the pike" became associated with imminent destruction at the hands of the advancing Greek armies. The sight of columns of Greek soldiers with their pikes poised and ready for slaughter struck fear into resisting armies, causing many of them to turn and run for their lives, yelling, "Take up the wing, for destruction is coming down with the pike." The recollection of war-torn veterans spread these stories among the populace, and the phrase was soon shortened to "coming down the pike". From that day, "coming down the pike" has been used to convey the imminent arrival of something which can't be resisted."


Seeing the picture of the drive back to the old children's home without all of those magnificent oaks has moved me to haul out an old poem of mine about growing up on a farm in Fayette County not far from the home. I need to update it; my kids have kids of their own now. The oaks I'm talking about are in a line along the north side of the Bloomingburg-New Holland road just east of Lewis Pike and many more in the woods a few fields north of there. These old oaks are all over the county and were probably part of the original woods covering it.


My kids grow among the maple trees
As I grew among the oaks.
We live with thousands in our town.
I just had my folks
And sisters and a brother and the animals and space.
Land ran to the horizon. At night my upturned face
Saw each burning point of light as separate flame.
I plowed the hundred-acre fields so young
I would not let my kids cross busy streets without a guide.
The yields of meat and grain and hay we worked so hard
To raise we praised as gifts.
I mowed our ever-growing yard with a push mower.
I fished a stream with unbaited hooks and dream-filled books...
When I speak to children of those days
They humor me with thoughtful looks.
They think I make a pleasant hoax.
They tell me all their schoolyard jokes.
I laugh with kids and maple trees and talk again about the oaks.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


My friend Lori is young enough (old enough) to be my daughter, if I had been married at 18. Our mutual friend Betty is three years older than I and has children around Lori's age. The three of us were having dinner together, and I was telling about seeing, hearing, and meeting Lilly Ledbetter.

Lori asked if our work experiences had made us into the feminists we are. Suddenly, examples came pouring out of Betty and me. I told Lori that when we were young, we couldn't get credit in our own names. If we were fortunate to secure credit, it had to be in the name of our husband or father or by using some subterfuge. I told her how I had gotten a Lazarus credit card because a friend of mine worked in the credit department at Lazarus and she submitted information in the name of "P. S. Shirkey", and since it didn't request gender on the application, it was assumed I was a male and I was issued a card. When Gerald and I married, Gerald had never had any kind of credit. When I went to Lazarus to change the name on my credit card, I was informed that the account had to be put in Gerald's name as he was considered the "head of household" although I made more money than he did! The card was issued with the name MRS. GERALD RAYPOLE, not as Phyllis Sue Raypole! It wasn't that I was offended to be Mrs., but after all, I had a name! I have kept that card because I never want to forget how it was "back in the day". Betty told Lori that when she married she had credit and her husband's credit was bad, but she inherited her husband's credit.

Lori said, "I know you guys are telling the truth, but it's still unbelievable!"

We continued with examples, with Lori gasping "WHAT?" at each example.

Betty said, "Women couldn't draw unemployment if their husbands were working."


I said, "A woman couldn't be head of household on income taxes!"


Betty said, "We weren't allowed to work overtime."


I said, "Women were kept out of many jobs such as supervision because the law said they could only work 8 hours a day."


Betty said, "And we weren't allowed to lift more than 30 pounds."


I said, "We were denied jobs simply because we were of child-bearing age."


Betty said, "We couldn't even apply for police or fire jobs!"


I told her that until 1963 it was legal to pay women less for doing the same work as men.


I said, "That's why the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was so important to women--those damned Southerners like Howard Smith of Virginia, put gender in the bill--to try to get it defeated! Ironically, that Act helped women more than any other group!"

Betty said, "That's karma, isn't it?"

I said, "Now you know why I am always saying thanks to LBJ!"

I that when I worked at North American Rockwell, I became the first female Manufacturing Manager in the history of the Company and that was 1984. I told about Carmen Chafin, who was old enough to be my mother and Carmen had worked at North American in the 1950s, but in those days women were not allowed to be "A" mechanics, although they were allowed to have lower-paying jobs as "B" mechanics. During those days, Carmen trained many males who were able to go on to become "A" mechanics; every time there was a layoff, the "B" mechanics would be laid off first; they would keep the "A"--male--mechanics! After a number of lay-offs and call-backs at North American, Carmen took a job at Western Electric. When she lost her job there, she returned to North American in 1982; she was hired as a "B" mechanic, despite her experience from the 1950s. After Rockwell took over North American, the Company still had the classifications "A" and "B" mechanics and many men and women, without prior aircraft experience, were hired as "B" mechanics. When she told me her story, I immediately went to Human Resources and related the inequity. Carmen Chafin became the FIRST female "A" mechanic at North American Rockwell.

