All posts by Teri

Drinking Alcohol. How Much Is Too Much?

I recently went to my allergist to be retested for certain fruits that have lately been causing me extreme stomach pain, lip throbbing, nausea, and internal palpitations.

As I breezed through filling out the medical forms, one question, in particular, gave me pause. How many alcoholic beverages do you have a week on average? I lied. Bigly.

After my tests, my doctor wrote down the following fruits to avoid: Cherries, blackberries, peaches, plums, and grapes.

She further explained that as part of getting older, my body chemistry is going through a change, thus all of the new allergies I have developed. The cursed female change wasn’t enough? And hello. DID MY ALLERGIST JUST SAY TO AVOID GRAPES?????

“What about wine?” I asked her hesitantly.

“Yeah, I’d definitely stay away from wine for a while,” she said like it was no biggie.

Whoa. Stay away from the vino?

Before I could fully process her suggestion, my allergist followed it up with: “As a matter of fact, I would like you to stay away from all alcoholic beverages for at least a month.”

I was speechless, so I just gave her a super ugly grimace.

Yikes! Her dictate swirled around in my head. This is what she’s asking me to do a week before Christmas???????

Could I actually go cold turkey for a whopping four weeks?

Okay, maybe I could, but definitely not until after the New Year.

After the New Year, I reiterated to myself. But not a day before.

Okay, so I’m at the allergist because my stomach pain is so bad I can’t sleep, I’m throwing up in the middle of the night, my lips are regularly throbbing and swelling, and I have an incessant metal taste in my mouth.

And I’m resisting my doctor’s recommendation, because?

My brain was turning and churning. As I mentally processed if, how and when to stop drinking, I asked myself: Why do I drink?

Easy enough to answer.

I drink to relax, I drink to celebrate. I drink to calm down. I drink when I’m lonely. I drink because it’s hump day, Friday and Saturday. I drink because it’s Monday. I drink because it’s snowing, storming, sunny, cloudy. I drink because it’s my birthday. I drink because it’s someone else’s birthday. I drink because it’s Mother’s Day. I drink because it’s Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve… Dang, I drink for any old reason.  Plain and simple: I like to drink…in a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train, in a house, with a mouse. Here there and anywhere.

My allergist interrupted my rambling thoughts: “It seems to me that you’re unnecessarily obsessing over my suggestion. If having a drink is that big of a deal, and you can’t let it go, then have one drink, and don’t beat yourself up over it.”

Gee, thanks, Doc. One measly cocktail.

I responded to my doctor with: “One drink a day? One drink a month? Define one drink.”

“Remember that this is your decision and your decision alone,” she replied. “You’re in control.”

“I’m not sure I am in control,” I weakly blurted out, shocking myself at my honest candor.

And therein was the elephant-in-the-room question: Was I in control of my drinking or was my drinking in control of me?

“Go home, think about it, and do some research,” my allergist suggested as she led me out of her office.

And as most of you know, I am the fact-finding Queen. So I dug right in…

Below is everything I wanted or needed to know about alcohol abuse but was afraid (or just didn’t give a hoot) to ask:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate drinking is defined as up to 7 drinks a week for women and 14 drinks per week for men. [There goes that gender gap again.]

Heavy drinking is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week for women, and 15 or more drinks per week for men. [Eight lousy drinks per week? Uh-oh.]

Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women, and 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men. [Do the number of hours per a single occasion change this statistic up at all?]

In the United States, a standard drink contains 1.2 tablespoons of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content). [Don’t drink it. Don’t care.]
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content). [What’s a malt?]
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content). [Aren’t there 8 fluid ounces to a cup?]
  • 5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey). [Yikes, no wonder those martinis always do me in.]

Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.  [Whew. Good to know.]

The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink. [what’s a couple of bucks here and there?]

Okay, I was on a research roll. So I kept on trolling:

    • Do you really want a drink or are you drinking out of habit? [To be clear, I really want a drink.]
    • We live in a very boozy world. [You got that right Jack!]
    • Being sober does not mean you have to spend the rest of your days living like a nun. [Then why am I feeling one with Mother Theresa?]
    • If you look carefully, you’ll see there are loads of people out there leading full and happy lives without alcohol. [Carefully is the operative word.]
    • A glass of wine has similar calories to a slice of cake. [I’d rather drink my calories. Just sayin.]
    • The body can’t store alcohol, so it metabolizes it right away and gives it priority slowing down your metabolism. [As Bob Dylan would say: The slowest now will later be fast.]
    • The Arthritis Foundation has linked alcohol to inflammation of the joints resulting in arthritis. [So what if I can’t open a jar? That’s what husbands are for.]

All kidding aside, after my extensive research, I decided to dip my probably arthritic toe into the no alcohol water. No plunging head first for me, though. Not yet anyway.

Starting today, until January 2nd, I have imposed a new alcohol rule on myself: No more than one glass of wine a day, any three days per week. And never two days in a row. So the end result is that I am going to consume no more than three glasses of wine per week through January 1st. Yes, I can, yes I can.

Okay, I hope I can, I hope I can.

And on January 2nd? I’ll keep you posted on that.

