Dear SNORK readers, we’ve been together for some time now. In fact, today is SNORK’s 7th birthday! I hope you’ve enjoyed our visits.
It has been my great pleasure writing for you. My goal has always been to give you a place to come that’s non-political, controversy-free and, hopefully, a space to hang your hat and put your feet up for a few chuckles. It gives me purpose and your support has meant the world to me.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus and Covid-19, I began making videos for you, with the intention of helping to alleviate some of our collective stress. I thought that having a human to see might make us all feel a little less isolated.
Those videos have blossomed into a full-blown YouTube channel called At Home With Anita Rosner, with lots more content than what you’ve found on this blog. I don’t post all my videos here because, frankly, they don’t always include the funny misadventures of my life – which is what this blog is all about.
That said, I think you might actually enjoy them! So, here’s the part where I’m asking for your support: It would be a tremendous help to me if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel. It’s free and easy to do. It requires no commitment on your part. It’s just a way of helping me to grow.
All you have to do is click on the “subscribe” button in the video below. It will appear in the bottom right corner about 30 seconds into the video. Or you can go directly to the channel here. That’s it! Your small gesture could help me embark on an exciting new phase of my life. I will still write for you, but if you like what you see here, you might actually enjoy being one of my YouTube viewers as well.
As always, I’m am so grateful to you for sticking with me all these years. Now, let’s get this second party started!!!!!
Back in 2007, there seemed to be some sort of fever sweeping through my friend group: everyone was adopting dogs. I couldn’t understand it. Why? All of our youngest children were finally starting school. We would have a moment to ourselves. Why would you bring another dependent into the house? A dog is a toddler that never grows up, I said. A dog will never be able to feed itself, I said. It will need walks, it will need grooming, medical care, it will bark, it will chew your shoes, it will pee in the house, it will steal food from the table…
You get the picture – I was not a fan.
My kids and my husband begged me, “Please, can we have a dog?”
Now, many people want to let others down gently. When they don’t want to say “no,” they say things like, “let me think about it” or “we’ll see.”
My response was unambiguous, “Over my dead body.”
Then, one day in the early summer of 2007, a strange thing happened.
My sister, Diana, and I were on the upper east side of Manhattan and passed the window of a pet shop. The most adorable puppies were in the window. And, yes, even I thought they were adorable because all puppies are adorable and I am only human.
Diana said, “Let’s go in…just to look.”
We browsed around. They had puppies and kittens, all looking cuddly and lovable, and heartbreaking in their tiny cages.
For reasons that remain unclear, I started asking questions:
Me: Do you have goldendoodles? My family has allergies.
Salesman: No, we only have purebreds here.
Me: What kind of purebreds are hypoallergenic?
Salesman: Why don’t I show you?
Never trust anyone who answers a question with a question.
The salesman went to an unseeable room in the store and returned with two tiny shitzu pups. One was the color of toasted marshmallows (which I love), and one was black and white like an Oreo cookie (which I also love). I have a sweet tooth. What can I say?
Without a word, he held them out to me. And without a thought, I took them.
That’s when it happened. It came without warning, I didn’t feel a tickle in my throat, or body aches of any kind. Nonetheless, I caught the fever.
The marshmallow was wriggling and squirming. The Oreo was totally zen. I handed the marshmallow back to the salesman and focused on the black and white fur ball that was now cradled in my arms. Like a seasoned pro, it nuzzled its little head under my chin. I was done for.
When I brought her home, my family must have thought I’d lost my mind, and I’ve never seen so much happiness stem from another person’s perceived dementia. After much debate, we named her Fluffy and she has been a beloved part of the family ever since.
After 13 years, Fluffy still can’t feed herself or walk herself, but she has never chewed our shoes (although she went through a period where she’d gather them like a nest around herself). She doesn’t bark. She doesn’t pee in the house. She doesn’t steal food from the table. Turns out, I’d been around some horribly “trained” dogs. She is nothing like them. She is my sweet, well-behaved little toddler that has never grown up and I could love her more. I have never recovered from the fever, and I never want to.
