Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Comments About Bill Bricker from the Glen Arbor Sun

I pulled the following comments from the Glen Arbor Sun archives. They may have been overlooked in the crowd.  They were written in response to the article in the Sun about former boy scout leader/gym teacher Bill Bricker. I thought it would be easier to read them in their own separate post. I think it's interesting to note that there are people who claim that girls were also victims, something I didn't realize.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

No Statute of Limitations in Wyoming for Pedophilia

I got an email today from a detective in Wyoming about Bill Bricker. He lived and worked as a gym teacher and boy scout leader in Winnetka, Illinois. He spent 50 summers working with kids at Teton Valley  Ranch near Jackson, WY.
          Here's the information that the detective asked me to post. The second sentence is important to note.

Anyone with information about crimes committed by BIll Bricker, please contact the Teton County Sheriff's Office at 307 733 4052 -- Detective Spence. This is an active criminal investigation and there is no statute of limitations for the crimes that occurred in Wyoming.  

In a second email, she added, "I can only investigate and file charges for the crimes committed here in Teton County Wyoming.  However, I will get any victim who comes forward connected to the right agency for the jurisdiction in which their crime occurred.  I can’t however promise they don’t have a statute of limitations as every state can be different.  But I will do what I can to help."

Call her. It's time. 

[You can read the story I reprinted from a Michigan newspaper about Bricker's background as a WWII recipient of the Silver Star, HERE. ]

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

AOL Sucks. And Other Happy Moments.

I confess I still have an AOL account. Keep your thoughts to yourself, thank you. Not only that. I've got an AOL account that costs money. Oh the humiliation! Especially when I forget to turn off my computer's sound and "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!" blasts all over wherever I happen to be, which is usually Starbucks. 

But sometimes I'm in a meeting [OMG] and the looks of pity and sounds of derision cause everyone to look up and stop whatever we're doing, so people in attendance [always under forty] can make shit out of me. And don't get me started on my lack of a smartphone.

Not that I don't have other emails besides AOL -- thirteen in fact. None of which embarrass the crap out of me the way AOL does when I forget to turn off the sound and [argggh] sign on. 

With this plethora of emails, it's not like I couldn't live without AOL, but that's not the point of this entry. In fact, have you noticed that I rarely start out my posts anymore with the actual subject I intend to flog? Probably not, since most of my readers have ADD or know someone who does. Or they're robots paid to track down any mention of AOL and report back to headquarters. 

As part of the oxymoronic fee I keep paying to enjoy the perks of AOL, I enjoy a smattering of complimentary "benefits." The benefits, however, are rarely for people who own MACs. 

For instance, there's virus protection via McAfee which is offered for free. lf you have a PC. In fact, more than half of AOL's benefits aren't worth do-dah to me or my MAC. Like my personal favorite, unlimited dial up access.

But today, they offered a free AARP membership [have I mentioned that I pay a fee for all this free stuff?]. I already have my AARP card -- good through 2016 -- but I can add another two years to my membership. For FREE. Since I pay a monthly FEE for this complimentary perkarama. 

It's worth noting, before I get to the subject of this rant, that joining AARP is a right of passage we all experience at the age of fifty. First there's the shock. An envelope arrives in the mail this close to your 50th birthday. The nerve!! How the fark do they know I'm turning fifty? Goddammit. I haven't even told my family yet. 

I think the letter I received started out, "Ha, ha bitch, you're fifty. Suck it up." What followed was an invitation to join their insurance club, sorry their Addled Adults in Retrograde Poopypants club. Without so much as an apology. Jerkwads. But you get over the awfulness of it, join the club, and get discounts. Assuming you like to eat at Applebee's and stay at Red Roof Inn. 

The email I got invited me to take advantage of an AARP membership NOW and practically begged me to ENROLL TODAY. Which I tried to. Here's the evidence.
All of a sudden during the-fill-out-the-form stage, I ran into a problem, when I claimed that I had an AARP membership, but mistakenly used a variation on my first name. And I still had the problem even after I checked my card and used the exact name on my AARP card. 

