Thursday, August 14, 2014

Jesus and Oreos

Jesus and Oreos have gotten me through the last four months. Actually, I didn't come up with that tag line. It was suggested in a comment on a status update that I posted the other night. My daughter thinks that it ought to be the title of the book many hope that I will write. The truth is that I don't think that I can write a book about the last four months because doing so would mean reliving it and that I have no desire to do. It has been far too painful. Don't get me wrong, there have been countless blessings along the way and more to come, I hope.
Our lives took a catastrophic turn four months ago when our son fell/fainted or whatever and hit his driveway head-on. He arrived in the ER with his pupils fixed and dilated and was unresponsive to pain stimuli. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Thus began our journey as a family into unknown territory. Before his accident I, of course, had heard of brain injury  but had no idea of the magnitude nor scope of the rammafications of one. To decompress I began to write each day on Facebook about his accident and the recovery process. The writing became cathartic also and friends began to read the posts and pass them on to others. Wow!
As a result of the posts, I began to hear from people from all over. Friend requests poured in and comments grew in numbers. It is a humbling experience to say the least. I am not a writer, nor did I ever intend to be one. There are lots of posts now and yes, they should be put into some sort of book-like form, but I have no idea about how to do it. One of our son's friends has offered to do it for me and I hope that he will. I think that our son would like to read them one day, because right now he knows how hard he is working to recover, but probably has no idea about the forces behind him that I tried to chronicle in my posts. The posts are also a testament to our faith in God's healing powers, a fact that in today's throw-away society is not popular.
The posts are also about an education process. Who knew that after a TBI the brain can heal and rewire? I didn't. I have also learned about the detours that the brain must use in order to re-route thoughts and communication. I have added new words to my vocabulary. Words like aphasia and neuro receptors did not mean anything to me four months ago, but they do now. I didn't know that 40% of all TBIs are caused by falls. Although I know more now than I did before; there is so much more to learn. I feel compelled to keep reading and researching. Why? That is simple; because I want my boy back. No, he is a man now, but to me he is still the precious baby boy with the serious face and the stubborn attitude. I may never get the exact boy/man back, but I will do whatever it takes to see him through this nightmare however it looks in the end. He is getting better everyday, but we have been told a thousand times to be patient and that it takes time. I am not patient by nature, but I am learning.
Sadly, there is no celebrity spokesman for TBI. No one will be dumping buckets of ice over their heads challenging their friends to do the same or donate $$$ to a charity. There are no fancy balls with silent auctions to raise money for research. There is no door-to-door campaign. No robo calls begging for money. TBI is not glamorous. It is ugly, mean and pervasive. In some cases it it is a life sentence of the worst kind. I do not intend to demean the campaigns for other charities that are doing great thing for people, but only to point out the need for TBI awareness .
Our son is lucky. He has retired parents, a huge friend base,  a dedicated wife and resources that are available to him. Many others do not have any of that. After the hospital, rehab and therapies, and the insurance runs out there is little left for the survivors. I am willing to bet that there are homeless people who are TBI survivors. For many there is no network in place to help them continue their recovery process. Of course, there are agencies, support groups and such but even those are counter-productive to the survivors who are unaware or so lost that they can't assimilate the information.
We are lucky to live in a place that has a cognitive rehab agency. Our son is attending sessions that will help him regain what has been lost or damaged.
I want to help raise money and awareness. The research is ongoing and so important to many silent victims. Right now, our time is devoted to helping our son recover, but there will be a time in the not so distant future that I will, with God's help, spread the word about TBIs.  I have Jesus to guide me and Oreos to sustain me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summertime and the Livin' was So Easy

Labor Day has come and gone, so I guess that means that summer is over? Ever since our kids were little, Labor Day meant that school started and we got into a regular schedule. For us, like many others, that schedule included all the normal stuff, soccer, baseball, basketball, dance classes, piano classes, doctors' and dental appointments and so on. Homework, class projects and teacher conferences added to mix. Somehow we muddled through. Dinner became a supper on the run or a Crockpot meal that could be eaten whenever.  There seemed to be no end to the laundry and the showers ran constantly. How did we juggle it all? Summer always seemed a distant dream back then. Now all the hustle and bustle of the school year is over and everyday can be like a summer day, lazy and one to be savored.