A Rose by Any Other Name

In light of all the anti-Semitism that has been seeping and creeping up since the recent presidential election, it got me thinking about Judaism, Christianity, and why I feel so loathe to discuss religion.

And talking politics isn’t much better. Certainly not right now. Both of these topics are better left private.

Except most people close to us know who and what we are. Should our religion or politics define us? Make us loved or hated? Respected or denigrated?

The constant and continuing turmoil around the election results has been disheartening and worrisome. Swastikas here, Confederate flags, there, and dissension everywhere.

It’s the holidays. We should be jingling, rejoicing, singing, wrapping, and planning for family get-togethers. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, right?

And yet, our nation’s recent political divisions have brought out the worst in us, prompting me to ask myself a weird-for-a-Jewish person question, as I poured over The New York Times this morning:

What would Jesus say about all of this?

A long time ago, and in another life, I had a close and loving relationship with Jesus.

If you know me or have read any of my blog posts, you know my family dynamic, which consisted of my Catholic grandmother, mother, and me, aka the fatherless child.

It was the three of us, not so much living, but more like surviving together on Huron Street, in Bridgeport Connecticut.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so to speak.  Except we were Mother, Daughter, and Afraid of Ghosts.

Soon my great-grandmother joined us, and then we were a family of four. And a mighty four we were.

Four strong willed, faithful Catholic females struggling to stay afloat in a swirling sea of men, with Jesus at the top of the food chain.

For any Catholics that might be reading this post, you get the Catholic thing. Fish on Friday, fasting before mass, confession, mortal vs. venial sins, and all of the other stuff Catholics do.

But I don’t want to talk about all that. I want to use this blog-post opportunity to discuss Jesus and how I felt about Him all those many years ago.  And how I still feel about Him today.

I would first like to start out by saying that were it not for Jesus, I’m not sure who or where Teri would be today.

Because my Jesus was all about love, which included everyone; especially the scorned, the sick, the forgotten, the poor, the forsaken. Jesus was all about solidarity and unity. He would never tolerate hate, bigotry or bullying.

My Jesus reached his hands out to everyone, and He would never discriminate.

And lest I should remind you, Jesus was the only male in my life. And what a fine specimen and example of an exemplary man He was.

He loved the marginalized. He blessed and exonerated all sinners. And as long as I had Jesus in my life, I knew I could get through anything.

Jesus was kind, loving, compassionate, and just. But my Jesus was also sad, and maybe even frightened. Because He knew, He was going to die. Jesus understood and accepted that all of us have sinned. All of us are imperfect, and yet He still loved us.

No matter how disappointed I felt about myself back in my other life, I knew Jesus was on my side.

Because Jesus wasn’t judge-y, and would NEVER pick out some, but not others, to heal, to feed, or to bless.

My Jesus was omnipotent. And I believed with all my heart and all my soul, the first couple of sentences in the Apostles’ Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

A lifetime ago.

When I was thinking about converting to Judaism, it was the most painful and difficult decision I ever had to make in my life thus far.

And when I spoke of converting to my Christian friends, they would remark on how hard it was going to be for me to give up Christmas.

Giving up Christmas was going to be the least of it.

Giving up Jesus was what was going to be near impossible. He was going to be my sacrifice, my lifelong penance.

As I sat before the Bet Din, a panel of three Rabbis, sitting high above me on a stage, I ironically and irreverently, thought of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Three.

While  I sat below the Jewish holy three, the men who had the power to authorize or deny my application to join the Jewish people, my thoughts reverted to what had occurred earlier in my already very long day.

I woke up to snow. I snuggled with my son. I had an argument. My punishment was no car.

So I indignantly walked to the bus stop and waited. And waited. And waited. I transferred three times. Three buses. And then trudged three long blocks in the slushy snow. Ignoring the irony of the threes was impossible.

And now here I was, cold and wet, facing three Rabbis who would decide my religious fate.

The Bet Din had prepared three questions for me, explained my sponsoring Rabbi.

Three questions.

It was out of my hands, I recall thinking to myself.  It’s in Jesus’ hands, I instinctively reassured my weary self.

My turning to Jesus was reactive. I was always in Jesus’ hands. Those beautiful, delicate, blessed hands, marred by ugly bloody holes.

My thoughts of Jesus were interrupted by my first question:

“Tell us about your religious background.”

I gave the holy three the cliffs notes. I stuttered, faltered, and jumbled up my sentences. My family of females, Bridgeport Connecticut, my Salvation Army clothes, our tenement apartment, the nuns, bake sales, weekly mass, my grandmother’s rosary beads, my love of St. Ambrose Church. My Holy Communion, my Confirmation. The whole shebang.

I turned to my sponsor, who was to the left of me, as he gave me a worrisome sideways glance.

Second question.

“Why would you denounce your religion, to join one that is in the minority, the often persecuted, the sometimes reviled?”

I again turned to my sponsor who this time did not return my gaze. I looked up at the Bet Din. The three Rabbis looked sternly down at me.

I spoke of my sick son, the unhappiness of some, the wishes of others, my faith, my sponsoring Rabbi and his wife whom I had grown to love and respect. My newly discovered congregation of friends, whom I had come to rely and count on. I spoke of my lost family, my dead grandmother, my lost self.

