At Carnegie Hall, gospel singer Wintley Phipps delivered perhaps the most powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace" ever recorded. He said, "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody coming from the bowels of his ship because it sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant and although it is not technically a spiritual, it has such a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it; we feel it! It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history."
After sharing the noteworthy history of the song, Mr. Phipps delivered a stirring performance that brought the audience to its feet!
My brother Bode loved science fiction and Phillip K. Dick was one of his favorite authors. Knowing that Gerald also like science fiction, Bode asked if Gerald liked Phillip K. Dick's books. I said, "Oh, yes, he has 2 Dicks." Without batting an eye Bode said, "I thought Gerald was good but now I know he's outstanding!"
This song and its title was an answer to a Final Jeopardy and only one person got it right. Question (paraphrased): "What 1980's song do history teachers praise for its educational value"? I never could understand all the references on Billy Joel's song; fortunately, with this video, given the picture(s), now can "see" what our "ears" couldn't. Anyway, I checked to see the purpose behind the song. Apparently, it's Joel's homage to the 40-years of historical headlines since his birth (1949). I wish we could have appreciated the depths of this song when it was released. Twenty years later, it's amazing what Joel was able to put into music and lyrics lasting only a few minutes.
Whether you are a Billy Joel fan or not, you probably remember his great song, "We Didn't Start the Fire". Here it is, set to pictures. It's an interesting flashback through the past half century. I never did know all the words. Turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy a review of 50 years of history in less than 3 minutes! Thanks to Billy Joel and some guy from the University of Chicago with a lot of spare time and Google.
The top left gives you full screen; the top right lets you pause. The bottom left shows the year. The older you are, the more pictures you will recognize. Anyone over age 65 should remember more than 90% of what they see. But it's great at any age.
I first heard the word "BLOVIATOR" years ago from that Ragin' Cajun James Carville. I had to look it up:
"BLOVIATE: verb, int.: to discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner, making outlandish, strident statements thinking that the average person would care about the statements."
Recently I have come in daily contact with an 88-year old BLOVIATOR!
As he's a retired military man, I was ready for "war stories"! I thanked him for his service to his country and was genuinely interested to hear about his World War II experiences. He told me that his father had been in World War I and as an aside, I told him that World War I was not called that until World War II happened, but it was always called "The Great War"; he disputed that and said that everybody called it World War I.
It was THEN that I should have known not to believe anything he said. The BLOVIATOR told me a great number of "war stories" to which I suspended disbelief. However, some were so egregious that I had to make corrections to which he said, "Even though you know some history, I was there so I think I know better than you." I said, "Oh, those pesky history books I've read!" I think he missed the sarcasm. He said he retired when Eisenhower became President; as there was no war, there were too many officers and he had no chance for advancement.
Of course I didn't believe him.
The BLOVIATOR told me about his trip to England and I was truly interested and asked him if he had gone to the Lake District and he said that they had. I asked which poets' homes, etc. that they had visited and he said they went to Longfellow's grave. I asked, "You do know that Longfellow was an American poet, don't you?" He calmly said, "Yes, but they have a place for him there."
Of course I didn't believe him, but since he was so self-assured, I looked up about Longfellow's resting place in Cambridge--MASSACHUSETTS--not Cambridge, England!
Yesterday the BLOVIATOR told me about his good friend who was an "Appellate Judge" in Northern Ohio. He told me about the Judge's four children who are remarkably accomplished people. For instance, he said that the Judge's oldest son was an MD at the age of 16. I said, "Like Doogie Houser!" The BLOVIATOR did not know the reference to Doogie Houser. The BLOVIATOR continued by saying that the 16-year old doctor was on the FIRST heart transplant team. I asked, "You mean he went to South Africa?" The BLOVIATOR asked, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, Christiaan Barnard was the first heart transplant surgeon." He answered, "No, he was on the one in America." I said, "Wow, you mean he worked with Dr. Shumway?" He said that he did.
Of course I didn't believe him. I knew that the first heart transplants had happened in the late 1960's and if the Judge's kid were 16 then, he would now be around 60 years of age. I asked, "So, he's around 60 now?" He said, "No, he's not that old."