So I was told by a message on the screen to contact AARP, who confirmed that I did in fact have a membership. However, that was all they could do, confirm the membership. Something I already knew.

Now I had to call AOL @800-827-6364 to confirm that I had an AOL account and I was the same person who had an AARP membership, too. That was stupid enough.

This is when it gets stupider. Maurice -- or Morris -- answered and asked how I was. I was short on time and low on patience, so I said, "Fine, thank you." After explaining that I was just trying to add two years to my AARP membership, per the email I had received, he put me on HOLD.

Maurice [or Morris] came back an hour or two later [okay I exaggerate] to say that the offer doesn't go into effect until April 4th. I said, I don't care when it goes into effect, I just want to get signed up. 

Well, you can't. 

I can't sign up until April 4th? Then why did AOL send me an email inviting me to sign up NOW. It says right here, ENROLL NOW.

It doesn't go into effect until April 4th.

I know that. But what has that got to do with when I can sign up? 

Because it doesn't go into effect until April 4th.

Then why do I have an email in my inbox telling me to sign up now. And there's no mention of April 4th. 

It doesn't go into effect until April 4th.

Do you know the difference between going into effect and signing up? Probably not. I want to speak to your supervisor.


Because I want to talk to someone who isn't such an idiot.

But I can't do anything if it doesn't go into effect until April 4th.

Yes you can. You can go fark yourself. 

NOTE to readers: Some of this conversation has been changed to reflect what I was thinking, not what I said. I'll leave it up to you to decide when that occurred. 

Okay. Let's see what happens on April 4th.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tale of the Towel

When you join my health club, they take a picture of you for your membership card. I believe the intent is to confirm that the name on the card matches the person in the picture when you sign in. So someone can't steal your card and use it for themselves. Except that the picture they took of me is so dark you can't tell who it is. You can't even tell whether it's a man or a woman, except for my name. And they never seem to check that. They just scan the card.

I think I should give my card to a guy friend sometime and see if he can get in, since, apparently, the front desk doesn't care whose picture or name is on the card, as long as the membership is paid up.

Today there was trouble. I asked for my usual locker -- 107 -- no reason, I'm just a creature of habit. Unfortunately, for the first time since I've been asking for 107, it wasn't available, but 104 was. Fine, I can go with the flow. But when I asked the very bald guy at the desk for my usual three postage stamp towels [it takes that many to get the coverage I need] I was shot down.

In a very strange way.

"Sorry you can only have two towels," he said. [I should point out that these towels can only cover your butt or your front, but not both at the same time. And one of them has to also dry my hair.]

"But I ALWAYS get three." [You probably wouldn't understand Mr. Cue Ball, since you haven't used a comb since 1958. ]

"Sorry, rules say you can only have two." [Rules and I rarely see eye to eye.]

"But I always get three," I repeated, to no one who cared.

Now here's the part that left me shaking my head:

"If you want a third towel you have to bring one of the other ones back." 

So, I'm standing there, thinking to myself while shooting daggers at the bald guy -- you're saying that after my shower, when I'm standing naked and toweling off my head with one towel, and drying off my front with a second towel, that I have to leave the shower area to go to the front desk to exchange one of those two wet towels in order to get a third dry towel, so I can finish drying off my backside? 

I had seriously contemplated doing just that. For a second or two. Or bringing the two soaking wet postage stamp sized towels back down and throwing them at the guy when I was done. That is, until I opened up locker number 104. And discovered two fresh towels waiting for me. 

Something serendipitous like that hasn't ever happened to me, since I first joined the club over 30 years ago, when it was private and fancy. And finding two fresh towels in my locker definitely hasn't happened since the club became a park district facility. 