Unless you’ve just emerged from a decades-long coma or have been recently paroled after an extended stint in the hoosegow, re-entering society has probably never been one of your concerns. Now, it’s all anyone talks about. Reopening. Going back. It’s the hottest topic of debate and speculation since “who shot J.R.?”
Many people are eager to burst forth from their quarantine cocoons. Others want to take a more cautious approach, dipping a toe before plunging back in. I get it. People need to work and to socialize. These are necessities as much as they are a part of human nature.
Then there are people, like me, who are simply not ready.
What’s the rush? There’s still so much more I need to accomplish in the shelter of my home. I want to paint that desk, organize those closets, finish learning how to play the guitar. So what if I’ve had the past 71 days to do it? I haven’t gotten around to everything yet, ok?
If I’m to be honest, this whole lockdown thing has had more ups than downs for someone like me. I like structure. Sheltering at home is right up my alley. I know exactly what’s on the agenda every morning when I wake up – nothing. Each day will be whatever I want it to be. There are no demands on me. I don’t have to be anywhere, prepare anything, or for the most part, meet any deadlines. I’m still getting auditions for voiceovers, but I can do them at my leisure and in my pajamas. If I do set a goal for myself or plan something, I don’t have to worry about any interruptions beyond Fluffy needing a walk or a grumbling tummy needing some sustenance. I can sit in a chair all day and enjoy a book and a cup of coffee without feeling guilty. The time is all mine and I can make with it what I wish.
All these perks make re-entering society, reopening, and going back a tad less attractive to me.
I have changed. Certainly we have all have. But have we all changed in the same way? Many people have gone back to their roots which, turns out, are mostly grey. I stopped coloring my hair a year ago, so in that way, I was ahead of the curve. But those kinds of changes are superficial. I know that I have changed in my core and I’ve discovered things about myself that I never knew.
Changes and Surprises
1. While watching movies, I cringe now when I see people shaking hands, attending large gatherings, meandering through stores… I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that again and it’s hard for me to imagine what it will be like.
2. Long viewed by others as a “people person” who is the life of any party, I’ve discovered I’m perfectly content to be quiet. In the future, if you’re looking for me, check the backseat. I might be there, enjoying not talking.
3. I’m a hugger! This is huge. When meeting people for the first time, I’m always caught off guard if they come in for a hug and I stiffen up like a phone pole. Now, I want long and lingering hugs. Put a mask on and c’mon in! My arms are open.
4. I don’t miss eating out. I’ve been enjoying cooking and it’s become a creative outlet for me. I even started my own YouTube channel, At Home With Anita Rosner. It’s fun and satisfies my yen for cooking, performing and film making, all in one neat little package.
5. I forgot how to drive my car. The battery kept dying from lack of use, so after a recent jump, my husband and I went for a long drive to charge it up. For the life of me, I could not remember how to turn on the cruise control.
6. I’ve had renewed faith in humanity. For every bonehead who buys up all the flour, hand sanitizer and every package of toilet paper in the store, there is a person who offers you whatever they can spare. There are the friends who check in with you just to see how you’re holding up and to tell you they love you. And there are people like this hospital technician who gives a pop-up concert for his co-workers to keep their spirits up.
Yes, there have been many lessons, revelations and adjustments in the past three months with many more to come. Are you ready? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
She loved you, held your hair back when you were sick, comforted you through break ups…no, not your college roommate. I’m talking about your mother!
This Mother’s Day will be like no other. I won’t be with my kids. I won’t be with my own mother. Yes, we call and we FaceTime, but that’s hardly a substitute for being in the same room together (which hasn’t happened for over three months now).
This pandemic has taught us many lessons, particularly that nothing is certain. So, I hope you’ll make a special effort to let your mother know what she really means to you. Some people are uncomfortable expressing their emotions. I should know because I am one of them. I tell my husband that he’s the luckiest man in the world because he married a woman who doesn’t like to shop and doesn’t like to talk about her feelings. But, set that discomfort aside and tell her what she means to you and why.