Of course the Judge's son wasn't on the first heart transplant team!
My wise sister-in-law told me to just let him have his fantasies; let him go on with his tales, let him bask in his glory, just nod and occasionally say "Hmmm"!
In the movie "The Manchurian Candidate" the character played by Laurence Harvey said to his bride: "There are two kinds of people in the world--those who turn on a TV when they come into a room--and those who don't."
Because of that Les and I have had a continuing dialogue which we call "There are two kinds of people in the world.....".
Today I saw a car with the license plate FROG L8E. I assume the "L8E" meant something but I didn't "GET" it! Beside the license plate was a sticker which read: "Frog parking only; all others will be TOAD!" I chuckled at that but still wondered why the owner would have the "L8E" which was not understandable--at least to me!
When I told Les, he said, "There are two kinds of people in the world--those who have vanity plates and those who don't." I said, "I don't understand people getting vanity plates and especially having stuff that's not easily understood!"
Les said, "There are two kinds of people in the world: people who put bumper stickers on their cars which people will not GET!" I asked, "Like what?" He continued, "You know, like 26+6=1." Touche! I had that bumper sticker on my car which of course most people did not "GET"! He said, "What's the purpose of having something on there which 99.9% of people won't understand?" I answered, "It made me feel good." He said, "Maybe the Frog guy feels good!"
I always made fun of people who had a bumper sticker "I'd rather be driving my Corvette" on their car. I told Gerald I wanted a bumper sticker for my Corvette which would read: "I'd rather be driving my Maserati." It would be a cardinal sin to put a bumper sticker on a Corvette!
The Grand Opening of Ohio's FIRST campaign headquarters for ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA for the CAMPAIGN TO RE-ELECT BARACK OBAMA was held November 15, 2011, in Chillicothe, Ohio. WHY, you may ask, was Chillicothe chosen instead of a large city?
Greg Schultz, Ohio Director of ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA, was the featured speaker at the Grand Opening and he explained that Chillicothe was chosen because it was the first capitol of Ohio and the Obama campaign wanted to stress the importance of southern Ohio in the election as it had in 2008. Greg pointed toward me and said that I'd just told him that on election night in 2008 that I screamed in my friend's ear: "Nine votes per precinct, nine votes per precinct!"
In 2004, although John Kerry carried the major cities, he lost the state because he did not carry southern Ohio. In 2008, the Obama campaign told its followers that if Kerry had had just nine votes per precint MORE in southern Ohio, he would have won Ohio and, of course, the election! Florida would not have mattered! The Obama campaign placed representatives in crucial areas of southern Ohio. Throughout the campaign, "NINE VOTES PER PRECINCT" was our mantra!
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year.
It was a cold, blustery day but our intrepid band of volunteers sat adjacent to the Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Washington Court House collecting signatures for the Referendum To Repeal HB 319.
Sherrod Brown's robo-calls worked. Nearly everyone who came to sign the petition had received a call from Senator Brown to tell them that we would be located there to have the petitions to sign.
Dorothy, Michael, Marie, Dan, Gail and Sharon and I manned the table in shifts and despite gusts of wind blowing away our flyers, we prevailed and collected enough signatures to guarantee our committed 3%. Just as with SB5 we need to collect more than the required amount of signatures because we need to send a message to Kasich and the legislators, plus we also know that the Secretary of State and his minions will be doing everything they can to reject signatures. When we collect enough signatures we can hold the politicians accountable who concocted this ridiculous bill.
In a craven political move to deny Ohioans fair representation in Congress, the Ohio House passed Bill 319. It is unfair that they drew a map which does not reflect Ohio. A full 3/4 of the districts drawn are for one party. The map slices and dices Ohio communities into separate districts, essentially taking away our voice in Congress. How does it make any sense that Fayette County would be in the same district as part of metropolitan Dayton? They drew lopsided districts that would guarantee that they remain in power. The House districts are so gerrymandered that voters wouldn't be able to kick them out of office.
The deadline for the petitions is December 23, 2011. Please call, e-mail or Facebook message me to arrange a time to sign.