This summer, 2013, we did a little bit of savoring and I am so very thankful that we did. May was a beautiful month in the mountains and we took a short trip to a beautiful, peaceful inn where we met some old friends. We didn't hurry to see any sights: just enjoyed being together. There is nothing like a visit with old friends to refresh and relax.

In June we visited with some new friends as well as family. That journey was more than sixty years in the making and could be a blog post on its own and may very well be so one day. Right now it is sufficient to say that it was an out-of-body experience, especially for my husband. We were humbled and felt love like we had never felt before. That is my story and I am sticking to it, for now.

We then made our journey to "the special place" of all our summers, Charlevoix. The old cottage opened its ancient arms and hugged us tightly. Although everyone couldn't be with us this summer; we did have two grand-darlings to spoil and their parents to help rein our spoiling ways. Writing this down now sounds dull, but it really was exciting and every bit as wonderful as ever. The kids went to "Gang" on the beach where they played and partied like rock stars! It's funny how each generation of"Gangsters" think that they discovered this place. I guess that they do discover it because everything is new and exciting. Golf, tennis, treasure hunts, the troll door in the tree, golf kart rides to see deer and trips to the "Dairy Grille" are all part of the experience. It sounds mundane but believe me it is anything but. To those little ones this place is heaven. Did I mention that bike riding around the park is as great as the Indie 500? I loved every wet-towel, dripping popsicle, chicken nugget, pizza eating, ice cream cone minute of it and sobbed like a baby when we had to leave.

Back at home we found a swamp where our garden had been because it had rained the whole time that we were away. The rain continued, but we found a little joy here and there. We had all the grand-darlings together when the two little ones and their mother came for a visit. This old house rocked and rolled. Each day was an adventure and best of all, there was ice cream everyday. I love summer. We swam when the  sun peaked out its head. We even managed to get G'papa to a movie!

Time passes quickly when one is happy and enjoying life, but when sadness comes the effect is like all the air is sucked out of the universe and time stops. We lost a dear friend this summer. He was an old friend and one of the first people we met when we moved to this place so many years ago. His life was a story that is not mine to tell, but I will say that he loved his wife and family deeply and wholeheartedly. Each time I read a funny joke in my e-mail, I have to remind myself that he is no longer at his computer chuckling along with me. I miss that chuckle! There really is no one like an old friend. There is a shared history between you that is always there. Our history has stopped and it ended this summer.

We got another chance to visit with the far away grand-darlings in August. Their mom had a conference in one town and their dad had a meeting in another town. Papa and Tiki (us) went to the rescue! A trip to an aquarium, a park and more ice cream were the order of the day. Again, we loved every minute of it and boo-hooed when it ended and they waved their little hands as we each went our separate ways; they to the west we to the east. I hate that feeling! There is always a hole in my heart when they leave me. Papa feels it too, but you know how men are. Christmas is a long time away, but there is Thanksgiving to think about.

August brought more joy! We had little one number five for a couple of weekends while her parents had some weekend jaunts. she, the Brazilian tornado, lost her first teeth at our house. We saved the little pearls so that the tooth fairy could go to her house . She is a delight.

Our older grand-darlings are not as present as they once were, but they are teen-agers now and we understand. They were once small and lost teeth, dripped popsicles and played with our hearts. They still play with our hearts but now in a more almost-grown-up sort of way. We savor any time that they are willing to visit with the old folks.

Late August brought another old friend to us. She and I have been best buddies since we were in the seventh grade. We are so different that I wonder how in the world we have managed to keep our friendship alive. She has travelled all over the world and is as smart as a whip. I have been a few places and can multiply a recipe to feed the masses. How can we still love each other and talk for hours on end? We have that shared history that i mentioned before. We remember each other as the awkward teens we once were. We knew the same people and neighborhoods. We miss the ones we have lost as we have grieved together over our fathers and my mother. We compare husbands and discover that, even though they did not have the same careers, they are alike in so many ways. Together we checked our wrinkles and complained about knees that have betrayed us. In between the comparisons we cooked together, shopped together and cried together when she had to leave. There is another hole in my heart today because she is back at home and I miss her!

