On Thanksgiving , we travel to Indianapolis to be with our children and grandchildren. As persnickety old folks, we prefer to stay in a nearby motel for the weekend.  Especially since they have a heated swimming pool for much needed exercise after a big Turkey dinner. It’s a popular place, attracting many families who enjoy the pool.  But this weekend, I witnessed an accident that made me wonder: Should you trust Grandpa with the kids?

I had been splashing around in the pool for awhile when the door opened and  two men walked inside with two young boys—maybe 4 or 5, tops.  The younger man was in street clothes,  but the older gentleman—obviously the grandpa– was wearing a swim suit.  The two toddlers had water wings, and were excited to be going for a swim.

Grandpa may have a medical condition
Grandpa may have a medical condition that means he shouldn’t  be in charge of the kids.

Their Dad settled down in a chair with his cell phone, clearly relieved to have  Grandpa jump in to play with the boys.  They were a little timid at first.  They thought the water was cold.  But Grandpa got them to water’s edge and had them plunge in full force—big splashes everywhere.  They were playing pretty rough.  Grandpa encouraged them to go back again and again to dive in head first.  At that point, I knew if I was their mom, I would have asked all of them to settle down a bit.

Then, they ducked under the window that led to the outside half of the pool.  The air temperature was around 41 degrees. Again, this mom would have said no, please don’t take them outside.  But the Dad was more interested in his phone.  All of a sudden, I heard a scream, the outside door opened, and the Grandpa came in holding a screaming child.  The Dad jumped up and got a towel for the child’s head.  Soon, the towel was blood red as the little boy continued to scream.

Pandemonium everywhere. Bystanders rushing to help,  Dad running to find the Mom, Grandpa holding the kid while he continued to shake.  Other little boy watching in bewilderment.  Mom rushes in, grabs child, holding blood soaked towel to his head, and they all head to the hospital. Apparently the child had somehow busted open the back of his head.

A perfectly lovely family holiday ruined by a careless Grandpa. It reminded me of the tragedy on the cruise ship last month where the Grandpa accidentally dropped his granddaughter through an open window, and she plunged to her death.

Grandpas mean well.  They love their Grandkids dearly.  But they may not be competent  caregivers.  They could have a medical condition that clouds their judgement. Maybe they’re on a lot of meds.  Whatever the reason,  it makes you wonder: should you trust grandpa with the kids?

Family Favorite Holiday Recipes

When your kids have been gone 30 years, and still ask you to make these delicious treats, you know they’re pretty good.  Something about homemade coffee cake and persimmon pudding brings back joyful memories of past holidays.   I’ve posted these traditional recipes before, but am sharing them again in case you missed them.   I hope your guests enjoy these family favorite holiday recipes.

Persimmon pulp is now available in most upscale grocery stores.  You can even order it over the internet.  It’s a bit pricey compared to the good old days, but it sure beats looking for a persimmon tree and spending all day making pulp.

A culinary deight
Rich, Spicy Persimmon Pudding

Not everyone likes persimmon pudding, but for those that do, it’s a rare treat, especially when served with whipped cream.  There are other persimmon recipes that give you a dessert with  the texture of a brownie or cake, so you might look those up on the internet if you think you would like that better.




2 cups persimmon pulp

½  cup melted butter

1 cup milk

1 cup half and half (it’s okay to use milk)

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

1  1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp  allspice


Mix pulp, eggs.  sugar, melted butter and milk.  Mix dry ingredients separately.  Then combine both mixtures. Stir well. Pour into greased 9 X 13 inch pan and bake for one hour at 325 degrees.  Stir several times while pudding is baking so that it won’t harden at edges of pan.


I first tasted this  rich, flaky, coffee cake roll while living in Chicago,  when a German  neighbor brought it to a kaffeeklatsch in our building.    I had always avoided recipes with yeast, because they required a lot of kneading and the problem was, you might either over knead or under knead, and that would ruin the whole thing.

easy coffee cake

But this  was so easy that I made it every year on Christmas and Easter for the next four decades.  Friends and family asked for the recipe, and soon, they were claiming it as their own.





1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

¾ cup warm milk

3 egg yolks

4 cups flour

2 sticks (1/2 cup) cold margarine

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar


1 stick margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup finely chopped walnuts


¾ cup powdered sugar

Enough milk to make a thin paste


In separate bowl: dissolve yeast in warm water according to package directions; add  egg yolks and warm milk.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and sugar.  Using your hands, mix in margarine until you have pea-sized pieces ( as if you are making pie dough),

Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Do not knead. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 13 X 9 inch rectangle.  Stir filling  ingredients until fluffy.  Spread over rectangles. Roll up jell-roll style, starting with a long side.