The faces of the Rabbis softened. I could see my pain in their eyes.

“Last question,” one of the holy three muttered, barely audible. He’d lost his edge. They all seemed to.

I sat shivering, thinking about how many hours it was going to take me to get home. I was longing to hold my infant son; to rock and hum him to sleep with his favorite song, my favorite song, and my grandmother’s favorite song. The three of us all with the same favorite song.

“You speak so assuredly of your faith. When you talk of your Catholic upbringing, we see your light. Tell us about Jesus and the role He will play in your Jewish life.”

I swallowed hard. The Bet Din wanted me to speak about Jesus.

The words, they just spilled out. My sick and dying grandmother denied of her last rights because she was excommunicated, my prodigal status, my love of Jesus—a Jew, who was poor, uneducated, adored by so many, then crucified.

I blurted out the morning fight, no car, three buses, my son’s surgery, the snow, the hopelessness, the loneliness.  I told them that Jesus was going to love me and keep me safe—today, tomorrow and always. Jewish, Catholic, whatever. Jesus wasn’t going anywhere.

Because that’s who Jesus is. He doesn’t forsake. He doesn’t leave. He loves, He nurtures, He heals.  All of us, not just some of us.

I was on the last question roll.

I explained to the holy three that Jesus was everything hopeful; a constant reminder that even in the ugliest of times and despair, He teaches us that there is beauty and light and redemption. I was never going to give up on Jesus. And Jesus was never going to give up on me.

And then I sat back in my chair, letting the holy three above me know that I was finished.

The Rabbis looked at each other, one sank in his chair. I again turned to my sponsor. Both of his hands lightly covered his forehead; his elbows bent low to the table.

My nose was running, and I didn’t have a tissue, so I used my damp sleeve as I watched the Rabbi’s squirm.

Then the middle Rabbi spoke. His words were kind and soothing. He applauded my resolve, my strength, my faith, my love of my son.

The other two Rabbis nodded in agreement and approval, including my sponsor.

And then it was over. I was on my way to being Jewish. Everything yet nothing had changed.

I took the over three-hour bus ride home, all the time, writing, rhyming, transferring, praying. I wrote and rewrote the following letter to Jesus, to God, to the only Father I ever knew:



When I finally got home, my son was already fast asleep. I was heartbroken to have missed him. I needed his warmth, his life, his love.

I quietly and reverently tiptoed into his room, still wet from my trek. I laid next to his crib and hummed our favorite song, Oh Holy Night.

Rest in Peace, Aunt Barb

On Sunday night, November 27, as my Aunt Barb and Uncle Lou were walking across a street, my aunt was hit by a speeding car which fled the scene after the horrific accident. She passed away the following morning, November 28, on their 52nd wedding anniversary. No words can ever express how much I loved her, and how her love for me healed my whole being.  Rest in peace, Aunt Barb.

Dear Aunt Barb,
I never knew anyone kinder or gentler than you
Your goodness shone brightly from the inside out
Your selflessness was your gift to all of us
Your caring attention which you so lovingly bestowed was unsurpassed
Your compassion, your beauty, and your purity was undeniable
I was so blessed to have been loved by you
So privileged that I held a special place in your heart
I adored you and cherished your opinion and your perspective
I saw a different Teri through your eyes
And I was ever thankful for your dignity, your calm demeanor
Your saintly way of helping me to see my specialness
I was looking forward to years and years with you
But life is cruel
And my future years with you are gone
You are forever missing from me now
The only thing I can cling to
Is the ever presence of your angelic spirit
And your resplendent soul
Rest peacefully
Watch over me Aunt Barb
And when you see my grandmother
hold her in your loving arms
until I see you both

Thanksgiving on Black Friday


Thanksgiving has traditionally been the one holiday where, like it or not, families get together, chow down, throw shade at each other, and oh yeah, give thanks.

Mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and every other iteration of family and friends travel here there and everywhere to get together for some clan time.

Some of this “time” will inevitably be dysfunctional, but we all still participate.


Because good, bad, or ugly, at the end of the—in this case—Thanksgiving Day, we’re all kith and kin together. Hopefully.

And if you’re fed up or irked by a particular family member, remember this:

Just because they look like you, doesn’t mean they are you.

As challenging and painful as the day might turn out, most of us are celebrating Thanksgiving with our peeps.

We can all agree on two Thanksgiving Day things: Some familial dysfunction, and a hassle getting to your destination.

And while we can maneuver around family characters, there’s no getting around the holiday traffic.

Traveling on Thanksgiving Day is plain old horrendous.

And if you come from a divorced family, or are married and or involved with someone, everyone puts the guilt trip on you to show up for their Turkey event.

How many families do you know who strictly adhere to the every other Thanksgiving rule?

Now that we’ve established that Thanksgiving already poses a real dilemma for many, and is a downright miserable holiday obligation for others, I have two questions for you:

A) Why stress out on the day set aside for giving thanks?
B) Who says Thanksgiving has to be on Thursday?

Several years ago my husband and I asked and answered A & B and came up with our own way of celebrating Thanksgiving: On Black Friday.