Okay, I am a cry-baby and proud of it. Some one once told me that an old Jewish saying was that, "Tears are to the soul what soap is to the body". So after a summer of much cleansing, I am moving forward toward fall and winter. We, the hubster and I, are refreshed and renewed, at least I keep telling myself that. The truth is that I still miss some of the hustle and bustle as well as the promise that September brings.

Another good friend pointed out to me that everyday can be like summers past, relaxing, lazy and full of promise. Retirement does have some advantages. That is _my_ story and I am sticking to it!

Monday, January 21, 2013


What is wrong with this picture? It frustrates me to no end that expressing an opinion brings on rants and wrath from others who do not agree! Do we all need to agree all the time? In my opinion, no. If we all agreed, we'd be swimming in a sea of vanilla ice cream. Baskin-Robbins offers thirty-one flavors. We could follow their lead.

My opinion, which I freely admit is an unpopular one, was posted by me on Facebook. Good grief, what a storm it caused. My so-called "friends" cried foul in a big way by posting and chastising me in no uncertain terms. They, of course, have the same rights that I do. Yep, I get that. What is so hilarious to me is that they think that they are more "right" than I. Opinions offer a great option; that is that there is no right nor wrong. Some even called on Christianity to chastise me. Oops, that stung. I'll bet even Jesus had opinions. He was the only perfect human being, in my opinion, so he probably was wiser than I, in my opinion, and kept them to himself. Even in my advanced age, I am not always wise nor quiet.  One friend asked if it made me feel good to offer what she thought was a nasty remark. No, because it was an opinion.

Let's get this straight. I have lots of opinions and I mostly keep them under wraps. That is a surprise to anyone who knows me and thinks that I speak out a lot. What is going on in my head is a lot more than what I'm saying, so in the interest of friendship, I button my lip!  If I said everything that I was thinking, well, never mind.

Today's observations were on Mrs. Obama. First of all, let me say that I admire her in many ways. She is smart, accomplished, loves and supports her husband, is a good mother, and pursues her causes. That is my sincere opinion of her. The other more unpopular opinion is that she needs braces, and her bangs are unattractive. Today she wore a coat that was perfectly tailored to church only to mess up the look by adding a belt later in the day. That is in my opinion! So I didn't like the belted look, shoot me now!

The presidential daughters are nice-looking kids. They seem to be well-behaved and gracious too. However, there have been times over the last four years that I thought (thought being the operative word) that their outfits were more befitting ladies of the evening. Revealing and older-than-they-are outfits are never attractive, in my humble opinion. Reaching back in time I remember a certain daughter who attempted leaving our house in a pair of jeans that Swiss cheese would envy. Certain father ordered her to remove the offensive pants and replace them with a more appropriate pair or she risked having sharing her night with the parental units instead of her friends. She complied and all was well. It was and still is our opinion that kids should dress like kids and not emulate rock stars nor movie stars. Children are children; not small adults.

So in closing , my friends, I do not wish to bring the house down with any of my opinions. They are from a conservative, senior citizen, Christian, who believes in the freedom of speech including humble opinions. If you don't like to see them in print, you will not hurt my feelings if you choose not to read them. In return I ask that you also exercise your freedom of speech by posting your own opinions anywhere you'd like, including Facebook. I can then either read them or not and agree or not. In my humble opinion, this a good thing!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas X three

aChristmas is a vague memory or a blur as I write tonight. This year we celebrated differently. I don't like change. My mother used to say that when things stop changing; we'd be pushing up posies. If that is the case, I'll take change but I don't like it.

