THEN AND NOW

MEMORIES

I have been de-cluttering  my closets for the last several months.  Not having a great deal of progress.  For example, I put a turkey platter aside to get rid of, (it was an inexpensive platter, white with a raised turkey design in the center), but then I started to remember when my mother gave it to me.  It was the first year of my marriage and I used that platter for years.  It wasn’t just that memory but brought to the surface all the memories of parents sharing Thanksgiving dinner, a time when my children were little and my husband and I had our hopes and dreams for the future.  The platter is still with me.

It is true that one still has the memories, but the memories are numerous and the catalyst is the item.  Another example is decorating the Christmas tree.  Last year I gave members of my family some of my ornaments that I thought would have special meaning to them.  However, I kept the ones that brought to my mind the most treasured memories as each one has a story.   Sometimes placing these ornaments on the tree make me smile as I remember not only the giver but the happiness when I received them.  Other times it brings tears to my eyes as the giver is no longer here.  Regardless, I cherish all the memories happy or sad and will carefully keep them for the next year.

I will continue to purge my closets, though the process is slow.  Each item I get rid of deserves to be remembered though maybe not kept.

I found the following in my desk drawer, good thoughts to live by.

The Secret To Happiness Is Such

Erase past failures                                                                                                                           Find a goal                                                                                                                                      Practice patience                                                                                                                            Never give up                                                                                                                                  Have many friends                                                                                                                        Overwhelm enemies with kindness                                                                                           Jest ewwhen depressed                                                                                                                Win and lose fairly                                                                                                                        Marvel at the wonders of nature                                                                                                Yearn for peace of mind                                                           Author unknown

 

COOKING

THANKSGIVING DINNER

I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for more than fifty years.  My menu is basically the same menu I grew up with, some things left out and over the years I have taken some short cuts.  The most important part of this wonderful dinner is family and friends, not how much work you put into preparation.

My dinner menu starts with Italian Wedding Soup, The star of the event, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, green salad, dinner rolls and of course pumpkin pie.  This is served with beverage of wine and sparkling juice.

Yeah, a lot of food.  When I was first married I followed my mother’s way of doing things with her help.  Of course at that time there were few choices except to cook from scratch.  Today grocery stores will deliver your complete thanksgiving dinner, restaurants are opened for turkey dinner, and there is a wide variety of prepared food that only needs to be warmed.

Today I take advantage of a few prepared items for my dinner, such as buying Bob Evans or Costco mashed potatoes, already baked dinner rolls, prepared pie crusts.  I still prepare my soup, the dressing and the turkey.   I gave up on candied sweet potatoes and just bake them along with the turkey.  I buy the prepared pie crusts and finish pie with Libby’s pumpkin pie filling, just adding milk and eggs.  I prepare as much as I can the day before.  If I have a large group, I buy two smaller turkeys, stuff them and cook one the day before, then there’s enough dark meat plus leftovers for family.  Although it still takes a lot of work, it is lightened considerably with taking short cuts.

The Italian Wedding Soup, we always called it green soup because of the spinach in it, is probably the most time-saving short cut I use today.  I don’t make my own soup stock, but use the packaged chicken broth, I use cooked chicken from the rotisserie chickens, shredded and frozen ahead of time.  The taste is the same, but a lot less work.  Recipe for soup follows.

I enjoy Thanksgiving and all the fixings, and am very thankful for my wonderful children and their spouses, my beautiful grandchildren, friends and the most wonderful country we live in.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Green Soup Recipe:  32 oz. of chicken broth, 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken, 10 oz. of frozen chopped spinach, (I also make very small meatballs to add to the soup, but this is not required), 2 eggs beaten and 1/3 to 3/4 cuo of grated parmesan cheese.          Heat broth, chicken and spinach to boiling point.  Beat eggs and add cheese to eggs mixing well, then add to hot soup, stir well, turn off heat and let set for 5 minutes.  Serves 4.

HEALTH

EXERCISE THROUGH HOUSEWORK

Exercise is not about losing weight, but rather keeping fit.  You probably heard the saying “use it or lose it”, well that is very true.