No traffic, no scheduling dilemmas, no disappointed families, you can work pretty much all day on Friday, and best of all? No turkey.

But okay, we might still dish out some dysfunction.

Below are some of my Black Friday recipes should you want to change it up next year!

Deconstructed Thai Salad
Serves 8

1 can low-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1/2 small lime
Splash of sriracha
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

Place all ingredients above in a blender until very smooth. Taste it to make sure you like the combo. If not, add more peanut butter, curry powder or siriracha. Then put it in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer until reduced and thickened about 10 minutes. Cool down completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

6-8 small seedless cucumbers sliced
1 head of iceberg lettuce chopped
I pint of red cherry tomatoes whole
1 pint of yellow or orange cherry tomatoes whole
6 hard-boiled eggs halved
2 cups bean sprouts
16 ounces firm tofu

Place lettuce in the center of a large square platter, and then line up the other ingredients above in a row. Serve with dressing.

Perfect Bone-In Rib Roast
NOTE:  When ordering a Bone-In Standing Rib Roast, figure you will need one rib per two people. This will also  ensure plenty of leftovers.

So for 8 adults I ordered 4 Ribs (1/2 rack), approximately 8
pounds. The price for 4 ribs was $148.00.

Nobody said this was a cheap meal.

Bone In Standing Rib Roast – 4 Ribs (approximately 8 pounds)
1 stick butter, softened
Ground pepper
Kosher salt
Garlic powder

Place Rib Roast on a plate and bring to room temperature, about four hours.
Then place the meat in a roasting pan that’s slightly bigger than the roast itself.
Slather the whole roast with softened butter. Then add salt, pepper and garlic powder to the entire roast.
Preheat the oven to 350°F for at least 20 minutes.
The roast should be cooked at 350 degrees for about 2 hours to 2 ¼ hours, depending on your oven.
You will need to check the roast with a meat thermometer close to the 2 hour mark.
When the meat thermometer reaches 110 to no more than 120 degrees, the roast needs to come out of the oven (for a perfect combination of medium, medium rare and rare), regardless of how long the roast has been cooking.
Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees after you remove it from the oven so remove it 10  degrees before the desired doneness. There is nothing worse than an overcooked rib roast.
Once you remove roast from oven, tent it with foil but put a hole in the foil to keep the crispiness of the outside of  the roast.
Rest the roast for about 10 minutes, and no more than 15 minutes, to let the juices redistribute throughout the  Roast and still be nice and warm. Also, if you decide to pour the pan drippings over it, the roast will cook a little  more as well.
If the roast still isn’t cooked enough for your taste, you can always slice it and then put part of it back in the oven  to cook it more. Better to under cook it than to overcook it. And you don’t even have to put on the heat, but you  do need to watch it carefully.
The slices taken from the ends of the roast will obviously be the most done, and the middle will be the least done,  so you should be able to suit the preferences of everyone at the table.
Also, remove the rib bones and put them back in the oven on high to crisp them up and then place them around  your roast.

If you want to serve your roast with au jus on the side, save the drippings and see the recipe below!

Killer Au Jus
¼ cup beef fat drippings from your prime rib
1 ½ Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Beef broth
Salt & Pepper to taste

Melt fat in skillet over medium high heat. Whisk flour into the beef fat, whisking constantly
while cooking, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
Pour beef broth into fat mixture, increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Boil mixture
until it thickens slightly, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Broccoli Timbale
Serves 8

4 Cups Broccoli florets
1-1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream
5 large eggs
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped scallion (optional)
Nutmeg to taste (optional)

Steam the broccoli (florets only), for 4 to 6 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart baking or souffle dish, 6 to 8 timbale molds, custard cups, or ramikans (each holding about 1/2 cup). I used an 8 cup Charlotte mold, which has slightly flared sides, making it super easy to unmold my masterpiece.

Cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the mold(s); place in the bottom of the mold and then butter the paper.

Then prepare the Timbale mixture:
Place and beat 5 eggs in a bowl.
Set aside 1-1/2 to 2 cups of whipping cream.
Place the cooked broccoli in a food processor or blender and process with the eggs and cream until smooth.
The amount of cream you use will make the mixture more concentrated or more custard-like. I like to use 2 cups.
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Add a pinch of nutmeg if using
Add the scallions if using.
Pulse to mix.
Carefully spoon the Timbale mixture into the mold(s).
Cook the timbales in a water bath: Place them in a baking pan just large enough to hold them, pour in very hot water halfway up their sides and carefully place in the oven. For 1/2-cup molds, cook 15 to 25 minutes; for a 2-quart mold, or an 8-cup Charlotte mold cook 35 to 45 minutes, or until just set.
Carefully loosen around the edges and invert onto a plate.
Tip: You can make the timbale up to 2 days ahead, either in the dish or unmolded. Reheat for about 10 minutes in a 325-degree oven before unmolding.