That said, I’d like to share just a few of my memories about my mother and why I appreciate her so much.
When I was five-years-old, out of the blue, my mother brought a little gray kitten home. This is one of the few times I remember her being spontaneous. She saw it, all alone by a garbage can, and decided to give it a home. I could not believe my eyes. Neither could my father when he came home from work. Misty, the name we gave him two seconds after meeting him, could not stay, my father said. Well, this was a pretty smart kitten, because when my father sat down to read the evening paper, Misty mewed at his feet until dad picked him up. It was that easy. We kept Misty and loved him until the end of his days. And I loved my mother for taking the chance on bringing him to us.
Hostess With The Most-ess
Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around one holiday or another. It seemed like my mother was the designated hostess for most of them. She did Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…you name it. Everyone would gather from our very large extended family. The food was amazing and my grandfather’s homemade wine would flow. When it wasn’t an official holiday, our house was still party central, especially in the summer. Since we had a swimming pool, we had a constant stream of guests during hot weather months, with barbecues every night. I loved those times. Everyone hung out, everyone was welcomed. Now that I’ve followed in her footsteps, I’ve come to realize what went into all those affairs and appreciate her even more.
There is a hazy memory in the back of my mind, when my mother took me to a pediatrician appointment and then, rather than bringing me back to school, we went to a movie. Such lawlessness was not her style, which made it all the more fun.
And speaking of the pediatrician…
After weeks of begging, badgering and cajoling, my mother finally agreed to take my sister and me to the pediatrician to have our ears pierced. That’s where you had it done in those days, unless you had a friend you trusted to poke you with a sewing needle (we did not). My sister, Diana, went first. One, two, three and it was done. Then it was my turn. Nothing to it. Then Dr. Laquadera turned to my mother, “What do you say, Alice? Are you game?”
My mother blanched, “Oh, no. I couldn’t!”
My sister and I started pleading with her to go for it. The doctor helped us egg her along. And that became the day we all had our ears pierced together. Just us girls.
Becoming a Mother
When I gave birth to my first child, I was bound and determined to breastfeed. “What could be more natural?” I thought. I’d read all the books. I listened to my friends extols the virtues of their lactation consultants (which, to be honest, still makes me roll my eyes). So when the time came, I felt ready and informed. My son, however, had other ideas. He was not on board. He would not latch on. My mother was in the hospital room with me and could see I was growing frustrated – which, by the way, all the books said not to do. Like you can control that. The floor nurse strolled in, for one reason or another, and started trying to coach me. At one point, she actually roughly grabbed my nipple and tried to force my son to take it. He started to cry, as did I.
My mother stepped in, dismissing the nurse. “We’ll take it from here,” she said, lifting my son into her arms and rocking him.
After we had both calmed down, she handed him back to me and said, “Just let him find it.”
Eureka! Success! Mother does know best.
When a daughter is determined to get a tattoo, sometimes her mother will insist on accompanying her. This is not uncommon. However, I never thought I’d be on the flip side of that equation. Yup, you read that right. My mother was determined to get a tattoo, and I accompanied her. You can read about it in a past post titled “Ladybug“.
Breakfast In Bed
I don’t ever remember serving breakfast in bed to my mother on Mother’s Day. In fact, I can’t remember a childhood Mother’s Day that didn’t involve my mother making breakfast for us like she always did. This year, I wish I could. She and my father are in isolation and they’re 300 miles away. But if I could, I know just what I’d make for her – baked French toast.
If you’re lucky enough to be with your mom tomorrow, you can make it for her.
This will be one of the strangest and, in many ways, most difficult Mother’s Days for many of us. And as if things couldn’t get any weirder…it snowed today.
The weather outside has been frightful; cold and rainy with a thunderstorm to beat the band. Poor Fluffy is strapped into her Thunder Shirt which, to be honest, doesn’t fully alleviate her anxiety during storms.