I've seen a revolution in my lifetime. When I began working in a factory, I would never have believed that I could have progressed as I did. However, I should have been able to progress further (but that's another story!). When I see lawsuits filed against Walmart, Goodyear, and other reprehensible companies, I remember the old Virginia Slims commercial You've come a long way, Baby! and I mumble to myself and think, "We've only come PART of the way, Baby!"

Commercial - Virginia Slims Cigarettes 1967... by RetroCafe

Friday, August 10, 2012


Years ago, on one of our shopping excursions, my sister-in-law Jean and I discovered cranberry beans. We both bought a bag and cooked them. Cranberry beans became one of my family's favorites! After Big Bear went out of business, it became difficult to find them; K-Mart carried them for awhile. Whenever one of us would locate the beans, an APB alert would go out. Last week, Jean called and said that Kroger had them. She and I bought all that were on the shelf!

As well as being healthful, and economical, cranberry beans are also aesthetically pleasing. The bean has cranberry-colored striping on an off-white background. They have a nutty flavor, compared to navy beans. I have found several interesting recipes on the internet. I have piqued the interest of several of my friends, but not enough to share my stash of beans. The larder is full and Les exclaimed, "No more beans until I put them on the list; these will expire; you have enough to last a year!"

Cranberry beans are also known as "October beans" because, unlike most beans, they are harvested in the fall, rather than in the summer. Other names include "shelly beans", "horticultural beans", "French horticulture beans", "wren's eggs", "bird egg beans", and "speckled beans". In Italy, they are known as "borlotti". An interesting note: nearly all borlotti beans used in Italy are imported from the United States.

I like a variety in meals and I plan the meals each month and we do not prepare the same dinner entrees in a month; once a month we have some kind of bean soup. We like beans so much, we have a rating system for soup beans:


Those are my preferences; Gerald likes 15-bean soup the best and doesn't like lima bean soup.

So, when you were a kid, did you recite the MIRACLE FRUIT jingle?

"Beans, beans, the miracle fruit,
The more you eat, the more you toot,
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So why don't you eat them every meal?"

When I was a youngster, my mother did the laundry on Mondays and every Monday she would cook beans, because a pot of beans did not require much tending. When the wringer washer, washboard, and hanging out clothes on the line were replaced by the modern conveniences of a washer and dryer, then she seldom cooked beans. A pot of beans and cornbread became a treat!

Oftentimes, on the second day, Mother would put "dumplins" in the leftover beans. Grandpa called the leftover, second day dumplins, "daddlins".

At school, our meals were usually good, but when the school cooks fixed beans, they were hard and never "done"! We called them "bullets"!

Oh, how did we ever tolerate each other without BEANO? Les calls it the MIRACLE PILL!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


In an earlier article I wrote that Les said that if a movie was described as "poignant", he would definitely mark it off his list of "want-to-see" films. Yesterday, we received our latest Netflix rental and in the description, the phrase joie de vivre was used.

Les handed it to me and said, "Sounds like one of your picks because I'm certain you're the only one here afflicted with joie de vivre and I sure hope it's not contagious."

I said, "You liked Amelie and it had joie de vivre!"

He responded, "I was humoring you; and by the way, if they're described with panache, elan, brio or esprit, I'm sure I don't want to see them, either!"

Helping a White Man Relearn Joie de Vivre

“Les Intouchables,” having broken box office records in France, arrives in the United States with a faithfully translated title — “The Intouchables” — that is not quite English. American audiences looking for a suitable French name for this ingratiating comedy of cross-racial friendship might settle on “Déjà Vu,” since it is a story we have seen many times before.

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Every time I see a commercial for Ragu, I think of the time when my brother Les was in the service and I wrote to him often and I would mention what I'd fixed for dinner because at that time I was becoming an adventuresome cook, watching Julia Child on television and using her book. In one letter, I wrote about making RAGOUT and he wrote back that although it might be better than K-rations, it didn't sound very appetizing. When he came home, he mentioned some things that he wanted cooked and then said, "But I don't think I want any of that RAG-OUT!" I said, "Oh, it's pronounced like ra-goo, not rag out!" "Well maybe it tastes better pronounced THAT way!"