Half of a 5-pound bag of potatoes
Whole milk or whipping cream
Lots of Butter

Peel and cut up potatoes and cook until done.
Put potatoes in mixing bowl and mash or rice well.
Add butter and milk or cream to taste and mix with a beater until potatoes peak.
Put potatoes into a casserole dish and top with paprika.
The potatoes can be put directly onto a 35o preheated oven or put into the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

1 6 ounce package strawberry Jello
1½ cups boiling water
1 16-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
1 small can of mandarin oranges
1 small can of diced pineapple
1 small can of peaches (cut up in bite size pieces)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Stir cranberry sauce in bowl until very smooth. Blend with Jello and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Fold nuts and fruit into a decorative glass bowl and chill until solid. You can decorate the top after it has set with some walnuts and mandarin oranges. I like to make a kind of flower design in the middle.
Serves 6

Baked S’Mores
1 package golden sugar cookie mix (Betty Crocker)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 milk chocolate bars (5 oz. each)
1 7 oz can marshmallow Fluff

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8”x8” square pan. Combine cookie mix, (with butter if it calls for it), egg and water in large bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended. Divide cookie dough in half. Press half the dough evenly into bottom of pan. Place each chocolate bar evenly into the pan. Take a clean tablespoon and wet it. Then take the back of the spoon and spread marshmallow crème to cover the chocolate. Drop the remaining cookie dough by tablespoonfuls on top of marshmallow crème. Spread lightly with back of clean spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool at least three to four hours before serving. Cut into squares.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Times They Are A-Changin. But What About Us?


As I drove to my kickboxing class yesterday, Bob Dylan’s iconic song, The Times They Are A-Changin came on the radio.

Dylan’s call for change, written in 1963, couldn’t have been more prophetic. Less than a month after Dylan recorded the song, President Kennedy was assassinated.

I remember the first time I heard his haunting song about change, which was released in 1964. It came at a troubling time in American history. It seemed like our entire country had gone haywire.

Kennedy was dead.

His alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was shot to death on national television.

Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique catapulted the feminist movement.

The U.S. Surgeon General concluded that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer.  

Union leader Jimmy Hoffa was convicted of jury tampering.

Black teenager James Powell was shot and killed by a white off-duty police officer in Harlem, NY, prompting 8,000 people to take the streets, smashing windows, setting fires, and looting local businesses.

President Johnson launched a full-scale war against North Vietnam without securing a formal declaration of war from Congress.

In a collective act of defiance against the war, students burned their Vietnam draft cards and declared, “We won’t go!”

The FBI finally found the bodies of the three missing Freedom Summer volunteers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, buried in a Mississippi earthen dam. Local officials refused to prosecute the case, causing federal investigators to step in.

The People’s Republic of China successfully tested a nuclear bomb, making it the fifth nation in the World with nuclear capabilities.

And Senator Barry Goldwater was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, placing his conservative agenda in direct opposition to more moderate Republicans and declaring in his acceptance speech: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

We will never know how different our country would be today had Goldwater won the election.

As I write this blog and look back on the events following the assassination of President Kennedy, I am reminded that time indeed marches on and maybe it even heals all wounds. I said maybe.

But, our country more than survived the tumultuous and turbulent 1964. What seemed like a doomsday year was just a tiny blip on the American screen. So I still have faith in America and my fellow Americans.

And yet here I was driving to a workout, 52 years later, with Dylan’s resonating words and gravelly voice covering me in a blanket of anxiety—and goose bumps.

Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing

Yes, indeed, times they are are a-changing. In ways that I both fear and welcome.

Let’s get to the bloody changes already. Because I am sick and tired of all the political ugliness.

And yes, in some ways I wish the media would change their monotonous tune. Because I’m sick and tired of all the spin spin spin for the sole purpose of ratings ratings ratings. And yet ratings aside, the media serves as an all-important watchdog. We all need to be vigilant in the coming days and months—including the press. Our lives and country depend on our vigilance.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon

For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no telling who that it’s naming

As I listened to Dylan’s soul searching song, it felt like he was singing about me. About 2016. About us.

And he had me captive audience in my ten-year-old car, asking myself a lot of things like:

Will Trump be receptive to moderating influences or will he merely listen to the last person he speaks to?

Will Trump do all the frightful things he said he would, to satisfy and appease his constituents, or will he reconsider his promises and do what is best for all Americans?

And Trump has on so many occasions bloviated, “We’re going to have so many victories, you will be bored of winning.”

Will we win? What if we don’t? And who is we? Am I part of the we party?

Will I be a bored loser or a bored winner?

For the loser now will be later to win
Cause the times they are a-changing

On the bright side, there’s always the 2020 election, which will start gearing up in early 2018.

Hell, for half the country it began on November 9.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of it all. Maybe our elected officials are tired too.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s the battle outside raging
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changing

And what about us as friends, family, strangers? How about us as fellow Americans?

How will we treat those who we have hurt us and who we have disagreed with? Will we be receptive to change? How will we react to policies that may not be best for all Americans? And how long will all this changing take?

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing

There is thankfully no deadline for mutual empathy, understanding, acceptance, or mending fences.

As I sadly hummed along with Dylan, all kinds of doom and gloom ran through my head. But then I thought back to 1964 and hummed it hopeful all the way to its end.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slowest now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fading
And the first one now will later be last
Cause the times they are a-changing




I fretfully fell asleep around 2 am yesterday morning, pretty much knowing Hillary Clinton had lost the presidential election, but praying for an electoral miracle.