My husband and I don’t need comfort garments, but some comfort food would be just the ticket on a day like this. Nothing, I thought, would hit the spot more than a chicken pot pie.
Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve been on some sort of unending rotation throughout this isolation period: Cook, clean the kitchen, cook some more, clean again, and so on…
I enjoy cooking, but sometimes I don’t feel like dirtying every pot, pan, rolling pin, food processor, etc. just to whip up a single meal. So, creating pasty dough for a chicken pot pie was not in the cards today. However, finding shortcuts is kind of my thing. If there’s an easier way to do something, I’ll find it. That’s when I was struck by inspiration.
During the summer, I make super simple fruit “pies” that don’t require crust per se. Why not use the same method to make a pot “pie”?
So I did just that. And if you’d like to learn how, just click here for my super simple Chicken Slump!
SNORK Chicken Slump
Preheat oven to 375
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 can condensed mushroom soup thinned with 1 can-full of milk
2 cups frozen vegetables (thawed)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Bell’s Poultry Seasoning*
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil and rosemary over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft
Add condensed soup mixture, vegetables and chicken
Pour filling into a baking dish In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, seasoning, salt and baking powder
Add milk and melted butter
Stir until combined into a batter
Pour batter over filling and smooth evenly
Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the topping becomes golden brown
Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving
*You can substitute Bell’s Poultry Seasoning with 1 tablespoon of your favorite herbs/spices or the following mixture: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger 1/2 dried sage
Today marks 42 days of sheltering at home. It is surreal. But in terms of my social life, things are hopping!
This past weekend, I attended two cocktail parties, two family reunions, a family game night, and I did it all from my computer through the website Zoom. If you, too, have been living through Zoom, I have some tips to share on how to Zoom like a boss (and how not to be that person during a Zoom call).
Visits to the supermarket are one of my least favorite things, especially now. People encroach on my personal space – get out of my hula hoop, encroachers! – some people don’t wear masks or gloves, and the shelves are half empty. So, I try not to go at all. But when I have no other option, it’s time to suit up and say a little prayer.
The moment I cross the threshold, all I can think about is leaving. I arm myself with a list, which is quickly abandoned when I discover they don’t have bread, but they have english muffins (I can make sandwiches with those). They don’t have flour but they have oatmeal (I can make flour out of oatmeal). They don’t have garlic, but they have coconuts (I can’t make anything by substituting coconuts for garlic). But I buy a coconut and I’ll figure it out later. That’s how it is now; you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
The last time I hit the store, about three weeks ago, I bought a huge bunch of bananas assuming I’d have them for snacks or for breakfast with some peanut butter. Well, that did not happen and I ended up with a large bunch of black things that used to be bananas.
However, this is no time to throw away food or money. So I decided to make two yummy dishes with them. Click here to learn my recipes for SNORK Bananas Foster and the easiest banana bread you could ever hope to make!
Easter has come and gone. It’s been years since the Easter bunny has visited me personally. He’s shown up for my husband and kids for years, but always seems to forget my basket! This year, however, he made up for it in a big way. Imagine my surprise to find a bundle of pandemic-themed goodies on my front porch: pasta, garlic, a biscotti and, joy of joys, four rolls of toilet paper! I suspect he was in cahoots with my dear friend, Wendy, but I can’t prove it.
If you’ve been keeping a close eye on New York, you have probably seen our Governor, Andrew Cuomo, working tirelessly for us. So, I got a little miffed when his baby brother, Chris Cuomo, was giving him “the business” over maternal favoritism.
It seems the Governor’s whippersnapperish younger brother holds to the idea that he is their mother’s favorite. He rubbed in the Governors’s face that he, Chris, was anointed with their mom’s spaghetti sauce recipe; asserting that no other sibling has it.
Any good Italian knows that family sauce recipes are shrouded in mystique, and are coveted secrets. So this kind of claim on Chris’s part was a particularly low blow.
I could not let this stand and I just had to come to the Governor’s rescue. It’s the least I could do. Watch my YouTube video to see my response by clicking here.