A friend who is a fellow movie lover said she'd never heard the phrase "meet-cute" which I referenced in one of my postings.
"Meet-cute" is a reference to the usually zany, amusing, unlikely ways that a future romantic couple first meet in romantic comedies. We know from the adorable pairing that they are destined to fall in love. The heyday of "Meet-Cute" scenarios was in the 1930's screwball comedies.
My favorite "Meet-Cute" is the one I mentioned in the article: in "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife", Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper met in a department store and they were at the pajama counter but the store sold only packages of pajamas with the tops and bottoms together. Colbert's character wanted only the pajama TOP and Cooper's character wanted only the pajama BOTTOM! Ernst Lubitsch, the director of the movie is credited with coining the phrase "meet-cute". To be a successful "meet-cute" the male character must be a certain adorable type and the female character must be a strong heroine.
Some of my other favorites:
"It Happened one Night": Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable meet while arguing over the last seat on a bus and she falls asleep with her head on his shoulder.
"Bringing Up Baby": Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn meet when she mistakes his golf ball for her own.
"The Lady Eve": Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda meet when she deliberately sticks out her foot to trip him and then chastises him for breaking the heel from her shoe!
"Mr. Deeds Goes To Town": Jean Arthur meets Gary Cooper when she pretends to faint outside his mansion.
"Singin' In The Rain": Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds meet when he is running away from fans and he jumps over the tops of cars, trolleys, and taxis and lands in her convertible.
"101 Dalmatians": the dog Pongo causes his owner and Perdita's owner to meet by tangling up the leashes and propelling them into a pond.
Some more recent movies have also had some "Meet-Cutes":
"Serendipity": John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale meet when they both try to grab a pair of cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale's.
"The Wedding Planner": Matthew McConnaghey meets Jennifer Lopez when he saves her life by rescuing her from a runaway dumpster.
"The Holiday": Ironically, the Eli Wallach character, a screenwriter, mentions the pajama top/bottom scene but Kate Winslet and Jack Black's characters meet because of trading the London home for the Los Angeles home of Cameron Diaz.
I've written before that in my family, old cliches are frowned upon, thus we have as our family motto, "Where there's a will, there's a relative." "Absence makes the heart ponder.", "Cold hands, warm liver.", "That isn't half-bad, more like 3/4!", are among other cherished NON-CLICHES!
Yesterday, I accompanied a couple in their car to the doctor's office and the doctor ordered the wife taken to the hospital for evaluation. When the wife was admitted, the husband naturally wanted to stay with her. So there I was, stuck without a car; I thought of calling a cab but I'd left my purse in my car. I was denigrating myself for my lack of planning. I called Gerald to come to rescue me but he didn't have his cell phone with him! I called my friend Gail and she came quickly and took me to get my car.
As I was alighting from her vehicle I said, "A friend in need is a pest!"
This simple test indicates that the majority of Americans are ill-informed or just don't know what's going on around them. It's no wonder our politicians can take such advantage. This is an interesting and simple test. It's astonishing that so many people get less than half right. These results say that 80% of the (voting) public do not have a clue and that's pretty scary. There are no tricks here; just a simple test to see if you are current on your information.
Test your knowledge with 11 questions, and then be ready to shudder when you see how others did.
Click here: Test Your News IQ - Pew Research Center
Read each question first, don't scroll down to see the answers until later.
1. Why are 2010 dollar bills worth more than 2009 dollar bills?
2. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child's name?
3. There is a clerk at the butcher shop; he is five feet ten inches tall and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?
4. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
5. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?
6. What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly?
7. Billy was born on December 28th, yet his birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?
8. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?
9. What was the President's name in 1975?
10. If you were running a race, and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?
11. Which is correct to say: "The yolk of the egg are white?" or "The yolk of the egg is white?"
12. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?
ANSWERS: 1. It's a dollar more. 2. Johnny, of course. 3. Meat 4. Mt. Everest, it just wasn't discovered yet. 5. There is no dirt in a hole. 6. Incorrectly 7. Billy lives in the Southern Hemisphere. 8. You can't take pictures with a wooden leg, you need a camera to take pictures. 9. Barack Obama, same as it is now. 10. You would be in 2nd. You passed the person in 2nd place, not 1st. 11. Neither, the yolk of an egg is yellow. 12. One, if he combines all his haystacks, they all become one big stack.