Now that I had four towels to dry me off, I thought about taking them all down to the desk when I was done -- after sticking them under the shower to insure they were good and wet first -- and tossing them at the bald guy.

But it was just easier to leave them in the wet towel bin. And dream of what might have been. 

And get a blog entry out of it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Quick Whine

The Apple Store asked if I wanted to take a one hour introductory workshop after I purchased my iPad last Saturday.

[I used two Apple gift cards I received and hoarded until I couldn't go without an iPad any longer -- more on that later].

So I signed up for a workshop that met this morning.

I thought we'd get instruction on how to set up ALL our email accounts, not just one. I thought we'd learn how to take and send pictures, use the front and back cameras, how to use one or more of the apps, but particularly Facetime, since it's loaded when you buy an iPad these days.

In other words, I thought we'd learn the BASIC shit that runs on an iPad.

But NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O! The Workshop was a farkin' commercial for the purchase of MORE Apple products.

The first thing genius boy did was to Bluetooth link his iPad to a larger video screen [and you can even link up with your TV!] that the class could all view. "How can I do this?" he asked. "I have an APPLE TV gismo that lets me do that. And, guess what!! you can purchase your very own APPLE TV thingamabob after class."

Next he showed us how to connect Bluetooth to my keyboard and other devices [if I'd had them with me]. AND, lookee here, "I've hooked my iPad up to my cylindrical speaker, which I will now demonstrate when I play a tune from my iTunes app." And, yes, you can also purchase this very speaker when you're buying the APPLE TV thingy.

Next we went online to the Apple App Store -- so now we could buy some additional APPS. He demonstrated some of his favorites and said it was really easy to order using my iPad. He even gave instructions. 

Okay, that's tears it. I said, "When are we going to get lessons in basic iPad functionality instead of other Apple products you're pushing us to buy?"

Yep. I'm a total bitch. Actually I was feeling sorry for the elderly woman who came because she hadn't used her iPad very much in the last two years. And she wasn't going to use it any more often after that stupid class either. She still wouldn't know how to get her email. Or make a Facetime call. 

P.S. My younger daughter and her husband just had their first baby, a little girl, Myla. Since they live out of the country, getting an iPad turned out to be the best, fastest way for me to have them on Facetime with a picture that was large enough to see how perfect she is. So, you ask, why didn't I just put Facetime on my MacBookPro. That, my dear readers, is another story.

Meanwhile I've been getting daily photos via their smartphones and other gadgets and gizmos. And I've been talking to Myla via Facetime. I talk. She looks at me with her huge, dark eyes and stares intently at my face on the screen.

She seems to sleep a lot. And when she's awake, she doesn't seem to be crying. All good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Just a Heads Up

Not that you visit for no reason, but on the chance you've stopped by and your eyes are bleeding from the changing backgrounds and colors, just bear with me. I'm experimenting. Like people do when they try Nutella on toast for the first time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just One Teeny Degree of Separation

Here's another up close and personal brush I had with someone you may or may not know. The good news -- no lives were lost.

Recently, there was an article in the New York Times about Northwestern University's new head basketball coach, Chris Collins. I graduated from NU. So I was interested. You can read the article HERE: Then come back and read my blatherings below.

I received the NYT link from a fellow Duke alum [I spent my first two college years as a Devil with a Blue Dress].

The article fills in some of the back story on the new coach. "Chris Collins grew up in the Chicago area while his father was coaching the Bulls. After spending 13 years as an assistant at Duke, Collins is now tasked with leading a program that has never reached the N.C.A.A. tournament."

Here's the big reveal: I knew Chris Collins. He was a year behind my younger daughter in high school. She was captain of the girls' team. And an all-conference soccer goalie. The next year, he became captain of the boys' basketball team. Both got best athlete awards at their respective senior awards assemblies.

I photographed both of their high school varsity basketball seasons at Glenbrook North High School in Illinois -- John Hughes alma mater by the way. I never knew him; I only saw him once at the grocery store.