He had been in Korea and our sister-in-law Kap Hui (Carol) is from Korea. She asked if he wanted her to make any Korean food for him. He said, "Yeah, I'd like some gaegogi!" I thought he had said bulgogi, as I was very familiar with it. Suddenly, Carol hit him on the arm and said, very angrily, "I don't cook dog!" The difference between the two is that gaegogi uses dog meat and bulgogi uses beef!

He said, "Oh, Carol, I was just kidding, but it's probably better than RAG-OUT!"

CLICK HERE to see the Food Network recipe for Ragout of Beef.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I never had any childhood illnesses--no measles, mumps, chicken pox--nothing. Before I started to school we were quarantined because of scarlet fever. I didn't have it, although Norman did! I recall the red quarantine sign on the door and my father and several of my brothers had to stay at Grandma Shirkey's house while Mother was quarantined with the rest of us.

Two years ago, I went to the local nurse practitioners; I had self-diagnosed that I had bronchitis. The nurse gave me two shots and a 5-day supply of pills. In five days I didn't feel better and I returned. After a week, I went to my family doctor and when he entered the room I was having a coughing fit! He said, "Let me get a culture; I think you have pertussis!" I asked, "Isn't that whooping cough?" My doctor told me not to judge the nurses harshly because he would probably have treated it as bronchitis also, unless he'd heard THAT cough!

As a child, the only vaccinations I had were for smallpox and polio. Since my bout with whooping cough, I have had all the preventative shots. I saw on the news that there is a whooping cough outbreak and is the worst in fifty years.

Now I'm scared that I'll be around some kid with chicken pox! On the bright side, I can't have shingles, because I've never had chicken pox.

Read the Yahoo story about whooping cough HERE.

Monday, August 6, 2012


I've written about one-upsmanship previously; last night I encountered the first-prize one-upsmanship winner! I was visiting a friend when one of her neighbors "just dropped by" to borrow something (that should have been an indicator that I was not going to like her, because I cannot tolerate the rudeness of people not calling before "dropping by"!). A mutual friend was also there visiting and the three of us were planning to go out for dinner. When the neighbor said, "I didn't mean to interrupt anything", I thought that she should have noticed two different vehicles parked outside and that might have been a clue that her neighbor had company.

My friend mentioned we were going out for dinner shortly and I thought the neighbor would leave betimes! In the same situation, would not a sensible person have left? The neighbor had no semblance of manners as she plopped down and joined in the conversation!

When the neighbor intruded, I had been telling a fairly amusing story (at least my two friends were slapping their thighs laughing!) and my friend said to start the story over from the beginning. At the end of the story, my friends and the neighbor all laughed appreciatively and the neighbor said, "If you think that's funny, wait till you hear this!"

Although I was somewhat taken aback, but being in my friend's home, I did not respond to the one-upsmanship. Her story wasn't even vaguely amusing and not one of the three of us laughed. Perhaps my friends did not laugh out of loyalty to me and the perceived putdown, but the story was just not funny; that's why I didn't laugh. The three of us merely looked uncomfortable. Finally, my friend stood up and announced we were going to leave! Only then did the neighbor leave!

I am reminded of another occurrence: when we moved into our current home, a number of people commented that they would like to see the house, among them a brother-in-law of one of my brothers. During the "tour", in the dining room, I pointed out an exquisite, crocheted tablecloth which my sister-in-law had made for me as a wedding present, and the dunderhead said, "If you wanna see somethin' really pretty, you should see what we have in our dining room." I said, deadpan, "Until you said that, I thought this WAS really pretty." He obviously did not grasp my sarcasm, as he continued bragging about their paraphernalia!

Are these kinds of people so nescient or obtuse not to be able to realize that they have insulted another person?

Les said, "You have the worst luck in meeting ignorant people!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I just learned a new term:


It means when you get up to take your shower, your significant other has been in there and your shower is already the right temperature.

I LOVE my shower fluffer!

Les said, "It doesn't take much to thrill you, does it?"


shower fluffer

when one's spouse or roommate takes the first shower of the day and gets the hot water running so for your shower the availability of hot water is immediate.

I love it when my husband/wife is the first one up and is my shower fluffer. I don't have to wait for the hot water to kick in.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi, handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you can!", and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?", I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids."

"No, seriously", I answered. I was curious what might have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!", she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry, I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose".

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Waiting at the rope line for FOUR hours--I still can't believe I was on my feet that long--to see and hear Michelle Obama. We were situated directly in front of the speaker's platform. Mrs. Obama gave a rousing speech, including references to education, health care, women's reproductive rights, but mostly about VALUES we share!