My friend Arminta treated me to a marvelous evening of hearing the 2011 Ohio University's Marching Band perform at the beautiful, historic Ohio Theater. The program selections ranged from their renditions of the music of Lady Gaga to Antonin Dvorak's Symphony Number 9 ("From The New World") and with their rousing signature "Party Rock Anthem" (see my blog article from October 15, 2011). One of my favorites the band played was "Play That Funky Music". [Although the clip I have is from 2008, it represents the music and the theater!] My friend Becky, an OU alumna, warned me to wear ear plugs.
We arrived early for the concert but there was already a large crowd outside waiting for the doors to open. After we chose our seats, a group of young people came and sat in front of us. I was sitting forward in my seat and I had my foot on the frame of the seat in front of me. The person in front reached down and accidentally grabbed my foot. I let out a yelp and the boy apologized. [I immediately thought of some "meet-cutes" from movies such as Claudette Colbert looking for pajama tops while Gary Cooper looked for pajama bottoms.] I told him that he was playing footsie and I said it reminded me of my BLOG article about the kid who sucked my toes ("Barefootin'" from May 10, 2011). Thus began our engaging conversation with the retinue of 110 aficionados! We learned that they were band members from Johnstown High School: Hannah, Tyler, Keirsten, and Ashley were seated with Hannah's mother. Later, Jake, another friend of the group, came to chat with the group but they did not have a vacant seat; Hannah told him to sit beside us because we were "fun". Jake started telling about another friend and he said "Her and me" and of course I had to tell him "She and I." Hannah and Tyler play trumpet and Kiersten clarinet.
Arminta and I were screaming along with the kids. I was coughing because of the screaming hurting my throat and Jake practically lost his voice! When the youngsters started a swaying motion and some "hand jive", I joined in and they turned and said that I was cool. There I was, living vicariously, feeling like a joyous kid again! Hannah's mother told us that their band director is an alumni of OU and Arminta told them that our director is also. Hannah's mother said that theirs was the cutest band director in the state. We agreed!
Realizing that band members are not likely to be considered the "cool" kids at school, it was pleasing to see their unabashed enthusiasm for their obvious passion. All of them want to attend OU because they want to be members of the 110.
Tonight I was thinking of the song "Kids" from "Bye, Bye Birdie," which asks the age-old question: "Kids, what's the matter with kids today?"
My answer is the same as the last line of that song "NOTHING'S the matter with kids today!"
During the last day of the Campaign To Defeat Issue 2, I was volunteering at our local We Are Ohio Headquarters. I called a woman who excitedly told me that she'd received a call from a "VIP". When I asked which VIP she answered, "Pat Boone." I could not help myself and I broke out in laughter.
The woman was offended. She asked, "So you don't think he's a VIP?" I answered, "No, he's not even a good singer!"
She asked, "Why should I believe you more than Pat Boone?"
I answered, "Number One, I'm an Ohioan; Number Two, I'm a volunteer and Number Three, he's being paid to tell lies and I have the facts on my side."
She and I continued talking (I could see her age on my printout and it was within two years of my age) and she wondered why she'd been called by Boone and I said, "You probably fit the demographic they targeted." She asked what that meant and I told her that they wanted to target people of the age group who would know who Pat Boone was. It's difficult to believe that someone of my age would be star-struck by PAT BOONE!
I asked, "If someone like Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan called you would you have been influenced?" She said that she didn't like either of them. She asked if I would be influenced by them and I said, "Of course NOT but I bet they would be on our side!"
Here's an idea so you're not in the dark. It's such a cheap and simple idea. It would be good for camping too. It's a good thing to keep on hand in case of an emergency.
Solar lights can be bought for very few dollars.
Last week, a thunderstorm rolled through our neighborhood and a huge oak tree came down on some power lines, creating a power outage for a large area around us. We lost power for about five hours.
We were scrambling around in the darkness, looking for matches, candles, flashlights, etc.