I was taking pictures of my daughter's team because she was my daughter, duh. Just before before her senior year, they'd won the summer league quite handily, which usually meant good things for the upcoming season, especially since they ran the table -- beating everyone in their division. The only problem was that the summer coach would not be their coach for the season. What a travesty that turned out to be. Players actually quit in frustration because she was so lame. I think the team finished under .500.

Before everything went south, I had decided to take pictures, mainly because shooting pix guaranteed me a great seat for the game, smack dab under the home team basket. That also meant I wouldn't have to sit next to any of the other moms, who tended to talk about shopping, what's for dinner, the usual mom blah blah blah.

Serendipitously, during a parents' night at the school, just before the regular season started, I discovered something else -- the boys looked like they also had a good team. The first thing I noticed? They were really fast.

More interesting -- in a 99% white - 1% Asian school, the team had somehow recruited two black players, so they had to be good, right? One was the nephew of B.J. Armstrong, a popular Chicago Bulls player who lived in Northbrook. The story I heard was that his nephew had transferred to GBN because he had been sitting on the bench at his Chicago high school and wouldn't be getting much playing time. So he moved in with his uncle and became an immediate starter at GBN with Chris Collins.

There was also a seven-foot kid no one could defend. He ended up at Pepperdine. His first name was Jay -- and the crowd always chanted GO JA-AY! GO JA-AY! whenever he entered the game, left the game, scored a point, blocked a point, sat down, stood up. Pretty much anything. Despite their potential, Chris' teams didn't make it downstate when he was at GBN, losing some heartbreakers, but the strong program that developed got a major kickstart, thanks in part to Doug Collins' friendship with the coach, Brian James. 

Interesting to note that the boys' coach, Brian James, left GBN to join Doug as an assistant. Now, all these years later, he's been recruited to work with Chris at NU.

At the end of the season, I was at a party Chris' parents threw when he signed his Duke letter of intent. Dennis Rodman was supposed to be there, but didn't make it. He sent a uniform instead. Believe it or not, Rodman was Chris Collins' favorite player, not Jordan.

Before going to Duke, John Scheyer was, like Chris, captain of his Glenbrook North basketball team. Before leading his Duke team to the NCAA Championship as a college senior, Scheyer had led his GBN team to the Illinois State Championship as a high school senior.

Interesting to note, Scheyer's high school coach was David Weber, brother of former U of Illinois coach, Bruce Weber [now at Kansas State]. Bruce's Illini team made it to the finals of the NCAA tournament that same school year -- 2004-2005. Also that same year, a third Weber brother, Ron, coaching at Waupaca high school in Wisconsin, got this close to his state championship, too, but not enough to win. The good news, in 2011 Ron was inducted into the Wisconsin High School Basketball Hall of Fame, after 30 years of coaching.  Wonder what the three Weber brothers talk about at family gatherings? Probably the Packers.

I'm sure the GBN connection helped Chris recruit John Scheyer to Duke. On the other hand, I've read that Scheyer had planned on Duke from the age of two.

I think it's worth noting that Scheyer's GBN team may have been the first and only Illinois State Championship Team that started five Jewish players. That's a great stat.

The article talks about Chris' father coming to every NU game. He came to every high school game Chris played in, too. I know, since I was also there. Moments before they lost a playoff nail-biter at McGaw Hall [NU's basketball stadium, where they also play big high school games], I looked up to where Doug Collins was sitting and saw he had a towel over his head. He couldn't bear to watch the last minute. That was a very tough loss for him. All of us, in fact.

Now, after his apprenticeship at Duke, Chris has his father and his high school coach to help him at NU. He'll need them.

So far, he does a good interview. Not the doofus high school kid I was expecting. Haaa. He's knocked off a couple of ranked teams. Won a tough double overtime. Lost when he shouldn't have. And got creamed by Michigan State. But he's hanging in around .500. For now, he gets the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Degrees of Separation

I have tangential relationships with a few well known people. Some infamous. Some not. This is one of them.