Every two years or so, two of our children and their families celebrate Christmas with their spouse's family. Ugh, I really don't like sharing. Did I say that? Really? Well, it is true. Our daughter spent her Christmas day with her husband's family and ended it with a dinner at my sister's house, because our grown-up daughter lives in our hometown. Funny how that worked out and a subject for another blog. She beat a path to our house the day after Christmas with her family in tow and stayed with us until New Year's Day. We loved it! Having her two children here was the star on the tree. The old house rocked and rolled with laughter. We cuddled, or muggled as grand-darling son number two calls it. Grand-darling daughter even distributed a few kisses which is so not like her at all. I think that she might be catching on that we like that a lot! We had tea parties and Barbie-fest and loved every minute of it.

Our son and his wife went to her hometown for the holidays to be with her extended family. No amount of begging on my part would have made them leave our youngest grand-daring with us. Believe me, I considered begging because Brazil is a long way to go for a home town visit at Christmastime, for our youngest grand-darling, our second son and his beautiful wife ( a newly-minted American citizen, I might add). Why would anyone want to spend Christmas on a beach, with fruity cocktails, ornaments hung on palm trees, and non-stop food? Sign me up! Did I just say that? The pictures they've posted of her beautiful family cavorting on the sandy beaches and dancing to a rhythm I have have never heard are a sight to behold. They look happy and well-loved. It makes my old heart glad that there are others who love them as much as we do. They come home tomorrow night and I know they will be glad to be in their own beds again, safe and sound. My daughter-in-law will be homesick for awhile, just as I used to be when I'd come back to this foreign place after a visit home.

Our two other sons were here with us for Christmas. We had a lazier that usual Christmas day. Change isn't all bad. We opened gifts and gorged on brunchy food and then rested. I took a nap! On Christmas day! Alert the media because that might have been a first. I am most often cleaning up the gift wrap and cooking for the big dinner on our special day. Again, change isn't all bad. Is it? Hubby had ordered lobster and steaks for dinner. That man loves to shop online in his jammies! Dinnertime found us with melted butter dripping off our chins as we cracked, pulled and gobbled the tasty lobsters over the kitchen island. Different is good, I say.

We celebrated Christmas three times this year. Opening gifts with the ones who were leaving before the real day, next on the actual day and then the day after because Santa had made a special late night trip to be sure the grand-darlings didn't miss us! A good and grand time was had by all.

Our teen-aged grands were here for ever single celebration. They hung with the best of us and celebrated like rock stars. We baked cookies, shopped and played games before during and after the big day. I love that part. Their gifts were grown-up sort of but Santa remembered to put tooth brushes in their  stockings, just as he always has. We are big on traditions here at the casa. Our oldest, and best hunter, again found the pickle ornament! For his hard work he won  a clear yard-long tube of bubblegum balls. I said that the gifts were grown-up, sort of, didn't I? Remember the toothbrush?

Pulling off three Christmas celebrations is a daunting feat but this year I had a elf. Our first grand-daughter was my co-pilot/elf. She baked and decorated and then baked some more! Her hands, so like her father's, rolled and cut and then meticulously placed the sprinkles and dots on every snowman, star, tree and reindeer. Together we made  trays of treats for the celebrations. I love that tradition.

Again, our precious god-daughter came over for a baking session. I am beginning to channel Martha Stewart. She was fresh from her first real-out-of-grad school job in the big city. She is a beautiful child inside as well as out. Her parents, our friends, have done a remarkable job raising her to be a such a grounded unassuming young woman. She is confident, cosmopolitan and she likes to bake! Her sweet little hands flew over dough as if they had wings and she too decorated each cookie like an artist!

Reading  all this about our random, crazy, tradition-filled holidays might make one wonder why it was written at all. The reason behind it is this; I don't relish change but can, under pressure, be a trooper. When our children were growing-up I believed that every Christmas was the very best. How could it be any other way? My parents had set  the bar very high for celebrations and I wanted to do the same for my own children. I think that we must have done something right when I hear them telling stories of Christmases past. Writing it down, even in this abbreviated form, keeps it fresh in my mind and warms my soul. If I could, I'd do it all over again. Christ himself would agree, I think, that celebrating however many days, times and however far away is a good thing. There I go, channeling Martha again.