We looked outside, and noticed our solar lights shining brightly all around our patio, stairs, dock, etc. They were beautiful. We walked outside, and brought several of the solar lights inside.
We stuck the solar light pipes into plastic drink bottles and they made the nicest, brightest, safest, lighting you could ever imagine.
We put one each in the bathroom, kitchen, and living room. There was plenty of light.
There are all types of solar lights available. We bought ours at Harbor Freight. We put them all around our yard. They look nice and they do not attract flying bugs like the outdoor lights around our doorway.
The lights we have fit into the small (20 ounce) water bottles and they also fit into most of the larger liter bottles. If you need a weight in the plastic bottle to keep them from tipping over, you can put a few of the pretty, colorful "flat marbles" which are used in aquariums and vase sand, aquarium gravel, etc., or whatever you have available can also be used.
The lights we have were perfect inside our home. They burn all night long if needed.
The next day, just take the solar lights back outside and they will instantly recharge and be ready to use again any time they're needed.
I was in Kroger parking lot and there was a cart standing in the parking lot and I noticed that it had two 24-packs of Pepsi Cola on the bottom. I knew that Pepsi was on sale at 2 packs for $11.00. I took the cart inside to the Customer Service area to tell that a customer had obviously forgotten to put them in a vehicle. The Customer Service Representative put them behind the desk and while I was still at the desk, within moments a woman ran in and breathlessly asked if anyone had turned in two cartons of Pepsi. The Customer Service Representative pointed to me. The woman thanked me profusely and said what a wonderful person I am!
When I went home and told the story, Les said, "If it had been Coke you might have had a moral dilemma!"
A small group (Elizabeth, Kris, Dan, Jack and I) were sitting around talking and the topic of difficult school subjects was mentioned and Dan immediately began telling about when he was in a Geometry class and he couldn't understand it. He ended his monologue by saying. "It was all Greek to me!"
In unison, Jack, Kris and I exclaimed, "That's because it WAS Greek!", as we erupted into laughter. Dan asked what was so funny. Jack said, "It was a Greek who created Geometry: Pythagoras." I said, "No, it was Euclid; that's why it's Euclidian Geometry."
Jack said, "I think, therefore I am." Kris said, "That's not Greek, it's Latin!" and then said, "Cogito ergo sum."
I said, "That was Rene Descartes; that's the Latin translation but it was originally in French: "Je pense donc je suis."
We wanted to have a place to have our "Victory Party For The Defeat Of Issue 2." One of our volunteers agreed to be the organizer for the event and to search for an appropriate venue with a reasonable cost. After investigating several places he arranged to rent the Conference Room at the Holiday Inn Express. My friend Dorothy and I had agreed to pay 1/3 each and the other volunteer would pay 1/3 of the cost.
I was at the Headquarters and I gave my share to the organizer and he asked, "When will the other elderly lady give me her share?" Although he did not emphasize the word "elderly", there were several people present and all noticed the use of the word "other" and looked toward me for my reaction.
I screamed, "ELDERLY! You think I'm elderly?"
The guy has no sense of opprobrium but instead said, "Well, anybody your age is considered elderly!"
I said, "First of all, you don't know my age and second, I can still work rings around you!" He nodded in agreement and answered, "But I'm on disability." I said, "I could have ALWAYS worked rings around you even when you weren't on disability!"
I immediately went into my best "Maude Frickert" imitation and began hobbling around, bent over, grabbed a chair, folded it and began using it like a cane!
He said, "OK, I'm sorry, I didn't mean nothin' by it." I said, "Too little, too late."
I went to my computer and looked up "elderly".
OMG, I'M ELDERLY; I never knew I was elderly before November 7, 2011!
Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel who served the United States in all wars, particularly living veterans. It is marked by parades and church services and in many places the American flag is hung at half-staff. A period of silence lasting two minutes may be held at 11am. Some schools are closed on Veterans Day, while others do not close, but choose to mark the occasion with special assemblies or other activities.
