I turned 60 last week and I suppose getting here is better than not, but it still feels as if the clock is running out, much more so than turning 40 or 50 (duh) and much, much more so because it seems as if I just turned 50. Where did those ten years go? Divorced at 49 nine after 20 years and one day of marriage. Since then it’s been a revolving door of cyber dating where seemingly everyone lies about something on their profile (I claim to be 5′ 10″ although I’m really 5’9 & 1/2 ” so it’s a relatively small lie, right?) Tall women lie about their height, claiming to be shorter, short women lie about being taller. Heavy women claim to be a “few extra pounds” and none of them understand the meaning of the word “few” (consisting of or amounting to a small amount) there-fore 20, 30, 40 or 50 pounds is definitely not a “few”. Then there are the married women looking for a guy on the side, who (of course) don’t mention this in their profile, unless it’s one of those sites that’s all about cheating on one’s spouse. While that is not my style, I have “dated” a married woman , who forgot to mention the married part until after the third or fourth “date”. These “dates” consisted of meeting, eating and finding a hotel room for after dinner entertainment, followed by her leaving before 3 am to go home to “let the dog out” or “feed the cat”, but in reality, it was to get home before her husband, who worked nights. I suppose I should’ve figured it out but ignorance is truly bliss and even when she uttered the words “I’ve got a secret” I didn’t wish to admit the obvious. The “relationship” lasted a couple of years, finally ending when she (and her husband) moved a little further away than she cared to drive for our “dates” at my place. I assumed she’d found someone closer to her new home and moved on, as did I.

That was several years ago and I’ve had many first dates (stopped counting at 50) since, a few (consisting or amounting to a small amount) seconds and even a couple (two) longer term relationships that eventually petered out for no particular reason. Now, at 60 I am blissfully unencumbered by romantic involvement, although I’ve been contemplating re-entering the world of cyber-dating, just to see if there are any new faces, perhaps a wealthy woman who like to date a middle-aged guy of, shall we say….55?


Air travel is supposed to be one of the most stressful times we will spend on our vacations or business trips. Unless you are in first class or own a plane, preferably a jet. While lamenting the fact that I no longer fly first class (mostly because I’m no longer married to a frequent flyer) and somewhat because after having flown first class to Vegas, San Fran (returning to the east coast from S.F. was the best, a nonstop 3 + hour flight in the lap of luxury. I nearly had to be pried from my recliner while pleading with them to just let me continue on to Germany and back, PLEASE!!) Portland Or. , L.A. New Orleans, Phoenix, Denver, etc. etc. other than Jackson Hole, Wyoming (boyhood thing) or a European “river cruise” (only if I can fly to Europe first class) I really don’t wish to go anywhere any more. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’ve spent nearly 40 years in the Food & Beverage industry (a field of employ I wouldn’t recommend to anyone) which means I’ve had dozens of people (often hundreds) up my ass every working day. Consequently, I crave peace and quiet on nonworking days more and more as time goes by and spending any of that time travelling is way down on my list. A good book, soft music, a good old movie, watching or playing (with company of my choosing) golf ( I know, boring) and of course, writing is (mostly) all the remedies I need. An occasional alcoholic beverage or two helps.

Tofu dogs for all !!

“Tofu dogs for all !!” refers to my dear departed mothers habit of trying nearly every food fad that came along. Not that Tofu is a fad (must be P.C.) but when you’re a high school kid in 1975 and you come home to a dinner of Miso-soup and Tofu dogs, when you were expect pretty much anything other than Miso-soup and tofu dogs, you call it a fad, especially when said mother has a hard time cooking “normal” meals that look like the photo in the cook book. Before mom became infatuated with Tofu and Miso, she had a long and (frankly) disturbing affair with stewed tomatoes. No one in the family was ever sure what this was about, whether she read something that recommended stewed tomatoes as a cure-all for whatever ails one at the moment or perhaps there was a canned stewed tomato sale (“buy one get a gross free”) that she just couldn’t resist. Whatever the reason, stewed tomatoes would show up in many recipes (“French Spaghetti” (don’t ask) with stewed tomatoes, American Chop Suey with stewed tomatoes, home-made Mac & Cheese…with stewed tomatoes. She even went so far as to serve (over) baked calves liver (one large organ on the plate, grey inside and out, with (you guessed it) stewed tomatoes) over a period of two or three years. And it wasn’t as if she did anything creative with the stewed tomatoes, it was simply out of the can and “Plock” into the pan. I fed as much as I could of mom’s creations to our beloved dog Holly…who died of liver failure at age 7. Coincidence?

Where have I been ??

I began writing this “blog” while on a “stay-cation” not that I can’t afford to go somewhere while getting “PTO” and it’s not as if I’ve been everywhere and done everything. I just didn’t feel like planning it: first one has to decide where one wishes to go and with whom. When I was married, traveling was relatively easy, my former partner in this thing called life traveled often for work, was a “frequent flyer” and had a travel agent that handled all arrangements. We’d simply decide where and when we wanted to travel, called the agent and Presto-change-o, we were on our way, usually flying first class via the “bump” that frequent flyers are allowed more often than you’d think. If you can afford to fly first class and don’t, you are not as bright as the average 2nd grader, if you fly frequently and don’t use the “dump” as often as possible, you downgrade to a 1st grader. Even if you can’t afford it and are not a frequent flyer possible up-grader but are offered the chance to upgrade for an additional charge, go for it, especially if it’s a long flight, you’ll thank me later.