On the night of September 18, 1966, 21-year-old Valerie Percy was brutally murdered in her bed. Her father was Chuck Percy, an energetic, telegenic, millionaire Chicago businessman who had decided to enter politics. 

A recent Cornell graduate, Val was not only smart, but a truly kind, sweet person, and a major player in her father's Illinois senatorial campaign. In retrospect, she was surely destined for great things, much like her twin sister, Sharon, a Stanford grad and longtime women's advocate, who now heads up WETA, the PBS station in Washington, D.C. 

Mother of four, Sharon has enjoyed a long career in public service as well as an equally long marriage to Jay Rockefeller, the former Governor, now Senator, of West Virginia. No doubt Valerie would have followed a similar career path.

Valerie's murder has never been solved. But what would you expect from a tiny police department in posh Kenilworth, a small, super rich Chicago suburb, which until 1966, hadn't had so much as a broken toenail on its books in 75 years? 

In some respects, with the latest theory, I'm reminded of the Martha Moxley murder. She was a neighbor of Ethel Kennedy's brother's family, the Skakels. A couple of decades later, one of the boys, Michael, was finally charged with her murder. [Another tangent -- I've played tennis with Michael's aunt, who is married to a law partner of my ex-husband.]

Over the decades, there have been theories, mostly surrounding a professional burglary ring of career criminals. But, the disturbing pathology of Valerie's murder never fit their modus operandi, as much as the investigators tried. 

So the case remains open. Now a new book has been published, "Sympathy Vote: a Reinvestigation of the Valerie Percy Murder." The good news: the author has an interesting alternate theory that actually makes sense: the murderer was the mentally disturbed and chronically delinquent, scary-as-shit son of another multimillionaire who lived a block and a half away. The bad news: the book is self-published, which immediately makes me wonder why no reputable publisher wanted the story. 

You can get a copy of Sympathy Vote on Amazon. You can also peruse the mostly five-star reviews and read an excerpt to decide whether or not to buy it. I'm not a shill for the author, Glenn Wall. I think the story is very interesting, but it could use some fine-tuning by a good editor or at least a decent proofreader. He calls Valerie's half-siblings her step-siblings, even though they all had the same father. Mistakes like that chip away at the credibility of Wall's reporting.

Where do I fit into all this?

Sharon and Valerie Percy were a year behind me in high school. I knew them well enough to say "hi," but that's about it. Sharon sat in front of me and one row over in typing class, taught by the autocratic Mr. Brown, who made sure typing was the only noise we made. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the Percy girls were -- thoughtful, considerate, always smiling, and it's worth repeating, very sweet. They were two classic, All-American blonds, not only pretty, but extremely intelligent. 

A couple of years after the murder, my then boyfriend, Brian, told me a story, which seems to sum up the stumblebum group that investigated Valerie's death. His family lived a few houses down from the Percy family. Like the Percys, they also lived on a bluff leading down to the beach. 

The day after the murder, the whole length of the bluff was covered with cops on their hands and knees, combing the vegetation, searching for weapons, anything that the killer might have left behind. Remembering that day, Brian laughed and said his brothers followed the process intently. I would also add -- with a great deal of trepidation, even dread. After what he told me, I can imagine them pacing inside their family's large home with its panoramic view of the lake, watching the officers with their noses to the ground, inspecting the yard, especially the bluff that angled downward toward the beach. It's probably not too much of an exaggeration to say that the day seemed never-ending, filled with nail-biting anxiety and plenty of flop sweat during the long hours it took for the cops to carry out their investigation. 

Why so much angst? Because the high bluff on my boyfriend's family property was covered entirely with his brothers' bumper crop of marijuana, which was tall, robust, and ready to harvest.

But the cops never noticed. Nope. The dopes never saw the dope. 