Place rolls  seam side down at the edges of a 13 X 9 inch baking pan. Cover and let sit until doubled, about 3 hours. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until brown.  Make icing and frost the cakes while they are still warm..


What is it about the British upper class?  They always sound so bloody snobbish,  and cold as ice. I guess it’s the old stiff upper lip at work.  Showing emotion isn’t considered classy.  I think that was Prince Andrew’s problem the other day,  during the  BBC’s News night interview. When  asked about his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein,  Andrew  didn’t seem perturbed.    He was just behaving the way he was taught, but it didn’t go down well. Now his Mom has had to fire him in order to satisfy the British taxpayers.  It’s another Crack in the Crown.

Prince Andrew had a disastrous interview on the BBC
Prince Andrew seemed cold and unrepentant during his interview on the BBC.

Andrew should have sat down with his nephew’s wife, Meghan Markle,  before the interview.  He needed some acting lessons.  Look how she got all teary eyed and emotional about how mean the British media has been.   Now everyone thinks she’s been treated like dirt, and the world loves her, even if the queen doesn’t.

.Fiona Hill, former National Security Council adviser, who testified during the Trump impeachment hearings, had the same problem..  She  was thin lipped, stiff,  and coldly  judgmental.  His British accent was so thick that I could barely understand her.  She wasn’t a very good witness for the prosecution, except in the eyes of the media, who hung on her every word.  But to the average person in the Heartland, she came across as a British snob looking down on us tacky Americans. (She became an American citizen in  2002. )

One good thing– Andrew’s disastrous interview  got Meghan and Harry out of the limelight.  Whatever they said or did  during their own controversial public interview  was dwarfed by Andrew’s  debacle.  At least they hadn’t been caught  running around with a criminal,  and brushing it off like lint on a sleeve.

I don’t feel sorry for Andrew. He’ll be perfectly fine because the British Royals have had hundreds of years to accumulate enough wealth to take them into the next century. He’s pretty well fixed.  Heck, he could move to Indiana with his money and live like a king.  But of course, he won’t.  It wouldn’t be classy,  and he might have to behave  like a normal human being.

Just another Crack in The Crown.  But Queen Elizabeth is pretty good with super glue


That Ukraine is a corrupt nation is an established fact.  Apparently, they agreed to clean up the problem if we would give them financial aid.  Around March of 2019 they assured our diplomats that there was no longer any corruption.  Congress  decided that based on what they said, Ukraine should get close to $400 million dollars of our tax payer money.   But Trump wasn’t convinced they’d done a good job of investigating possible corruption with the Bidens   so he decided to hold up the money until they did.  Now, Trump’s about to be impeached for bribery.    But the Elephant in the Room is Joe  Biden’s son.  Is Congress ignoring the fact that his high paying jobs in Ukraine and China sounded suspicious?

Hunter Biden had a highpaying job in Urkraine due to his father's influence
Joe and Hunter Biden paying golf with Ukraine Gas Company Executives

Here’s what we know about Hunter Biden.  He got kicked out of the Navy  in May of 2014   because he tested positive for cocaine.  He made a bundle because of his Dad’s influence as Vice President of the United States. From 2014 until 2019, he served on the board of Burisma Holding, a Ukranian gas producer,making around $50,000 a month.  He made millions of dollars working with a private equity firm in China.    And now, the latest revelation comes from his baby mama in Arkansas , who’s suing him in a paternity case.  Apparently, this gallant fellow  denied he had fathered her child  born in August of 2018 until a DNA test proved he was, indeed, the father. It looks like Hunter is the black sheep of the family. But strangely, Congress hasn’t shown the slightest bit of interest in his lucrative deals with China and the Ukraine.

So, if Trump is impeached, Hunter Biden gets away with all that money he earned  because he was the son of the Vice President of the United States of America. .

Well, maybe he can use it to pay child support in Arkansas.


Everyone looks forward to the holiday season.  But when it’s over we may feel a post season slump.  Things didn’t go as well as expected, and it’s partly our own fault.  Here’s how to avoid holiday regrets:

Do you control your appetite or does it control you?  The holidays start on Thanksgiving and don’t end until Jan 2.  Now is the time for some preventive maintenance.  Start downsizing your body before the holidays even begin. This gives you some leeway if you eat too much pecan pie and stuffing.

One way to control your weight is to ignore those first signs of hunger. Don’t head for the frig as soon as you feel your stomach gnawing or growling.  Drink a glass of water.   Do some exercises–anything to get your mind on something else. And on the big day, try to avoid second servings.

Here are five ways to avoid holiday regrets.