First Class: The first advantage to flying first class is that you get to board the plane first. No waiting for your “section” to be called (no matter where my seat assignment is, I seem to always be the last “section” called, unless I’m in first class that is). Now you sit, not in a seat too small for the aforementioned 2nd grader, but in an easy chair, usually leather and if you are on a long flight on a big enough plane, you get a seat that reclines into a bed, foot rest and all !! If the large plane has an upper deck (which is usually “business class”, which means the seats are just as large but “pleather” instead of leather but why quibble) you can watch the movie on a large screen, as opposed to the back of the seat in front of you. (caution: there is one slight drawback from sitting on the upper deck, there is no way out, no emergency exit other than back down the spiral staircase that you came up on. In other words, if the plane goes down anywhere and you are not killed immediately, you ain’t getting out alive, period. For me this is sheer bliss, knowing that your chances of surviving a crash are literally zero, takes all the stress out of the flight. No chance for survival = no worries, at least for me) which brings us to…

Seconds after you’ve sunken into your leather-pleather recliner, your flight attendant (I say “your” because there are usually 2 or 3 attendants (depending on the size of first class) for first class and 2 or 3 for the rest of the plane…and rightly so) Anyway, your attendant immediately offers you a beverage..”coffee, tea, wine, champagne, cocktail”? If it’s in the early AM, I’ll start with a mimosa, past 10 AM and I go straight for a gin and tonic. (sadly, I haven’t found an airline that carries Southern Comfort) Once the “thirsty-firsties” have our alcoholic beverages in hand it’s safe to board the rest of the passengers. Next time…dining in first class.

Calaway went that-away:

I can’t imagine that I am the first person to be heavily influenced by movies, TV and pop music. I can still recall the Asian cooking show that was on before the TV premiere of what was to become my favorite film of all time. It was on a Sunday night in February 1968. Normally I wouldn’t be allowed to stay up late on a school night but February vacation was beginning the next day so my parents made an exception, plus (unbeknownst to me) it was one of dad’s favorite films as well.

That night began my lifelong love affair with the lead actor, who (again unbeknownst to me) had already been dead for a few years, having succumbed to the riggers of life in Hollywood by taking too many sleeping pills and drinking too much booze in the same sitting. Very sad, I recall being ashamed when I found out that my hero didn’t ride off into the last sunset on the final reel of his final film, going so far as to write stories about how he “really” died. Later on in life (13?) I did some research and discovered that the real “greatness” of the film was due more to the Director than the lead actor. This knowledge did not and has not diminished my man crush on the deceased movie star one bit. Even though I haven’t seen the film in years (100-150 times seemed like enough) I still fondly remember that first time, a time when dad was still sober and mom finally ran out of stewed tomatoes.

All in the Family cont:

My older brother (the one with colic, who drove mom crazy, it wasn’t me, I swear) was and is his father’s son, with nice teeth, who brushed those teeth so often and so close to the bathroom mirror that there was a misty-white covering in the right hand corner that never seemed to go away. Although the rest of his health and body have deteriorated, mostly due to decades of alcohol abuse (like father, like son) he’s never had a cavity.

Little brother was an “OOPS” baby, as was I, mom even admitted (to me) that upon being told she was pregnant with her third child (“sorry Doc, I already have a girl and boy, don’t want anymore”) she decided to drink a large bottle of castor oil in hopes of aborting me (an old-wives tale that obviously didn’t work). She also admitted (years after attempting to kill me) that she felt closer to me than any of her other offspring. (ahhh) Probably told the same thing to the other three and/or hoped to avoid the cartoon-like-horror-revenge tales prevalent in Hollywood at that time. Back to little brother: much younger than the rest of us, the only one born in the 60’s, kind of an (OOPS) afterthought and remained that way for all of his formative years. I’ve always felt somewhat sorry for him as he didn’t get to experience Dad as anything but the drunk he became and not the good guy-school teacher who I recall fondly (and who is still recalled fondly by his many, many former students who I run into occasionally, often when least expecting it. Sis bumped into one of these formers a few years ago, in Paris at the base of the Eiffel Tower, small world).

As for me? that is something you’ll have to figure out during the course of our (one-sided) discussions. Till tomorrow….

All in The Family:

No, not as in the (not so funny if you watch it now) 1970’s sitcom, as in my family and our very own 1960’s and 70’s sitcom, sort-of.

Dad: born during the great depression, had to walk 5 miles to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways. Served in the Marines during the Korean War, rose to the rank of Sargent, never saw action for which he was eternally grateful. School teacher and a good one, until he decided alcohol was more important than anything else. But that was later.