Veterans Day is officially observed on November 11. However, if it falls on a week day, many communities hold their celebrations on the weekend closest to this date. This is supposedly to enable more people to attend and participate in the events. Federal Government offices are closed on November 11. If Veterans Day falls on a Saturday, they are closed on Friday November 10. If Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, they are closed on Monday November 12. State and local governments, schools and non-governmental businesses are not required to close and may decide to remain open or closed. Public transit systems may follow a regular or holiday schedule.
TO ALL VETERANS - WE SALUTE YOU AND ESPECIALLY TO MY BROTHERS BODE, KENNY, NEIL, NORMAN, ROGER, AND LES, and to my HUSBAND.
Please go to the polls and VOTE! Your vote counts! It is more important than ever to let your voice be heard at the ballot box.
The polls will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm today. If you need to verify your polling place, call your local Board of Elections. If you need to car pool to get there, call your friends or neighbors. Just be sure to exercise one of the important freedoms that this country affords us - THE RIGHT TO VOTE!
Once, during our annual "State Of The Company" event, it was during a recession and we were all worried about losing our jobs; we used the euphemism "laid-off" because we knew, as management, that it actually meant termination.
During the "social hour" my friend John and I were standing together and we were watching a colleague (nicknamed "Flitter") who was "working the room"--flitting from VIP to VIP--she was very attractive and the kind of woman who used her "charm" for advancement but it also caused other women to have a difficult time being considered to be professional.
As "Flitter" approached our area, John asked, "You think if I went over and offered Kevin a BJ I'd keep my job?" The same moment "Flitter" whisked by, totally ignoring our presence, and because of John's remark, I did a spit-take, and my mouthful of Coke and saliva landed on Flitter's padded shoulder! She was so self-involved with her mission that she didn't notice. John said, "Come on, let's follow her and have bets how long it takes for somebody to notice that glob on her!"
There she was, with the General Manager, all dimples and smiles, and John went over and said, "Hey, excuse me, do you know you got some gunk on your shoulder!" She let out a yelp and rushed to the restroom!
It didn't deter her as we noticed that the "charm offensive" by "Flitter" soon continued.
John was "laid-off" in February, I was gone in April and "Flitter" was gone in June! John and I met to have lunch and he said, "Four months of work isn't worth all that sucking up!" I laughed and said, "I thought of "Charlotte's Web" where the goose told Wilbur "An hour of freedom is worth a barrel of slops!" When the economy recovered, "Flitter" and John were called back to work within the year. When I was called for an interview to return I was already working at what was the best job of my entire life and I did not return until six years later when we had completed that Contract.
When I saw "Flitter" she welcomed me as if we were the best of friends. I experienced a bit of schadenfreude as "Flitter" had gained a considerable amount of weight in the six years and I was the slimmest of my adult life!
My assignment was in the Department that was considered the "armpit" of the Company where Union radicalism was rampant! After I was hired my friend John told me the following story: the Department Manager did not know me and he called my former boss to ask him about me and he said that he "didn't want to hire another woman because they'd assigned "Flitter" there and she'd run out of the department crying!" John said he told him, "YOU will run out of the Department crying before Sue does!"
As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
Last evening I attended a meeting in Chillicothe to discuss an upcoming town hall meeting. In the discussion it was determined that there were key individuals from different kinds of organizations needed on the panel, one of whom should be "a person of faith". Several names of ministers were bandied about but it was obvious that each suggested person had issues which could possibly cause a conflict in serving on the panel. My friend Portia was also attending the meeting and she volunteered to get in contact with someone who would be acceptable to all.
Jim was sitting next to me and I whispered, "I wonder if there's a rabbi available?"
Jim said, "We don't even have bagels at Kroger's!"
So, I went from a plant with all females except for Maintenance and Management to a plant with all males except for office personnel.
When I was interviewed for the job I was asked, "How do you think you'll be able to get along with all these men?" I answered, "I grew up with a father and seven brothers so I think I've dealt with every type of male personality and I not only triumphed; I prevailed."
After I was hired, the interviewer mentioned that he liked my answer to that question. I said, "Too bad it wasn't original!" Any time after that when I would say anything remotely clever he would ask, "Is that original?
