On My Mind: October 2020

How did we get to October 2020? Months flow together when you live in a state with no transitional seasons and virus-imposed isolation. It feels like we’re all just in it and there’s no way out.

A Toxic Wasteland and the Real World

Vote, On My Mind, October 2020, Susanne SkinnerConstantly streaming news is a harsh reminder of reality; a toxic wasteland of raised voices and political smackdowns.

I unfriended and un-followed a lot of people (sorry, not sorry) and found a welcome reprieve in light-hearted postings about gardens, grandkids and foodie adventures. I’m looking at you Debbie O’Brien! #empanadas

But the real world is still here. We’re smart people. We’re using logic and fact checking before we believe.

I’ve got a lot on my mind this October, 2020, and it’s hard to look away.

But…Sometimes You Have to Look Away

The first of the presidential debates (or lack of one) was a debacle. I looked up the definition—it means a sudden and ignominious failure, a fiasco. I could see the train wreck coming and bailed after 15 minutes. Nothing to see here.

I find no value in continuing them. Political alliances and personal opinions remain unchanged. Your voice is your vote on November 3rd.

The Great Mask Debate

A virus doesn’t see your political stripes. Immediately following the debate, the President, First Lady and 35 colleagues tested positive for Covid 19. Why? No masks, and no social distancing. It’s science; and it really is that simple. Dismiss it. Deny it.  Contract it.

Every country in the world has managed this pandemic better than the United States.  Some of you disagree, so let me ask if any of you had polio?  Neither have I.  Science.

Masks work when everyone wears one. It says a lot about the person who wears it, and the person who doesn’t.

The Notorious RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Notorious RBG, Supreme Court, JusticeWomen everywhere lost a crusader. The passing of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg breaks my heart. Every professional door I’ve walked through was opened by RBG. Young women just beginning careers have her to thank and the obligation to pay it forward.

I am forever grateful to Judge Ginsburg and implore those who succeed her to keep those doors open.

In the Kitchen with Suze

In Mexico, death is not the end, it’s just a new beginning. Día de los Muertos is more of a cultural holiday (October 31st – November 2nd) than a religious one. One of the ways we celebrate and honor our loved ones is through food.

I’m commemorating the occasion with some deliciousness from The Mexican Kitchen.  The Day of the Dead is a celebration that pulls out all the stops, and I’m sharing a few favorites.

Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, In the Kitchen with SuzeEat dessert first. This year I am trying out my new day of the dead cookie stamps with a no-spread sugar cookie recipe. This can easily be cut in half and freezes well. One blogger suggested imprinting the cookie right after if comes out of the oven. Baking experiment—stay tuned.

Bread bakers, this pan de muerto is an easy and happy dough. It’s a sweet bread, and my addition of cinnamon makes it even sweeter. Tradition says you make two loaves, one for you to enjoy, and one left out for the enjoyment of visiting souls.

Watch ~ Read ~ Listen: October 2020


Watch Read Listen, October 2020, On My Mind, Susanne SkinnerTelevision is the great escape and Netflix offers a diversion for what is missing from TV.  I’m a fan, but reluctant to watch any show with the words Season 1. That’s a time commitment; with a strong likelihood of no Season 2 follow through.

Away (Season 1) is a story about the first manned mission to Mars. I’m a sucker for space movies and they had me at Hillary Swank. But this one’s a mixed bag. Swank carries the show, but NASA is portrayed like a casting call for extras. The show has its moments, including an age-old plot twist. Swank is the bad-ass astronaut who leaves behind her husband and teenaged daughter to lead the three-year mission. Spoiler alert—the husband has a stroke just before liftoff.

CNN’s docuseries First Ladies profiles Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Each challenged the perceptions of who and what a First Lady is, re-imagining the role. CNN does a good job of looking behind the curtain. It’s the hardest job you’ll never have.


I love a good mystery, and authors that pull me in and keep me guessing are rare. I discovered The Caretakers by Eliza Maxwell on the new books shelf at the library.

It’s a slow-start book due to multiple sub-plots, but the author connects the dots with an interesting story. The main character is Tessa, a documentary film producer whose research helped free an innocent man 17 years into his prison sentence. Her film claims Oliver served time for a murder he didn’t commit. Unless, maybe, he did. Their stories intertwine and unravel in a compelling mix of past and present. A worthy mystery.


On a recent visit with my Dad, I set up a portable CD player for him enjoy his collection of CDs. Among familiar classical composers and show tunes I discovered Begin Sweet World. Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman’s unique adaptation of new and familiar songs is beautiful music.

Stoltzman is classically trained, but steps into the field of jazz with perfect tone and technique. His version of Amazing Grace  is a lovely way to end the day

Your Vote is Your Future

Vote 2020, October 2020, election,Casting your vote is not a declaration of undying love to your candidate of choice. It is a commitment to the future you (and your children and grandchildren) will live in. The outcome is bigger and broader than November 3rd.

This link is a great one stop resource for voting questions. Some of the rules might surprise you. Be an informed voter and remember, not voting is casting a vote for someone else. #fact

The future of America rests with all of us.

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