Mom: besides being a sketchy cook and easily influenced by (TV) Dr. Marcus Welby (whenever mom watched the show, she’d develop whatever symptoms that weeks patient had and be coughing, weezing, and usually dying by the end of the show, only to recover during the closing credits) mom was by far the nicest person I ever knew. Maybe it was that she also grew up very poor during the depression, or perhaps it was the stint she spent in the State Hospital. She “lost her mind” after my older brother developed Colic and cried for two years straight, then I was born (coincidence?) and mom started watching TV without the benefit of anything on the screen because she hadn’t turned it on and dad had no choice but to seek professional help, including shock treatment. Mom was finally let out when she told one of the Dr’s “you have to get me out of here or I’m going to go crazy” thus proving that she was sane.

Sis: the oldest and tallest of my siblings, sis was (and is) a free spirit, growing up during the 60’s, the Beatles, Vietnam, sit-ins, pot, hippies, yippies. Very social, many friends, one of whom’s sister was my first crush but that’s a different story. She was directly responsible for my 20 year (on and off) viewership of “Another world”. One summer, in the days before VCR’s (and whatever there is now that I’ve never used) Sis asked me to watch her favorite Soap for one week because she had to work days instead of nights. I obliged and wound up tuning in to Mac & Rachel, along with assorted heroes and villains for the next 20 years. Until the producers fingered Peter Love as the “Sin stalker” then changed their minds, introducing a whole new character to fit the bill. I never watched the show again and it went off the air a couple of years later. Rightfully so.

My two brothers (one older, one younger) will have to wait till tomorrow…see you then !!

Mom’s cooking:

Being new at this “blogging” thing, I came here to check on the activity of yesterday’s post. To my astonishment…there wasn’t any, disappointing you may say, correct I would answer, until I realized that the effort I put in to dazzle my (as yet) non-existent audience went for naught because nothing was posted, which I will attempt to rectify (if I can remember what I wrote) Here goes.

..and tofu dogs for all!! Imagine the surprise of a young teenager upon his return home from another brain numbing day at school, to find his beloved mother toiling over a vat of miso-soup while arranging tofu dogs on a plate for whatever one does to them to make one wish to eat one of the grey clay-like objects. Not that there’s anything wrong with tofu, but this was the mid 1970’s and most people (including myself) had never even heard of tofu. Mom was like that: a couple of months earlier she read that aluminum cookware was the root of all evil (or something like that) and threw all of our pans in the trash (before buying new ones). The family ate out for the next couple of days, except for mom, who wanted to check what type of pans they were using in the restaurant’s kitchen before agreeing to eat there. We let her fend for herself.

Moving backward in time I come to mom’s disturbing fascination with stewed tomatoes. She seemingly put them in everything for months, maybe she read something that claimed they were a cure-all for whatever ails one or perhaps there was a “buy one can, get a gross for free” sale at the A & P. Whatever the reason, we had “French Spaghetti” (don’t ask) with stewed tomatoes, “American Chop Suey” (don’t ask) with stewed tomatoes, Mac & cheese with stewed tomatoes, even (get ready for it) calves liver with stewed tomatoes. And it wasn’t as if mom came up with creatives recipes for using stewed tomatoes, it was pretty much from can (plock) to pan, to plate. I used to feed as much of mom’s meals to our beloved dog Holly, who died at age 7 from liver failure. Coincidence ??

All you need is love!

Beatles fan here and when I’m feeling low I find it uplifting to hum “All you need is love” (quietly) to myself, it almost always works. I say “almost” because there are some (very few) things that even Beatles music can’t fix.

Back to mom’s cooking: Our family of six would go to church on Sunday’s mostly because my Grandfather was the Reverend of the our church, where nearly the entire service is sung by the priest, backed up by the choir, directed by my Grandmother. Both she and Grandpa had beautiful voices, as did my aunt, unfortunately that’s where the beautiful voices ended, one of the reasons I hum “All you need is love”.

Our after church meal was usually cooked by my mother (I suspected this was because when she cooked she could blow off church while preparing dinner) unfortunately mom’s Sunday cooking wasn’t improved by divine intervention, or anything else for that matter and usually consisted of over-cooked roast beef. When I say over cooked, I mean to the point where I didn’t realize that roast beef isn’t supposed to be grey as hardened cement and just about as juicy. I was in my early 20’s, dining at with my girlfriends parents at their house and was shocked when the mother set down a platter with a large juicy pink piece of meat on it. I turned to the latest love-of-my-life and whispered “what’s that?” (meaning the roast beef) “It’s roast beef” to which I replied “what’s wrong with it?” “Nothing, that’s the way it’s supposed to look, why?” “I’ll explain later”. I have since learned that one way to make juicy roast beef every time is to coat it in flour, I mix in some seasoning with the flour, even taught my mom how to do it, unfortunately I was in my 30’s when I learned of this method of preparation and had to endure several years of roast beef flavored gum on Sundays. (Holly, here girl, got a treat for you…) Fortunately my Grandfather retired from active service in the church when I was 12 and I didn’t have Roast Beef again, that is until that fateful day when I found out being served roast beef wasn’t a punishment for impure thoughts while in church, or was it??