It's astounding the number of illegal questions I was asked during interviews; e.g.: "What's your husband think about you working with men?"; "Are you planning on having a family?"; "Would your husband get mad if you worked overtime?"; "Do you have children?"; "Are you married?"; "If a man flirted with you at work, what would you do?"; "Are your children in school?"; "What does your husband do?"; "Where were you born?"; "Any problem working on Sunday?"; "Do you belong to any clubs?"; "Tell me about your family."
My answers depended on whether I thought I had a slight chance of getting the job or had no desire for the job.
My friend Patty wrote that she'd tried the prize-winning chili recipe except that she didn't have any cumin. She said that when she moved to her new place, she threw out about 5 containers of cumin because she'd never used it.
I told her that my brother Norman and I are the same way as we have numbers of unused bottles of spices and herbs. The difference is: I never throw away anything!
How many times have we used fenugreek, chervil, fennel, coriander and cardamom? I have all of those spices and I must have used each of them at least once for a recipe; otherwise, why do I have them?
Yesterday, a friend called and asked if I had cardamom because she couldn't find it at any local store. I answered, "Yes, how many teaspoons do you need?"
As we were on the telephone, I stretched the telephone cord across the kitchen and got out the cardamom from the spice drawer. It shows McCormick's "GROUND DECORTICATED CARDAMOM" on the front of the bottle. [What the Hell is "decorticated"? I had to look it up: "to remove the bark, husk or outer layer from; peel".]
I opened the bottle to give it the "sniff test" and it still has an aroma but I couldn't recall how cardamom is supposed to smell! I told my friend I would call her back.
I wondered about the age of the spice; it's in a glass bottle with a green lid and label and with a ship, but my more recent McCormick spices do not have that kind of label but have either leaves or a large McC on the bottles. According to McCormick's information on its website, cardamom is "an aromatic spice with a sweet flavor and is often called The Queen of Spices."
On the back of the bottle of cardamom is written: "Use in Danish Pastry * Buns * Breads * Coffee Cakes * Grape and Plum Jellies * Sliced Oranges * Iced Melon * Fruit Salads * $1.19. * 1 1/8 ounces Net Weight 53.16 grams McCormick & Co., Inc. Baltimore, MD San Francisco, CALIF.* Made in U.S.A."
$1.19? It must be ancient! It must be from when my mother came to make her home with us! The U.S. Postal Service began using the two-letter abbreviations in 1963 but this has MD and CALIF! This bottle might be prior to 1963!
The McCormick Company has a wonderful website and one can enter the code from the bottom of the container to learn how the age of the spice. We checked out several bottles from the drawer and the ages of the spices ranged from 1981 to 1996! All of these bottles have the leaves on the front of the label but there was no code on the bottom of the bottle of cardamom which has a ship logo.
I called the McCormick 800 Customer Service number and the Customer Service Representative is going to research the bottle and e-mail her findings to me! She was astounded by the $1.19 price and said she'd never seen the ship logo. I told her that my mother had a McCormick spice rack with that ship logo on it and I could recall it from my childhood. My sister-in-law Carol now has that spice rack!
I looked on eBay and there were a number of vintage McCormick spice containers and spice racks. However, none has the ship logo!
16 ounces of cardamom (that's the Chef's size!) from McCormick's costs $62.21 (hey, that's less than $4.00 an ounce!); Puritan's Pride has two 1.7 ounce bottles of cardamom for $9.99. I don't think I'll be ordering any!
One of my workers was named Zoltan. Although Zoltan was his first name, he was called "Joe" but I had seen Zoltan on his check. One day I asked him, "Did your parents escape the Revolution or were you born there?" He looked amazed. He answered, "You KNOW about the Revolution?" I said, "Of course, why wouldn't I?" He said, "You're the first person who ever even knew that Zoltan is Hungarian, let alone know enough to discuss the Revolution." I said, "Well, I'm a lover of history but that was current events when I was a girl!" He asked, "How OLD are you?"
I told him that I remembered the horrific images of the Russian tanks going into Hungary and about Cardinal Mindszenty having asylum at the American Embassy. He said, "I'm named after the Cardinal!" I said, "So that's where Joe comes from!" He said, "I can't wait to tell my dad that you know the Cardinal's name!" Joe said that he was born in Hungary but his family was able to escape and they had relatives in the United States.