When we are young we can”t help but exercise by running, skipping, jumping, being involved with all kinds of sports and dancing.  As we get older we are not as nimble or flexible.  Our bodies protest by causing aches and pains, and calling to mind body parts we no longer take for granted.

When I was younger, I could clean my house from top to bottom in one day and still had energy in reserve for more interesting activities.  As the years crept up it began to take me two days to clean and then my more interesting activity was sitting in front of the T.V. rewarding myself with a good snack.

Yes, we all slow down as we age, but one must keep on moving.   One can get a lot of exercise just by doing household chores, exercise and a clean house.  For example, weight lifting, picking up a full hamper of dirty clothes and again lifting a laundry basket of clean clothes.  When folding your laundry try standing and bending down for each item to fold, (our mothers and grandmothers used to hang clothes out to dry using this same technique.   Emptying the dishwasher, stacking plates and moving them to cupboard.  I find putting my dishes where I have to reach up, lifting several plates at a time is not only lifting some weight but stretching at the same time.  Try placing some items you use everyday a little higher so you stretch to reach them.

Grocery shopping incorporates walking, reaching and lifting items onto belt, loading bags into car, unloading bags into car then unloading again at home.  Think of it as exercise.

Vacuuming, the push and pull of maneuvering he vacuum throughout the house, try changing hands every so often.  Sweeping, can be done with waist twists.

To spice it up a bit, put some lively music on so you keep beat with the music.

Think of your routine activities and how you might use your different muscles.  Remember as you get older you may slow down a bit but pace yourself and keep moving.  Every movement means something.

Good Health.

THEN AND NOW

HALLOWEEN

I have just bought my Halloween candy for the trick or treaters and it got me reflecting on changes throughout the years.

When I was a youngster my mother had a trunk in the attic with various Halloween costumes; a clown, gypsy, witch and other odds and ends.  A few days before halloween my sisters and I would sort through the trunk for our costumes.  I remember on the day of halloween carrying a bag to school with my costume for our school party which was held in the afternoon.  While we were at school my mother would prepare the treats she would be passing out that evening.  She would fix packages of loose candy wrapped in a napkin and tied with larger packages going to our friends and immediate neighbors.  There were no miniature candy bars sold then.  Most of the treats we collected were candy corn wrapped in packages, peanut butter kisses, suckers, apples, pennies and chocolate bars.  Also when going house to house we called in unison,  “Help the poor.”  We would start begging  when it got dark outside coverd a five block area, teturning home around nine P.M. We were a large group of kids (no parents going out with us) and we and our parents felt safe.

When my children were little one parent always walked with their children and their friends with their parent.  By then candy manufacturers got wiser and sold all kinds of candy individually wrapped and miniature size candy bars.  Convenience and necessity brought some of these changes around following a darker side of Halloween.  In the 60″s kids celebrated Devil’s night pranks.  This included ringing doorbells, soaping windows both house and car, and egging houses.  It had gotten so bad that some irate recipients of these pranks started giving nasty things inside the children’s bags.  Some even put razor blades inside apples causing serious injury.  In Detroit houses were set afire, one year 800 were burned.  This was indeed a very dark side of Halloween and we never let our children participate in  any type of prank.  Parents checked over all candies collected looking for any tampering of treats.  Any open wrapper or suspicious treat got thrown out.

Today Halloween is the second largest holiday, after Christmas.   Houses are elaborately decorated, parents either walk with their children or drive them to neighborhoods.  Kids still eagerly pick out their costumes, and I must say there are some very creative ones.  I for one love seeing children dressed up and trick or treating, leaving out the tricks.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

FIFTY LIFE QUESTIONS

DID YOU HAVE ANY CHORES GROWING UP?  WHAT WAS LEAST FAVORITE?

When I was as young as four my chore was to do dusting.  Mostly all the low areas, table legs, chair rungs, etc.  I couldn’t wait to move up to other chores like my sisters did such as changing sheets.