I awoke at 3:30 am, and immediately morphed into a fretting-over-the-election-result-mode mess.

And to my chagrin and innermost fear—CNN confirmed the worst possible scenario: my girl Hillary was out.

Trump had obliterated my dream of witnessing the first woman president.

To be honest, I was devastated, paranoid, and unsettled. I sleepily turned to my rock solid husband and uneasily queried “Are we going to be okay?”

My husband, ever the pessimist answered, “We’re out of here already. It’s not our problem any longer. It’s for our kids and grandkids to worry about.”

His answer didn’t make me feel any less anxious, although it did allow me to fall back asleep.

Because my husband had so assuagingly, put it plain and straightforward.  We’re out of here already. It’s not our problem any longer.

To be clear, it takes a lot to rattle me. As far as I’m concerned, bad things happen to other people.

Simply stated, bad things don’t happen to my family, or me.

So why was I frantically asking my husband if “we” would be okay?

At 8:30 am, as I rolled out of bed, I painfully remembered the election loss, and cursed the day.

As I willed myself forward, I couldn’t help but obsess:

We’re doomed.  World War III is upon us. Trump is going to deport all of the Hispanics.  No one will have medical insurance.  Roe v. Wade is going to be eradicated.  My too-close-to-Jamaica-Bay house is going to float away.  The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School will never be vindicated.

I was in a funk. Yet I tried to put on a good face and make like I wasn’t crushed.

I listened to Hillary’s concession speech.

I cried.

I hung on every word as President Barack Obama congratulated President-elect Donald Trump, vowing to work with his team to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

I cried.

The only thing I had to look forward to was Bingo Night at 7 pm, organized by the New Horizon Counseling Center (NHCC), one of the largest non-profit providers of community-based mental health services in New York City, and extending their reach to residents of Nassau County.

Thank God for bingo.

As I attempted to shut out the noise of pundits, the media, the surrogates, I willed myself to think about Bingo Night and the incredible services that NHCC provides for mental health issues, developmental disabilities, alcoholism and substance abuse.

And since many of NHCC’s patients can’t afford treatment, I couldn’t help but stress over what would happen to NHCC when Trump is in charge. I quickly shoved that shuddering thought out of my Trump traumatized mind.

I was hell bent on enjoying a night of bingo.

Participate in a mindless game of chance, while imbibing in a glass or two of Chardonnay.

Chow down on some fund-raising food and hang out with a few friends.

No thoughts of glass ceilings, lost elections, Mexican walls, waterboarding, or locker room talk.

Plain old easy breezy bingo.

When I walked into the Lawrence Country Club, I spotted an old friend. We talked about the election, the disappointment, the fear, the unknown, the future.

And then we talked about her daughter.

She was hooked on opioids. She tried like hell to get help. But in the end, the addiction got the better of her. She died.

“I wish I could see her one more time,” she said to me through tears.“ She would have loved to be here and play bingo.”

No bingo or future for my friend’s daughter.

I grabbed her arm, and we walked to our table.

Bingo we would play.

Better than thinking about the rest…

Jemima Khan’s Controversial Melania Trump Costume at Star-Studded UNICEF Halloween Ball

Jemima Khan chose a controversial Trump inspired costume for the UNICEF Halloween Ball in London.

The 42-year-old journalist and campaigner Jemima Khan opted to dress up as Donald Trump’s wife Melania, but took the opportunity to adapt the look by having a blow-up Donald clinging to her back while  his inflatable arms mimicked groping her chest and pelvic region.

Heiress and journalist, Jemima Khan in costume on Thursday night, dressed as
Melania Trump, with her groping husband Donald in tow.

Read Full Article Here:

Donald Trump and Sexual Healing

Michelle Obama’s epic and deeply emotional speech denouncing Trump’s predatory language about how powerful men can do anything they want to women was the impetus for writing this blog post.

To be honest, this post has been in the making for what seems like forever.

The untold thousands of accumulated words painfully written here there and everywhere.

Some boldly stated in a diary, a folder, a Word document. Some more subtly hidden in a poem, a painting, a short story.

But ironically, Trump’s own words bragging about sexually assaulting women both infuriated and invigorated me to come out and finally say what I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops for decades.

Okay, maybe shouting it out would still be too painful and way too shocking to those who know me, but don’t really know me.

Baby steps, I reminded myself as I tossed and turned in the middle of the night for the past week or so.

The question of “Why wait for decades before coming forward?” has dominated the recent airwaves.

Why would any woman wait for years to speak out against a man who has helped himself to her body parts against her will?

It’s a valid question, although I’m certain that if a woman is asking it, she has never been a victim of sexual assault or molestation.

Because if she had been one of the “unfortunates,” she would know the answer.

Like maybe they’re heartbreakingly too young to understand, or too frightened to speak up.

How about the fear of retribution or victim shaming? Or the accusations of scheming, man-baiting, lying, exaggerating?

Perhaps they don’t want to be shunned or rejected by their community, friends, family, or permanently branded as “used goods.”