Hey, kids, let's do it again soon. You may be miles away in the real world but in my heart you all are still here under our tree in your jammies shouting as your tear open your gifts. The faces of your grand-parents, now all gone, are there too watching over you with love in their eyes.

I miss what once was but continue to embrace what might come next. Change isn't all bad.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Loss and betrayal

It is with extreme regret that I report a death. No, the death isn't someone in my circle of family and friends. It is the death of a long relationship that I used to call a friendship. It is also the death of my own innocence. Isn't that something? Innocence at my age is a joke. By the time one reaches 60; innocence is a forgotten attribute.

Deaths of any kind are mourned as they should be. A loss is a loss no matter what the loss is. Usually I cry over a death and spend a lot of time wondering about deep metaphysical after-life possibilities. Not this time. My anger and hurt aced the crying and musing. This death was different because it ambushed me and left me struggling to breathe. Betrayal will do that to you.

It's hard to even think about, much less write about one's own vulnerability. This blog is cathartic in that it allows a certain amount of baring of my soul and exposing some thoughts that even those who know me well are surprised by.

Betrayal is an ugly word. Some things in life are sacred. Your family especially the children are sacred. Friends can become family. These statements are the truth. I have lived by them. I only wish that everyone would. The ugly truth is that not everyone does.

My once-upon-a-time friend didn't live by those words. She knowingly attacked someone close to me and kept up her barrage of lies and half-truths for over a year. The incident that started the attacks was unfortunate and could have been rectified, but the person in question chose to sink to a level that in my father's words was, "lower than a snake's belly". The lies and all the baggage they carried could have destroyed a very promising career, but instead they provided fuel for his fire. He rose above the lies and prospered. He made me proud. She didn't win that round nor the ones that followed. For that I am eternally thankful.

Me? I didn't fair as well. People lined up to say me, "I told you so." I had always defended her but now it was becoming clear to me that those who had once warned me about her toxic personality were right. I was bruised and hurt. No one had ever done anything like that to me! I have never "lost" a friend. Hell, I still have friends from first grade! There was a hole in my heart where once our friendship lived.

It has been two long years since the friendship ended. I still sometimes miss the friend and hope that she misses me, but we will never be friends again. I can not forgive nor forget the betrayal, nor will  I ever be the vulnerable innocent I once was. I believe that she has deep emotional problems. She has always had "family issues", like being estranged from her mother and siblings. The before me believed her when she told me about the problems with her family and friends. The after me knows firsthand that she was not the wronged one, but the wronger (Is that even a word?). It is her nature and possibly the sickness of her soul that makes her this way. I couldn't fix it nor can anyone. That part of this story is the saddest part.

Who will be the next victim? That is anyone's guess. I am reasonably sure that I nor my family will be next because we are off her radar. She didn't win and I know how much she likes to win. This was just a blip on the screen. We had all loved and embraced her. We, my family and I, had included her in family events and celebrations never one time doubting that she reciprocated our feelings for her. Our innocence is gone. We have recovered, however. We thrive and have vowed to never look back. She was a cancer that has been removed.

Time heals all wounds, or so I've been told. I hope that is true.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rocking the kitchen like Paula!

When Gene and and I got married, I was a sophomore in college. Back then we had Viet Nam looming for him and a less than promising career in theater for me. What was I thinking? I will concede that a background in theater has helped me with my real career as a domestic goddess! More on that in another post.

We set up house-keeping in a small apartment in a suburb with a tiny Barbie-sized kitchen. Now, my mother was a fabulous cook who collected recipes and tried new dishes out on us during my growing-up life. She was always the first person on the doorstep after a death, an illness, or a birth with a pot of soup, a cake or some sort of casserole, because that is what we do in the south. Is there a verse in the bible that covers that sort of kindness and thoughtfulness? If there isn't; there should be one. She tried repeatedly during our almost year-long engagement to teach me to cook even the simplest of dishes. Was I interested? That would be a negative. Who was I kidding? Gene and I picked out beautiful china, crystal and silver. We even got pots, pans and every sort of small appliance for the aforementioned Barbie kitchen. Did I have a clue about what to do with any of that stuff ? If you guessed, yes, you would be wrong. Thank, God, Mother was a phone call away every day at about dinner time. I remember her laughing until she cried about my reading the package of wieners for instructions on how to cook the rubbery tubes! Gene wanted hot dogs for lunch and by golly that's what I cooked. That was only the beginning of my personal cooking journey.