Mrs. Obama was wearing an aqua colored, sleeveless, knit top; floral, knee-length skirt and patent leather, turquoise, 2-inch pumps, sans hose. She is more slender than she looks on television, with small bosom, trim midriff and backside, famously muscled upper arms; slender calves, but with a nice booty (according to Gerald!).

During the four-hour wait, I became "new best friends" with Theresa, a young science teacher. She is pregnant, but barely showing. I was giving her "rope-line tips"; e.g.: NEVER yield your place in line, even to kids, although mothers will try to make us feel guilty for not allowing their brats to have our places. I said to ALWAYS bring a book or picture to have autographed, just in case one is close enough, as there is usually an aide who comes by to collect items for autographing. I told her that if Mrs. Obama came over to us and offered to shake hands, for her to do what I call "the Bill Clinton double-handed clasp", because that would give Gerald that extra moment to photograph her WITH Mrs. Obama.

Mrs. Obama did come our way on the rope line and as she took Theresa's hand she said, "Hello, Gorgeous, I kept looking at you over here!" Then Mrs. Obama hugged her! Then it was my turn. I said, "And there I thought it was I you were looking at!" She noticed my button showing me with her husband and asked when the picture was taken. Then she hugged me. I automatically put my arm around her and just as automatically felt the hand of a Secret Service Agent removing my hand!

A woman kept intruding, trying to force a child into our place. I stood four-square in place, feet planted firmly and with my hand tightly locked around the bar. Another woman kept flipping a handbag over my head asking to have it autographed. The bag had a cute, cartoonish caricature of Mrs. Obama on it. An aide said, "She doesn't autograph merchandise." The woman responded, angrily, gesturing toward me, "Well, why not--you took her picture to be autographed." The aide responded, "That was sent to her by the President!"

Although I hate to have my picture taken, I relent when it's my President's wife!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


"The melon on the left is a MUSK MELON; the melon on the right is a CANTALOUPE, because that's what Grandpa told us!"

My brother Duke brought two beautiful melons from his garden for us to savor. He said they were the best cantaloupes he'd ever raised, but I think he said that last year also! When I saw them I said, "Wow, look at those musk melons!" Les asked, "What's the difference between cantaloupe and musk melon?" Sources I checked state that cantaloupes are not grown in the United States and that all melons we consider as cantaloupes are just different varieties of musk melon. My grandfather always called them MUSK MELONS (except, he actually said MUSH MELONS). In the accompanying picture, I am showing what I believe is the difference between them because that's what Grandpa said!


I said, "Oh, they're MELLIFLUOUS!" The word means: "sweet, flowing with honey; having a smooth, rich flow". The word is usually used to describe dulcet tones in singing and speaking, but I had to use it to describe the melons. The first one we tried is definitely "sweet and flowing with honey"!

After relishing the melon, I called Duke and told him, "Grandpa would be proud of you."

I am always frustrated when picking out melons because I can never tell if they are ripe. In stores, I actually pretend that I know what I'm doing. My brother Norman says to sniff the vine end of the melon and if it's "melony", then it's probably ready. Next, press the other end of the melon with your thumb and if it's soft (like a baby's soft spot), then it's definitely ripe!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


My client said that he'd had a delicious meal the previous evening and there were leftovers and he would like to have the same for lunch. I asked what it was and he said, "It was kinda like spaghetti, only thinner; something with Alfredo sauce."

I asked, "Angel hair?" He answered, "No, that's not it!"

I continued, "Spaghettini, Spaghettoni?" He answered, "No, it's not a spaghetti name, but I'll know it if you say it." I said, "Canalini, Fedelini, Bucetini, Cappelini."

He said, "No, that's not it!" I kept guessing: "Bigoli, Vermicelli, Bavette." He replied, "No, that's not it."

Finally I said, "I'll go look!"

I went to his refrigerator. It was LINGUINE! I said, "Oh, that's flat like trenette and fettuccine, not like spaghetti." He asked, "How do you know so many pastas?" I said, "Well, I have 14 different boxes of pasta in my pantry with different shapes and sizes." (See my BLOG article ORIECHETTE)

I giggled to myself, remembering a scene from one of my favorite movies Breaking Away:

The movie centers around a group of friends who enter a bicycle race in Bloomington, Indiana, and one of the boys is obsessed with everything Italian and his mother accommodates him by cooking Italian meals. His father reacts with this marvelous speech:

"I know I-tey food when I hear it; it's all them eenie foods--zucchini, linguine and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit, I want French fries."

As we fix pasta at least once a week, Les or I will invariably say something about the "eenie food" and the other will say, "I want American food.....".