Homemade Cookies

We rarely had store-bought cookies when I was growing up. Except for Oreos, of course. Mom was a full-time homemaker and there were almost always fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies when we got off the school bus. My grandmothers were cookie makers, too. I still have Grandma T’s recipe for half-moon cookies. And I was traumatized because of Grandma C’s oatmeal raisin cookies–my uncle’s dog wanted my cookie; Grandma baked them for ME. He won. I have the scar on my nose to prove it.

One holiday season, Mom found a new cookie recipe in one of her magazines (Redbook? Ladies Home Journal? McCall’s?) that became a staple. When I was single, I would bake and frost dozens of these cookies for my co-workers. One year, after I’d moved to another apartment with a smaller kitchen, I learned my cookie sheets wouldn’t fit in the oven. “Bring them in. We’ll use tin snips on them so they’ll fit,” one of the guys at work told me.

Then I got married. My husband came from a family that purchased birthday cakes and cookies from the bakery. When our children were young, I tried the cookie baking thing with them, but it didn’t go over well. That was my fault. I was not a full-time homemaker. I dropped some of the balls I was trying to juggle.

Fast forward several years. A critique partner brought the most amazing ginger cookies to critique one night. I got the recipe. X-Chromo, who was in high school at the time, enjoyed helping me bake a batch. She’s not a fan of chocolate, so I looked up a recipe for molasses cookies. She was hooked. She made molasses cookies throughout her college years.

Sometimes, it’s the little traditions that mean something.

Happy National Homemade Cookie Day!



I Had Cousins

My husband and I come from very different backgrounds. He grew up in an apartment in the Bronx. I grew up in rural upstate New York.

His parents sent him to sleep-away camp for two months every summer.

My parents had nieces and nephews.

My husband had color wars with other bunks.

I had cousins. Lots and lots of cousins.

Cousins living next door. Cousins at my grandmother’s farm. Cousins who came from out-of-state to visit every summer. Cousins who visited from the city for week, then I stayed with them in the city for a week.  Cousins (and aunts & uncles) who played marathon games of Annie, Annie Over when the sun was out and Hide-and-Go-Seek after dark.

He has memories of camp.

I still have cousins.



Book Reading Bingo: Erotica

The other day I was looking for books to fill in squares on my Book Reading Bingo card and came across a book given to me by a friend that claimed to be Erotica, which was an open square on my card.

The Dirty Secret by Kira A. Gold is so much more than erotica. I was completely gobsmacked by this book. I thought it would go into my donation pile when I was finished reading it. Nope. It’s a keeper.

Before I start waxing poetic, let me share what I didn’t like about the book: the transitions were off-kilter, awkward, weird. I often found myself lost. The story didn’t flow in every spot, which was jarring.

There weren’t a lot of twist or turns, and only one was what I considered major. That is not a bad thing. Yes, the book was graphically sexy. But sex wasn’t the only erotic thing going on in the story, and that’s what made the novel so special.

What happens when a young architect hires a just-starting-out set designer to decorate his entry in  a housing development showcase? He wants something feminine. Something that will appeal to women.

And off we go.

The story is filled with color. With textures. With light. All lush. The rich imagery is nothing short of design porn. I read several reviews on Goodreads after I posted my own review. Beige people gave it beige reviews. People who are afraid of color, of light, of texture will not enjoy this book.  Or maybe they won’t understand the tapestry woven by the author to heighten the standard inclusion of the five senses.  Several Goodreads reviewers called the decor “girly.” No, and no, and no. Everything was more mature than “girly.”  Deeper. More sensuous than flighty. Voluptuous, not flirty.

The book exploited this reader on many levels. I can’t wait to read it again.

Capitolfest 15: A Snapshot

My husband and I attend a silent/early talky film festival every summer. Each year, Capitolfest focuses on one artist who worked in the silent era and transitioned to early talkies. This year’s featured artist was Fay Wray, primarily known for her role in King Kong.

Her daughter, Victoria Riskin, is writing a book about her parents, tentatively titled Roses in December. She was Googling her mother’s name and came across this film festival in tiny Rome, NY.  She reached out to the organizers and made arrangement to attend the event. Ms. Riskin spoke to the audience on Friday night, shared the memorial DVD tribute one of her nieces made for Ms. Wray’s funeral, held a lunch-break Q&A for festival participants, and spoke to the attendees again on Sunday afternoon. She also graciously posed for photos.  I did not have one taken with her, but I did take one of TV Stevie with her.

She confessed to the crowd that she had not seen many of the features shown at the festival. Life before DVDs. Life before film restoration. Life before sound on film.

Here is a list of Fay Wray motion pictures shown at Capitolfest 15 (silent films are accompanied on the Capitol’s 1928 original installation Moller Theater Organ):

  • The Coastal Patrol  (1925, Silent)
  • The Sea God (1930)
  • Four Feathers (1929, Silent)
  • The Countess of Monte Cristo (1934)
  • Wild Horse Stampede (1926, Silent)
  • White Lies (1934)
  • Stowaway (1932)



September 17: Constitution Day

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain  and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

If you’d like to read the rest, click here.