He couldn't believe that I knew about Hungarian food; I told him that I loved roulades. Several days later he brought delicious fruit roulades which his mother had made for me. I wish I had gotten her recipe! The roulades I was referring to were meat roulades, but I didn't tell him!
Sometimes I'm embarrassed by my knowledge of trivia and I didn't want to tell Joe that the reason I knew that Zoltan is Hungarian was because Jayne Mansfield's son is named Zoltan and her husband Mickey Hargitay was Hungarian!
Raspberry Meringue Roulade
This delicious dessert is rather like a rolled-up pavlova, and will make a fabulous finale to any mealtime. It's simple to make and extremely versatile because it can be filled with any fruits of your choice.
Ingredients 5 large egg whites 150g caster sugar 2tsp cornflour, sieved Icing sugar, to dust 1 x 284ml pot Waitrose Double Cream 250g raspberries
Method Preheat the oven to 150°C, gas mark 2. Line a 33x28cm Swiss roll tin with baking or silicone paper, leaving a 5cm overhang. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a little at a time, until the meringue mixture is stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cornflour. Turn the mixture into the prepared Swiss roll tin using a palette knife or spatula and spread it evenly to the edges. Cook for 1 hour, then cool in the tin. Turn the meringue out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper sprinkled with sieved icing sugar and peel off the baking paper. Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks and spread over the meringue, leaving a border of about 2.5cm on the long side farthest away from you. Scatter the raspberries evenly over the cream, then carefully roll up. Place the roulade on a serving plate, join-side down. Serve sliced, with extra fruit arranged around it or a raspberry sauce.
The old saying about "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" received a new twist with us.
On Sunday a friend of mine and I were at a dinner and she was telling a mutual friend how great her cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli were growing although they'd been planted late in the season because of all the rain. I asked, "So where's mine?" She said she would get some to me. On Wednesday my friend's son delivered 1 head of cauliflower and SIX (6!) heads of broccoli.
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU BROCCOLI:
On Monday I'm taking Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad to our We Are Ohio Headquarters for Phone Bank Night to feed the volunteers and another portion to a Pot Luck event Tuesday evening. We'll be enjoying two other favorites also.
BROCCOLI/CAULIFLOWER SALAD (a recipe from Joann Watson we've been making since the 1970's)
1 head cauliflower 1 bunch broccoli 1 large Vidalia onion 1 pound bacon, fried crisp 2 cups Miracle Whip 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cider vinegar 1 can pitted black olives, drained
Blanch cauliflower and broccoli until el dente. Drain.
Make a dressing of Miracle Whip, sugar, and vinegar.
Toss cauliflower, broccoli, Vidalia onion and black olives with dressing.
Refrigerate until chilled; serve.
BROCCOLI/MUSHROOM CHOWDER (recipe from Lazarus cookbook we've made since the 1960's)
1 head fresh broccoli 8 ounces fresh mushrooms 8 ounces butter 1 cup flour, sifted 1 quart chicken stock 1 quart Half and Half 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1/4 teaspoon tarragon leaves, crushed
Clean and cut broccoli into 1/2-inch pieces. Steam in 1/2 cup water until tender. Do not drain. Set aside.
Wash and slice mushrooms.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour to make a roux. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock, stirring with a wire whip and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low. Add broccoli, mushrooms, Half and Half and spices. Heat, but do not boil.
CHCICKEN/ BROCCOLI SUPREME (recipe from Lee Collins we've been making since 1979)
1 chicken 2 bunches, fresh broccoli 1/4 pound butter 1 cup chicken broth 3/4 cup cracker crumbs 1 8-ounce package Monterey Jack cheese 1 8-ounce package mushrooms
Cook chicken until tender. Remove meat from bones. Grease casserole dish and line with cracker crumbs. Cook broccoli until tender and drain thoroughly. Place broccoli on top of crumbs; add chicken pieces and mushrooms. In a sauce pan, melt butter, cheese and broth. Pour over casserole. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.