Or maybe they’re not tough enough to fight the battle, the war of words, the degradation, the self-loathing, the guilt, the never-ending nightmare.

Michelle Obama’s quavering words salved my scorching soul and pretty much said it all: “I can’t stop thinking about this… It has shaken me to the core…no woman deserves to be treated this way…The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman… It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them, and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen …This is not normal…it is cruel. It’s frightening…It hurts.”

And then Trump’s response which sent chills through my body: “I’ll take all of these slings and arrows, gladly for you,” he bellowed as the audience roared with cheers.

Sure Donald, play the victim. Call it a conspiracy. Label your accusers as liars, unattractive, desperate for attention. That’s what accused men do.

Baby steps. One foot in front of the other.

I didn’t think Trump could ever say anything that would resonate with me, but I couldn’t have said it better myself when he uttered these words: “They will seek to destroy everything about you…they will lie, lie, lie, and then again, they will do worse than that.”

Yes, I agree with you, Donald. But not in the way you would want me to.

Because your “they” and my “they” are what sets us apart.

And to the Trump supporters, I say: Yes, indeed. Your man Trump speaks the truth for once.

After “they” seek to destroy, “they” will lie, and then “they” will do worse.

Baby steps…

The Midtown Tunnel and Second Avenue Gridlock Fiasco

Photo: View of Second Avenue traffic leading into Queens Midtown Tunnel

Yesterday my husband and I drove into Manhattan from our house on the Queens border. We left at 4:15 pm, in plenty of time to make a 6:45 pm wedding at the Pierre Hotel on 61st and Fifth Avenue. The distance from our home to 61st Street is 20.3 miles and should take approximately fifty minutes with traffic, but one never knows what to expect, so we tuned into WCBS 880 radio as we always do.

The traffic report said one lane was closed in both directions at the Midtown Tunnel but did not report any significant traffic congestion so we assumed mild delays, and decided to take that route into the city. As we approached the Midtown Tunnel, approximately 1/4 of a mile away from the toll booths, the traffic was appallingly at a complete standstill.

We inched along for close to two hours before we finally got to the toll booths. As we waited to go through, I asked a traffic officer, who was busy eating a bag of potato chips, what the problem was. She curtly answered, “One lane going into Manhattan.” I replied to her that the situation was disgraceful.

Since we had nothing better to do under the East River, we tuned in again and again to WCBS 880 for their traffic report, shocked that this melee wasn’t major traffic news.

Despite tens of thousands of cars literally at a standstill in and around the tunnel, the traffic report said absolutely nothing about the situation except that there were delays due to lane closures.

Delays? This was a complete traffic meltdown.

I was astounded that no traffic officers were assisting in the chaos of the five lanes of crawling snarling traffic in front of us. Cabs were blocking two lanes, drivers were angrily sideswiping each other, and everyone was aggressively maneuvering to be the next vehicle to gain access to the one lane going to Manhattan. It was the worst traffic congestion I have ever witnessed, and it was not only alarming but potentially dangerous.

Now I don’t know the pecking order of what the bridge and tunnel officers can and can’t do. But it seems to me that thousands upon thousands of motionless vehicles for miles, a snarl-up of drivers fighting to get into the tunnel, and the tunnel jam packed and unmoving, should evoke action on someone’s part, don’t you think?

And I would hope that one of the many officers I saw standing around near the toll booths, including the woman who was eating a bag of chips, was in charge. One of those officers working at the tunnel had to know what was happening at the entrance and the exit of the tunnel, right?

Since the traffic in, out and around the tunnel was at a dead stop, it would seem to me that anyone with a brain would know that something was amiss, no?

As my husband wound his way in and out of traffic, almost getting sideswiped numerous times, intently and courageously attempting to get into the one lousy tunnel lane, I kept asking myself why there wasn’t anyone directing traffic.

Put your bag of potato chips down, and do something.

Once we got into the tunnel, we crawled through it for almost an hour. It was evident as we sat in an automotive deadlock in the dark, dank, claustrophobic tunnel for four to five minutes at a shot, then inch forward for a few feet, then back to a dead stop, that there must be something very wrong happening at the exit.

As the fumes from the other cars began to seep into our vehicle, I was fuming with anger and frustration.

This is what’s wrong with our country, I kept saying to myself. No infrastructure, total mismanagement, and a complete lack of respect for others.

Was it possible that no one in charge was aware that the Midtown Tunnel was at a complete standstill?

When we finally got out of the tunnel, there were two officers mostly ineffectively directing traffic in two directions:  Left, or right to 39th Street. One traffic officer would have been sufficient. Send the other one somewhere else. We regrettably turned right.

It was no surprise to us that there were no traffic officers at 39th Street and 2nd Avenue, where hundreds of cars were trying to exit the tunnel and cross over. And from the gridlock on 2nd Avenue, it was disappointingly obvious there were no traffic officers anywhere in the vicinity.

The cars on 2nd Avenue were completely lawless, with no regard for their fellow drivers, and blatantly ignored the yellow and red lights. The gridlock on 2nd Avenue was bumper to bumper, which did not allow for one car to get across it—thus the real problem at the Midtown Tunnel.