My mother-in-law was a gourmet cook. She followed Julia Child for heaven's sake ! Julia, who? She even grilled me about my culinary skills one night over a gourmet dinner at her house. "Can you cook?", she asked. Squirming in my seat I answered, "No, ma'm." "Well," she said, "If you can read, you can cook." There, just as easy as pie, she drew the line in the sand, or mashed potatoes, as it were. Gene's family had always had a full-time cook named, Katie. She was the sweetest, dearest most lovely person anyone could ever hope to meet. I wish you could have known her. Katie could make biscuits so light that they fluttered to your  plate. Her fried chicken was a legend in its own time. Pies, did you say? Her apple pie would make you want to slap your mother. She and my mother-in-law, hereafter known as "she who must be served' or swmbs, were dynamite together in the kitchen. Meals came out of that place that would make one swoon! See what I had to deal with? Gene, bless his heart, was a trooper. Well, most of the time he was. The rest of the time that first year or so, he was, shall I say, less petulant? Most young women just have their husband's mother to live up to. Me, there were three excellent cooks to aspire to be. What was I to do?

The first real shockeroo was that the news of our rapidly approaching wedding was the cause of conversation at the local newspaper! One morning, rather early, about a month before the wedding, a reporter from the paper called to ask if she could do an article about what I planned to cook for our first meal? What? The reporter explained that there were three couples being interviewed. Okay, so why me? She went on to say that since my intended's mother (swmbs) was known for her culinary skills, the curious minds at the newspaper wanted to know what kind of cook I was. I had recently read (translate-attacked) a book titled, _The New Cook's Cookbook_, so I was ready with an answer. Spaghetti with bolognese sauce, salad, garlic bread and a nice red wine, I replied confidently. Now, all I had to do was produce the meal because, after all, it was in the newspaper for God's sake.

The wedding and the honeymoon behind us, Gene and I tackled the grocery store for our first "stock the larder" trip hauling what, at the time, seemed like a hundred bags of food up the two flights of stairs to the tiny kitchen. Now, all I had to do was figure out how to cook. Gene went off to work on Monday morning and I set about doing the things all young brides did in the early seventies, turned on the TV for a little soap opera watching while I got everything out to begin the sauce. The darn stuff had to simmer all day. Following the recipe to the letter was not hard, but when the recipe directed me to "taste to adjust the seasoning", I was answering the phone at the same time. A magazine salesman was pounding my ear about buying his wares when I dumped instead of dashed the red pepper. OHOH! I was an early failure at muti-tasking. Lesson learned: Don't try to adjust while talking.

Gene arrived home and I greeted him at the door with my very best Harriet Nelson smile and led him to our table for the promised meal. Let me pause right here and say that calling the moving boxes a table was stretching the truth. I had set the "table" with our fine china and silver. We even pulled out wine glasses from a box, despite the fact that neither one of us drank red wine, unless Cold Duck was considered red wine then. Well anyway, I served up my first culinary masterpiece and to my horror, Gene turned red and gasped after taking a bite! The lovely sauce was was as hot as a firecracker! I spilled out my sad story and he was very understanding. All was not lost, however, the bread and salad were really good.

After that first disaster, I decided that swmbs. Katie,  as well as my own mother were not going to get the best of me. I begin to read cookbooks as if they were novels and bought  magazines in the checkout line at the grocery store. Even my conversations with my friends turned to food. We begin to share and exchange recipes too.What was happening to me? The answer is very simple. I became a cook, not because I had to, but because I wanted to do so. You see, this is the south. We cook to show love and to be loved. We want to please that special someone and be appreciated in return. No one leaves a southern cook's house without being offered food and drink. Even ice water served in a crystal goblet becomes a treat. All this I learned at the feet of the master, my mother.