As I got older chores did change.  My sisters and I would rotate cleaning up after dinner; one would clear the table which included scrapping plates for garbage (no garbage disposals at that time) and sweeping the floor, another would wash the dishes, this included heating a large pot filled with water to wash the dishes as we did not have an automatic water heater.  The dishes were rinsed with cold running water and placed on sink counter for the next one to do their job of drying the dishes and putting them away.

We often fooled around during clean up time and were reminded by our parents to get busy.

So to answer the second part of question, to this day I’m not a fan of dusting, it just keeps coming back.  I also hated washing the dishes and pots and pans because the water cooled rapidly and I did not like the cold water rinse.  However, I remember fondly the time my sisters and I got silly, laughed and sometimes argued over whose turn it was to do a specific chore.

FIFTY LIFE QUESTIONS

DESCRIBE A TYPICAL FAMILY DINNER

We were a family of seven and we always ate dinner together.  Our dinner hour was based on my father’s work day.  He was a factory worker, rising at three or four each morning so our dinner hour was usually four in the afternoon.  Saturday and Sundays were different as we ate our dinner early afternoon.

Another factor in our dinner time was based on my mother’s work day.  She was a homemaker as were most of the mothers during that era.  As the rhyme goes. Monday she washed the clothes early and hung them up to dry, Tuesdays she ironed the clothes, (no drip dry), Wednesday’s she baked, Thursday’s she shopped and Friday’s she cleaned from top to bottom.  So four of those five days our meals were rather routine, we always knew what day of the week it was by our dinner that night.  But, the other three days of the week we knew we would have something different and  tasty.

Sunday dinners are the most memorable to me for many reasons.  For one thing my father was well rested as his work week was Monday through Friday.  Sunday’s were truly a day of rest and we looked forward to our largest meal of the week.  

Our Sunday menu started with pasta, usually spaghetti with red sauce;  a meat entree of either roast beef or pork with roasted carots and potatoes; or roasted  chicken with mashed potatoes and corn or peas; always a tossed salad; dessert of cake or jello with sliced bananas.

But what I remember most about our Sunday meal was my Dad’s stories.  As kids we were quick to eat, often just eating quickly, and like most children we wanted to hurry and go out to play.  My father, however, captured our interest with stories of his youth, or his voyage to America, or when he met my mother.  My father was not in any hurry to complete his meal, he started a story, paused to take a bite of his food, chewed slowly then gave us the next line or two of his story.  We were impatient to hear the story without all the pauses, but he kept us at the table to hear more and ask our questions.

I don’t know if his story telling style was by design or not but it worked in keeping us at the table until he was finished with his meal.  Each of us probably remember his stories a little differently, as my mother would sometimes interupt him with her take on how the story should go.  

This is one of the most memorable family times  I have, a good meal I took for granted, good stories I still remember and  precious family time I now appreciate more than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HEALTH

FINDING OUT WHAT’S WRONG

A friend and I were talking and she wondered why it took her doctor so long to tell her what her physical symptoms and complaints meant.  

I know it can be frustrating and worrying to not get answers, and having to play the waiting game.  Doctors do not have a magic ball, they must listen to complaints, gather lab results and other diagnostic tests then eliminate what they know it isn’t.

Similar to how a mechanic would diagnose your car troubles.  In fact the body is very much like a car.

Remember getting a brand new car.  The body shiny and sleek.  Hardly any miles on it.  Started quickly, ran smoothly and had many exciting miles to go.  As the car got older it might not have run as smoothly, or started quickly, sometimes stalled or had slow pick up.  But, the engine was still good, getting you where you wanted to go.

There were major and minor problems along the way and a good mechanic often could pinpoint the problem through diagnostics, elimination of what is not wrong, and perhaps replacing a few parts.

In both situations it is unsettling and worrisome as you don’t know what to expect or how it will effect you either physically or in your pocketbook.  Thoroughness takes time and a diagnosis will come.

You will usually get the same advice on both counts, “Give it good fuel and regular maintenance.”

Good Health