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They're usually shaped like hearts, which seems appropriate since I'm in love with them. Always have been, always will be. And I'm an equal opportunity pretzel lover, enjoying both soft and hard ones, although I admit I'm partial to a hot, straight out of the oven, pretzel. Which is why when I visited the Farmer's Market in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania is the pretzel-making capital of America) a few years ago, it was like pretzel nirvana, although I refuse to publicly admit how many soft pretzels I ate that day.

So, how do I explain my pretzel obsession? I'm not sure I can, although one of my earliest memories of New York City (Black and I grew up on Long Island, about a 35-minute train ride from the City) is of the soft pretzels sold on almost every street corner. Depending on the vendor, the outside can be soft or crunchy, different amounts of salt, and sometimes cold, sometimes warm, yet rarely hot. But always huge and satisfying. And although I've tried various topping, I prefer mine straight up, hold the mustard. (On the rare occasion Black eats a pretzel, she even rubs off all the salt!)

Black would be more than happy to explain the business reasons behind the introduction of hard pretzels, but I'm more interested in taste testing pretzel shapes such as pretzel crisps, which are perfect for people who prefer thinner pretzels but not sticks. But my all-time favorite hard pretzel was introduced to me by a good friend (thank you, Bernie!) and is aptly named Unique product, Pretzel Shells. They're hollow, light, and extremely crunchy. But be warned! It's almost impossible to have just a handful.

However, I can't think about pretzels without remembering the "pretzels in the pantry" story,


Several years ago, Black and I were working from her beautifully decorated high-rise when I became hungry, so went into her pantry. It's truly magazine-worthy, as everything's in matching clear canisters (it's like an ad for The Container Store) with food artistically displayed based on their colors and textures. (No, I'm not kidding!) And before Black could stop me, I scooped up a handful of pretzels, and as I began munching on them there was a sickening taste and one word immediately came to mind … RANCID! Only Black would think of pretzels as a decorative item.

So why all this reminiscing about pretzels? Well, it's National Pretzel Day! And although I could easily commemorate the day by simply grabbing a bag of pretzels from my pantry or venturing out to my local mall to get a fresh soft pretzel, I'm considering doing something I've never done,

I love pretzels. I love to bake. Yet I've never tried to make soft pretzels. So, what better way to celebrate National Pretzel Day? Although, I admit I'm a little hesitant. Not because they may not turn out good, but because they may turn out too good! Because, to a pretzel lover like me, a tray of freshly baked, hot, soft pretzels that could be devoured in the privacy of my home would be just too much of a temptation to pass up.
Photo by ideeone on iStock


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I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.


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At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.


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Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.
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Photo by Joseph Sohm for Shutterstock


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When I read the "Breaking News" email about the passing of Colin Powell from complications from COVID-19, I realized that many of us didn't even know he was being treated for illnesses that weakened his immune system. To me, he always seemed to be one of those incredibly strong and resilient men that could overcome anything, as I knew he served as the country's first Black national security adviser (during the Reagan administration), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) and secretary of state (under President George W. Bush).

I first became aware of Powell during Operation Desert Storm and was living in Hong Kong at the time (shortly after I married a Brit, Shell assigned him to the Far East). I can remember being halfway around the world from home while watching seemingly non-stop news briefings featuring "Storming Norman" Schwarzkopf, with his "larger than life" details about the extraordinary precision of the airstrikes. At the time, it almost seemed more like a computer game than an actual war.

However, Powell had a far greater impact on me as he exuded calm mixed with steely determination, projecting an air of confidence that you sensed came from experience and deep personal commitment. And at this time of war and conflict, he provided a comforting feeling of power and control.


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I will not pretend to be a history buff, nor will I reflect on Mr. Powell's greatness as a military figure, statesman, and trailblazer. I will leave that to others. But, several things stand out about Powell as a man. First, he put America ahead of political party, stating, "I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat, throughout my entire career, and right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Thanks to Punchbowl News, I learned that as a young man, he worked in a toy store, and the owner, a Russian immigrant Jew, admired the young Powell so much that he impressed upon him the importance of getting an education. Powell was so touched by this that he stayed in contact with him for the next 50 years. (I loved the sprinkling of Yiddish phrases as Powell tells the story.)

Of course, I could not help but smile rewatching this video of Powell along with two other motorheads, Jay Leno and (at the time) Vice President Biden "racing" Corvettes. And, may explain why one of my many favorite Powell quotes is, "Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror." But in his passing, you cannot help but look back over all he did for our country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


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Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


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No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


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I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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