Earlier in this post I said that I refrained from letting my mother teach me the fine art of cooking, but that's not entirely true. I did learn from her but it was more by example than hands-on. Mother played an extremely important role in my culinary journey for it was to her I turned to ask questions when my reading skills failed me. For instance, when a recipe called for an egg, I called my mom and asked if that meant the yellow and the white. She said yes, everything but the shell. How did she keep from laughing? Until the day she died, Mother was always ready to answer my questions about cooking. The more I cooked the more I found that I really liked it as well as my mother did.

I have cooked in sub-standard kitchens for most of my married life. Five years ago we decided to do a major overhaul of our house and finally add a new kitchen. For the first time in our forty-one years of wedded bliss, Gene, the kids and grand-darlings are getting meals turned out in a beautiful, functional and well-designed space. I love it and find that I am the happiest in my new kitchen and dinning space. It isn't really fancy and the meals aren't either, but they are prepared and offered with love. Some of my mother's cookbooks came to live in the new bookcases and they live alongside those I've collected since the beginning of my cooking journey. My sister and I divided those cookbooks up after Mother's death. She and I cried at the smudges and spatters and lovingly touched the notes written beside some of the recipes. I still choke-up when I cook "Brunswick Stew" because Mom had written, "Tom's favorite", in the margin. Tom was her husband, and our beloved, "Daddy".

Cooking has taught me a lot about being a wife, a mother and a person. My mother, my mother-in-law and Katie helped me in my journey to Flavortown (a shout out to Guy)but what I learned all by myself is that you don't need, although it' s nice, a fancy or not so fancy new kitchen or top of the line pots and pans to create a yummy meal for family and friends. She-who-must-be-served was right when she said that all you really needed to do to be able to cook was read. I am still reading, learning and loving everyday as I prepare food. My mother would be happy and, although she never saw the new space; I think she would approve.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Okay, my birthday week/month is officially over. I can now put to rest the joy and horror of turning sixty years old. How can that be? Sixty? I remember when my grandmother turned sixty. She went from being fairly fashionable to wearing ankle socks with her wedge sandals. Don't expect that from me any time soon.

If I were to put together a time capsule; what would it look like? I believe that I'd put the load of cards wishing me a great day and poking a little fun at me too. Maybe I'd even include pictures of the trip to New York that my daughter and I took just last week. The delight in our faces of being together is very telling. Years from now, I hope, we will look at them and remember us, not so much the place.

Now, back to those shoes. I love shoes and handbags. The New York city trip was a feast of both. I watched as very sophisticated girls and women hobbled along with boots and high heels on that made me wince just to see them. If anyone wants to know what I think will be the best career in the future; I'll tell them that podiatry is looking very promising. How can they wear those vehicles of pain? Handbags don't pose the same threat. I think that I'll stick to those. Shoes? I have more than enough to ride out the next trend.

I have several very style-concerned friends. Me? I think that I must be style-challenged. At my now ripe old age, I tend to go for comfort and color.I love to wear colorful clothes. Scarves are a way to add a "pop" of color the magazines tell us.  My friends can wear their scarves in any number of trendy ways. I look like I have a goiter growing fangs! Getting the knack of tying those things is beyond me, I guess. I'll have to be content to fold and re-fold those beautiful sheets of silk and wool while imagining them chicly knotted around my ever-widening neck. Of course, having a couple of chins on top of them is not too pretty either. Oh well, maybe before the end of this trend, I'll figure it out. Maybe they should go into the aforementioned time capsule.

At any rate, the week/month celebration has left me contemplative. Being sixty has not provided me with any new insight. I don't feel any older. Isn't age just a number after all?   I say that and feel quite smug when I do. However, I pick up a magazine or watch TV (when I can figure out how to operate the damn thing) and see the younger version of me and my friends and think, maybe my grandmother was on to something.Screw the style, my feet are happy and so am I.