This massive traffic jam was not caused by lane closures. The real traffic culprit was that there was absolutely no way to exit the Midtown Tunnel because of the clogging of 2nd Avenue.  A handful of traffic officers could have solved most of the problem.

Now I am usually a very calm person, but I was beyond incensed at the massive traffic jam, the disgraceful mismanagement and complete lack of consideration and planning for the Midtown Tunnel lane closures, as well as not one officer on duty to direct 2nd Avenue traffic.

We finally arrived at the Pierre Hotel around 8 pm, an almost four-hour odyssey to travel less than 21 miles. Needless to say, we missed the wedding ceremony and the cocktail reception. I was so carbon monoxided out, I could barely enjoy the rest of the evening.

Am I the only one who is furious and exasperated by the complete lack of management, bad judgment, utter disrespect and ambivalence for drivers, and the enabling of vehicle lawlessness?

I don’t know who’s to blame: Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, the New York state legislature, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, the MTA?

What I do know is that the lack of proper management and policies will continue to condemn New York City to years of epic traffic dysfunction.

Shame on all of them.

What to Do About Writer’s Block


As a writer, I should be writing and as a blogger, I should be blogging, right?


These past few weeks, I have been making myself crazy trying to pull together a compelling blog post for The Teri Tome or a thought provoking article for my website

It seems that I have everything yet nothing to share with my readers.

Because unfortunately the topics I want to blog about, or the situations around the world I want to highlight, don’t seem to be anything anyone cares about.

And all those familial memories I thought I could courageously share with my followers have become harder and harder to write. My “situations” that I have in the past been able to  articulate quite well, have been of late hurtfully gnawing at me and starting to feel too painful and too personal.

Have I lost my creative passion? Where’s the joy, the humor, the gut-wrenching irony?

I need to get my writing mojo back!  And fast!

So this morning, I figured I would jot down on a sheet of paper a few topics that have been floating around in my head. Lay out my ideas by hand, and you know, see if any of them have legs.

Here is what I came up with.

Trump’s love of Putin
At first, it sounded like the subject could work, but the truth is, Trump’s love of Putin can be covered in two quicky sentences. If Trump were a Russian citizen, he would be either dirt poor, dead or in prison. It doesn’t take a genius, or even Trump to know that if you live in Russia and don’t share your money with Putin, you’re probably going to be arrested, or poisoned.

Trying to lose those last five pounds
Everybody loves a diet story. But try as I might, I can’t lose the last five no matter what I do, so what’s there to write about? And okay it’s actually eight pounds, but who’s counting?

My obsession with germs
If you’ve read my blog entry about my sun phobia or my post about my biggest fears, I think you’ve heard more than enough about crazy Teri.

The next president of the United States is…
All I can say about this stomach churning topic is, “I have never…,” which doesn’t make for a titillating blog post. My anti-acids are at the ready.

Will I ever be able to retire?
More anti-acids. Plus this topic can be answered in one perfunctory word.  No.

Hillary’s basket of deplorables
I was only able to come up with three measly sentences for this topic, which a riveting blog does not make. (1) Let’s be honest, there are more than a basketful of racists, bigots, homophobes, and misogynists out there. (2) Tell me with a straight face that you haven’t met one, or six, or hundreds who fall into the basket. (3) Come on Mike Pence, man up and admit that David Duke is deplorable!

I need a new kitchen and a new car
I could only come up with five words for this blog post.  Not a chance in hell.

I can write for days on this subject. But the sad truth is, nobody really gives a damn. As an example, August 20 was the third anniversary of President Assad’s chemical attacks on his own people, killing over 1,000 Syrian citizens in 2013. Too bad nobody cares.

Milwaukee, etc.
As someone who lived in poverty as a child, I know first-hand that there are a thousand Milwaukee’s out there. But writing a blog post about Milwaukee or any other poverty stricken place in America would get me nothing but hate mail. Even though four out of five children, who live in Milwaukee, live in poverty. And even though that in 2013-2014, 84.3% of Milwaukee Public School students failed in reading proficiency and 79.7% failed in math. And by the way: Since Wisconsin was admitted to the Union on May 29, 1848, it has had 45 governors: 31 Republicans, 12 Democrats, 1 Whig, and 2 Wisconsin Progressives, so don’t blame the Democrats for this shitstorm.  The lives of people who live in poverty apparently don’t matter. Nobody wants to hear any of this.

Zika Virus
I tried to compile a travel blog and began to round up a list of places that were Zika-free, but I was afraid of getting sued or worse, be responsible for someone going someplace I recommended and then getting Zika’d. So the only thing I could safely say was this: Before you travel, be sure to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. So much for my Zika-free travel blog.

American voter suppression
Now this is a topic I could sink my teeth into. Because, as I write this, Republican-controlled state House and lawmakers across the United States are actively and openly trying to prevent people from voting. The 2016 election will be the first presidential contest in decades without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. This should be a national scandal, except nobody gives a hoot. And let’s be honest, even with this small tidbit of information, my email will undoubtedly be flooded with hateful messages and accusations that I am a God-forbid, liberal. (Even though I’m not.)

Look at that! I managed to create something out of nothing and everything.