What I Learned This Week: #208

Monday, August 23 – Sunday, August 28, 2021

The Week in Mortality: Though I didn’t find out out about the death of one of my high school/college buddies until the end of the week, Joe’s death is my personal headline of the week. I had to miss the service, but I did make the post-funeral gathering that also served as a celebration of binding friendships. In our youth, we spent a lot of time together, and much of the group does. I am an outlier who didn’t get married or have children, or live a typical suburban life. We stayed in town, but went in different direction.

I don’t see this group that often, just enough to follow their life highlights, and same for them regarding me. Time separates, but memories bind. In remembering Joe, we ran through our greatest hits and it was wonderful. We’re not too young to be overly surprised by the death of a peer. We’re beginning to deal with our own aging issues and we talked about those all the while saying we never thought we were the people, like our parents, who did that. The circle of life is a funny thing.

The Week in Tour Guiding: This week brought another blast from the past when my college room mate and her husband (who I also med in college) stopped by from North Carolina on their way to Columbus. They stayed downtown and I got to show off my Cincinnati Savvy. They like bourbon so we got bourbon at Wise Guys bourbon bar. One is a vegetarian so we went to Pepp & Delores where there are several vegetarian options on the menu. And, they like good, classic rock with their beer, so we had a nightcap at a bar where the locals go, Knockback Nat’s. I’m giving my self an AAA rating. Fun night.

The Week in Drunk: I joined a new group (for me), the Downtown Resident’s Council, a group mostly made up of retirees and older downtown residents who have time to be very interested in what is going on downtown, and perhaps lend a helping hand. My first event with them was a social mixer this week. I grabbed my drink and found a couple neighbors from my building to sit with and immediately wondered why Rose was so chatty. Finally, as we were talking about how she doesn’t drink very much, she said, “I only had this one glass of wine, but I feel drunk.” I picked up the can (not glass) of beer she’d drank. It was 13.7 alcohol. Add that to the heat index in the upper 90’s and you can be sure we carefully walked her home, laughing the whole way.

The Week in Old Bananas: Another neighbor texted me this week to tell me she had two over-ripe bananas and asked if I wanted them. Of course I want your rotting food. I’m frugal. I told her to toss them in the freezer, something she hadn’t heard of doing. I went into cook-coach mode. Wednesday afternoon I texted here to take the bananas out and report for duty after dinner.

She came over and I had everything laid out. Even the oven was pre-heated. She said she wanted to do the work, as long as she got to lick the bowl and spatula. Deal! We made a banana chocolate chip teacake that turned out beautifully. I mean, I still don’t think she’s going to keep flour and baking tools in her house, but she baked a cake.

The Week in Veggies: Two bananas were the least of my produce worries when, on the way out of town, my out of town guests unloaded easily 20 pounds of produced into my kitchen. I could only get rid of three eggplants to a coworker and then I had to put on my frugal hat for real. The tomatoes went first. I peeled, seeded and froze those. On Sunday, one pound of okra went into Khoresh Bamieh. I looked up several versions of the recipe used the one linked, with some additional cumin and cayenne. I hope to roast and freeze the peppers tonight and/or pickle the remaining okra (there was a year’s supply of okra!). The mini eggplants are going to be roasted as a side dish tomorrow. The potatoes are going to have to wait until I regroup. Whew!

The Week in Puppy Chow: And somehow, in the midst of all this good food and drink, I volunteered to make a batch of Puppy Chow Chex Mix for my friend’s fundraiser. I had everything on hand except the Chex and Jif peanut butter. I love the mouth feel of Jif. I love that Jif reminds me of lunch at the pool when I was a kid. I do not like all the crap, especially the sugar, that is in Jif. For better or worse, I’m a natural peanut butter girl. Anyway, fear of over-processed foods aside, I bought the Jif and the Rice Chex and followed the very simple recipe. I even used the microwave to melt better, a total no-no in “real” baking. Of course, this wasn’t baking; it was dumping and stirring. I think it turned out fine. Now I have to find someone to take the rest of the jar of Jif.

Processed food at the end of the process.

The Week in Hope: My week of high and lows and a lot of cooking came to it’s social close this afternoon at the Cat Adoption Team’s (CAT) annual “Looked What the Cat Dragged In” Drag show. It’s CAT’s biggest fundraiser of the year and they work with the Cincinnati branch of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who do their own good charitable work. After all the usual shenanigans that mark any good natured drag show, the Sister acting as the Emcee, Holly More-Men” had a few words. She talked about being a Mormon and growing up in Utah and how she was dismayed that the Mormon church had once again refused to recognize gay Mormons. She said unlike Ru Paul’s message that if you can’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else, Holly had a different message. “If you don’t love yourself, let me love you until you do. You are valued and cared for.” A lot of money got raised for the humane care of kitties, and a lot of goodwill was raised for the humanity of a marginalized group in the U.S.


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