Alcohol and  relatives don’t  always mix.  Not everyone likes their in laws.  If you’re a never Trumper, someone in the family probably likes him.  Family gatherings are fertile grounds for disagreements over just about anything. The choice of restaurant, a loan that wasn’t paid back, grandpa’s will.  The list goes on and on.  You try to bite your tongue most of the time, but an extra glass of wine or a double scotch is apt to loosen it. .  And before you know it, you’ve said something nasty  and you can’t take it back. Know your limits.  Don’t let too much alcohol ruin family harmony and leave you feeling ashamed of yourself.

It’s fine to give expensive presents if you can afford them.  But don’t overspend. Who wants to be paying off Christmas bills at Easter time?

Don’t feel you must go home for Christmas. Ice and snow usually create hazardous conditions at least once during the season.  No family wants to get a call that their loved ones have been in an accident. You can always celebrate a few days later when the roads have cleared.

Stay home if you’re sick.  Don’ t push yourself  to attend social gatherings or go to work.  If you feel  you’re coming down with something, you’re probably contagious.  A bad virus infection can turn into pneumonia if you don’t stay in bed until you’re well.    For your own sake, and the wellness of others,  take care of yourself until you’re feeling healthy again.

Here’s hoping your holidays are full of happy memories, and no regrets!


One good thing has come out of the impeachment hearings.   We’re now aware that our taxpayer dollars are being sent to support one of the most corrupt countries in the world. While the politicians fight it out in congress, we have to ask ourselves: Why do we send millions to Ukraine?

The cold war supposedly ended in 1991, when  U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced,  ” By the grace of God, America won the Cold War: ”  After that,  the average American stopped worrying about Russia .  Since Sept. 11, we’ve been preoccupied with ISIS, the Taliban  and terrorism.   So, why are we so invested in Ukraine?

Why send millions of dollars to corrupt Ukraine
Wikipedia quotes Ernest and Young as saying Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

It started in 2014, when Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and continued to occupy it. Many foreign policy experts believe that Ukraine,   caught in the middle between East and West., is the bulwark against Russian expansionism.  And so, through NATO,  we got sucked into sending aid to Ukraine.

 In 2015 The Guardian called Ukraine “the most corrupt nation in Europe”. According to a poll conducted by Ernst & Young (accounting firm) in 2017, experts considered Ukraine to be the ninth-most corrupt nation in the world.”

Marie Yovanovitch marching in gay parade in Ukriane
Marie Yovanovitch grew up speaking Russian.

So now, we’re in an impeachment inquiry about withholding money from  Ukraine.  At least two of the star witnesses have family ties to  either the Ukraine or Russia.   Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director of European Affairs for the National Security Council. was born in the Ukraine.  Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’ s parents fled Russia before she was born in Canada.  She grew up speaking Russian.

So, what will happen if the president is impeached because he demanded an investigation into  Ukraine corruption?  Will we keep sending  more and more aid,  with no strings attached? ?    Maybe we’re spreading ourselves a bit thin, fighting battles all over the world and giving away money  without getting anything back in return.

Can the average American understand why we sent $400 million dollars in aid  to the Ukraine?  One of the most corrupt countries in the world?  Honestly, I don’t think so.


The only people who believe in the benefit of taking polls are the organizations that take them. It has  been proven time and again, especially in the last presidential election, that polls aren’t reliable.  I’m sure some polls are accurate if they show a huge majority in favor of a certain  political candidate. But in a close election?  Not so much.  There are reasons why poll taking is obsolete:


Polls aren't nearly as accurate as they were 20 years ago.
90% of people don’t answer their phones.

90% of people don’t answer their phones  Remember when it was exciting to hear the telephone ring?  Unless it happened to be a wrong number, it was always from someone you knew.  Now, no one in their right mind automatically picks up their  phone when it rings. Most of us receive six or eight spam calls a day on both our landline and our cellphones.  To answer is a big mistake.  So, if someone does decide to speak with a stranger, there’s something a little bit unusual about that person.  Maybe they’re incredibly lonely. Or just not playing with a full deck.  Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t trust the validity of their answers to a poll.

Only about 35 to 40 percent  of registered voters in the United States actually vote.  And so, if you’re polling that group, you have approximately a one out of three chance that the person you’re talking to is actually  going to vote at all.

Why don’t people in the USA turn out for the vote?  It’s hard to say.  Maybe it’s because too many people believe the polls.  Voting is easier in some states than it is in others.  In states like Indiana, where we have early voting, it’s not nearly as difficult as in states that  only allow same day voting. And so, if the polls say  your favorite candidate is going to win, you might think there’s no point in going to the trouble of voting.

Often, I’m asked to participate in online polls.  That’s the last thing I  would ever do.   Why not advertise your political leanings over the internet?  It could be downright dangerous.  At the very least, you will be bombarded with requests for money to support your candidate of choice.  Don’t you get enough e mails already?

If you really want to know who is going to win the election, your best source is probably with the bookmakers.