Before her murder, Valerie was dating someone I knew. Tom [not his real name] had spent many Saturdays for the Percy Campaign at Operation Breadbasket [later Operation Push], the neighborhood organization started by a young [26] Jesse Jackson, whose leadership abilities had already been noted by Dr. King. Once, over dinner, Tom described in detail how impressed he was with the extensive scope of Jackson's reading. His library was like a syllabus for an education in the classics. 

Valerie had had dinner with Tom on the night of her murder, along with some others. Back then, I got the impression from Tom that they'd been on a date alone, until I read an excerpt from Sympathy Vote which said otherwise. They had met while working on her father's senatorial campaign. Tom was very smart, a Stanford/Harvard law grad, who has since become a legend in the rarefied world of equity funding. I discovered he also recently sold a home in California for a record $117M.  

In the book Tom says he loved Valerie and claims she loved him. I certainly do believe he loved her. I'm also sure she liked him -- we all did -- but there is no way Valerie would have ever married him. In my opinion, as smart as he was [and still is], he was far too homely for them to hook up permanently. Nor did he have the kind of overwhelming charm and witty personality required to overcome such a lack of good looks. They just didn't match, except that both were very nice people and major brainiacs with a common goal -- the election of her dad. 

I'm sure when Valerie's father's senatorial campaign was over, win or lose, the relationship would have ended, like Tom's string of previously unsuccessful relationships with exceptionally attractive blond women had ended -- as friends. I hear his current wife is much younger and quite gorgeous. Amazing how being a super nice guy, as well as really and truly filthy rich, can make people so much better looking.

A few years after Val's death, Tom was at my apartment for dinner one night and told me how he had been the FBI's prime suspect for six months. That was very surprising to hear. Couldn't they tell the difference between a regular, albeit somewhat nerdy guy and the hateful, psychopathic pervert who had mutilated Valerie's body and killed her? At this point, Tom was already becoming a star in New York's investment banking world and, after that evening, I haven't seen him in decades. 

From what I heard about the brutal carnage wreaked on Valerie's body, only a truly disturbed individual could have killed her. And the new theory about William Thoresen certainly fits that bill.  

I have only read excerpts of Sympathy Vote, but I'm inclined to think the theory is a good one, even though it's now impossible to prosecute. That's because Thoresen, Valerie's alleged murderer, was killed in his sleep by his own wife in 1970, who claimed self defense. She alleged that during their marriage, he confessed to killing several people. I haven't read whether he [or she] named names. She did say he had his own brother killed in 1965. Then he killed the hitman. He had previously beaten his wife and threatened to kill her, too. There's also an unsolved murder of a woman in Chicago, which Thoresen may also be linked to. In the book, his long history of whacked out behavior is chronicled in detail. And let's not forget, he only lived a block and a half away. 

Finally, the week Valerie was murdered was the week before my mother died from cancer. I remember how sad and surprised my mother was when we told her the news.  

Several days after my mom passed away, we met at our small church cemetery to put her ashes in the ground. The beautiful churchyard where she is buried looks more like an English garden in the Cotswolds, with winding paths and stone walls covered with euonymus. As we stood by a small hole, waiting for the minister to bring my mother's urn, an old woman passed by and croaked at us like an old witch, "This isn't Valerie's grave. She's buried up farther." I said, "You're right, this my mother's grave." I wanted to add, "You old crone," but managed to bite my tongue. 

Until then I hadn't realized where Valerie was buried, although I have never bothered to find out exactly where. For years she and my mother were in the same cemetery, until Val's family moved her remains to Washington, D.C. to be closer to them.  

Who knows whether a new investigation would be any better than the incompetent investigation back in 1966. All I know is that someone I knew -- a beautiful, well educated, and gifted young woman, who had everything to live for, was murdered. And her case is still cold.

Appropriately, it's -11 degrees outside today. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Like Herding Cats

The first picture below is a formal photo of the ladies-of-a-certain-age-who-sing-barbershop-in-sequins-and-polyester. That's not our real name, but it'll do. The photo was taken before our concert in October 2012, when I was only 68. I'm smack dab in the middle there. Frankly, as pictures of us go, I think this one is almost suitable for framing. 

But these other pictures [below], taken the day before at dress rehearsal, are the reason I think it's like herding cats to get a picture of us. The sunglasses were part of the show. In fact, they may have contributed to the difficulties. And our outfits were what we wore in the first half of the show. Yep. We do sequins and polyester costume changes. Next stop, Vegas. BTW, I'm not in these pictures, because I took them. Probably just as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014 May Suck as Much as 2013

Several of my friends were lamenting the many indignities they suffered during 2013. I hadn't thought about it much one way or another, which may explain why I got hit upside the head at the end of the year. 

My car's fuel pump died two days before Christmas, in case you're wondering why your gifts were from Walgreen's. After forking out a buttload of dough for a new this and a new that, the check engine light came again four days later. What a bitch.  

Then that other bitch, Mother Nature, decided to pile on by taking a huge chunk out of a water pipe, only moments after New Year's. That was a particularly egregious moment, when I'd gone to such lengths to let my faucets drip, open up all the cabinets, and wrap the toilet tank in a heating pad. However, since a burst pipe five years ago cost me everything in my basement, including the furnace and hot water heater, I knew where the water shut off to the house was and turned it off within minutes. I probably shoulda just turned the water off at night, when the windchill was dipping into negative double digits. But there's something about flushing a toilet that doesn't fill back up.  

On the good side, last week, I discovered Hoosier Mama -- a PIE COMPANY. What's not to love and why didn't I think of it first? And they don't just serve the pies you eat for dessert. They have the pies you can eat for dinner -- Beef Guinness Stout, Curried Vegetable, Pork Apple Sage, and Chicken Pot Pie to name the ones that a bunch of us ordered and shared for a birthday lunch. 

[Above] Pork apple sage pie on the left and the Beef Guinness Stout next to it. Hmmm, these aren't as beautiful to look at as they tasted. But I didn't have a food stylist.  
[Above] The Chicken Pot Pie -- like all of them, full of flavor. 
However, I would like to have more gravy, sauce, anything wet, 
to make eating the crust way more fun. 
This is the curried vegetable pie [above]. Veggies never tasted so good. 
With a great crust I might add. The crusts were all different by the way.
 This was the orange cream pie [above]. There was also a passion 
fruit meringue part of which you can see in the back there.
 This is the pie [above] that shall remain nameless until I take some time to look it up. 
I'd never heard of it before and it tasted just fine, thank you.
The only problem I had with this delicious apple pie [above, with the chocolate cream pie in the background and that pie which continues to be a mystery because I'd never heard of it before] is that they didn't have a slice of cheddar cheese for me to have melted all gooey on top, the way I like to eat my pie and a lot of other things for breakfast. Yes, breakfast.
Here's their cookbook, right out in plain sight, in case you want 
to open up your own Hoosier Mama.

But those pies weren't the best part of our gathering -- nosiree!!! I finally found out what a HOOSIER is, besides all these lame definitions -- all written by men, by the way, who probably had no idea that the women had something else in mind.

Because a HOOSIER, no matter what you've heard, is this thing:

The four cupboards on top are for containers of flour, sugar, and other staples. The metal counter pulls out so you can knead dough. And the large drawer on the bottom right is for keeping bread fresh. 
Here's a close up of the metal counter that pulls out for kneading dough. Or rolling out cookies I would imagine. The Hoosier itself can be wood or metal. This one was painted wood. 

So, to sum up this riveting entry, the last thing that happened in 2013 to me and the first thing that happened in 2014 both sucked. Totally. So, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that 2014 can only get better. 

Meanwhile, nothing like a nice piece of pie to smooth over the rough edges.