WHAT KIND OF HOUSE DID I LIVE IN AS A CHILD?
I was born in and grew up in a two bedroom white bungalow house. There was a full attic and basement, both unfinished.
I was the fourth child born, we were all two to two and a half years apart. The bedroom my sisters and I shared was the larger of the two and was furnished with two iron frame double beds,a chest of drawers, a dresser and two night stands. We each had our name on the side of which drawers were ours. It was six and a half years after I was born that my youngest sister came into our lives.
The bedrooms with a bathroom between them and a small linen closet was on one side of the house. The other side was kitchen and breakfast nook with a swinging door to formal dining room and an archway connecting the living room.
There was a one car garage behind our house but we didn’t have a car. That came many years later. My sister and I used to play house in the garage. We marked rooms with chalk and even pretended it was a two story flat with her upstairs and myself down. We even drew in stairs along one side. Curtains were hung in the window and door window and we used wagons, boxes and anything we could find to use as furniture.
Our basement had a large coal burning furnace with took up most of the floor space. In each corner opposite the furnace were two rooms, one the coal bin and the other a fruit cellar. On the other side of the furnace was my dad’s workshop outfitted with all hand tools. The stairs were in the middle and my mother’s washing machine was on the other side. During the winter months a clothes line was stretched from the wall by her washer to the wall between the coal bin and pantry. I always thought the basement to be a scarier place and would run up the stairs as if someone was chasing me.
The attic with windows on every side was my favorite place to be. Everything was stored there, such as my mother’s wedding gown, other old clothing in a cedar chest and the big black trunk from my father’s homeland. It was a place to escape to and dream. There were old books, pictures, always something to find and nooks to explore.
Many years later the basement was made into a rec room after the furnace was replaced with gas heat. Of course there was no need for the coal bin and that gave more space. Mom had an automatic washer and dryer and in place of old furnace area there was a ping pong table.
But the attic stayed the same. When it was time to move my mother out I revisited the attic and found myself back in time exploring nooks and crannies, rediscovering the past. My favorite place.
Just yesterday my son lost his 12 year old Puggle dog, named Charlotte. Charlotte was not only a major part of his life but of our whole family. He got Charlotte as an eight week old puppy and she bonded with him and he with her.
Charlotte loved to eat and could put away her food in record time. If you left your food too close to edge of table she could put that away too. She always knew when it was time to eat and let you know by pawing her food bowl making a lot of noise.
Charlotte loved to fetch tennis balls and could sniff out a tennis ball even when it was not clearly in sight. She never missed retrieving the ball whether on land or tossed in the lake.
Charlotte even starred in a movie produced by her people-cousins. This brought much laughter and joy to us all.
As Charlotte got older she would happily spend most of her day sleeping on the sofa, but always became alert before my son would get home.
To my son and his family I know how very heartbroken you are. We all feel the loss of Charlotte but can always remember the joy she brought into our lives.
May all the angels in heaven enjoy and love her as much as we all did.
I am frequently confronted by friends and relatives telling me their blood pressure reading was high after doctor visit. They often say, “I never had high blood pressure!”
To me that’s like saying “I never was overweight”, or “I never had wrinkles”. The difference is age happens.
First of all blood pressure is not a constant. It can change daily or hourly. That is why if it is somewhat elevated when visiting the doctor they will retake the reading again at end of visit. Blood Pressure reading is a tool used to know how hard your heart is working. The top number, systolic, is your heart at work or pumping blood and the bottom number, diastolic, is your heat at rest or between beats. Each number gives important information. It is not uncommon for systolic readings to be affected by factors such as anxiety, coffee or exercise.
Picture a water hose. A new hose will pump water freely and can withstand crimping it off in the middle and then letting go to resume free flow of water. When the hose ages, it becomes more brittle and stiff. A water hose that is stiff is not as pliable with a sudden gush of water rushing through, therefore, putting more pressure on the hose. If hard water runs through it there may be some residue on the inside of the hose making water harder to pass through, much like a plaque buildup in your arteries.
Some factors affecting blood pressure are stress, diet, smoking and genetics. Control stress by exercise and meditation, watch your diet avoiding fatty foods and those with high cholesterol. Quit smoking or never begin smoking in the first place. If overweight, try to lose a few pounds (not an easy task).
WHAT IS MY BEST ADVICE
As I have aged I have gone through many challenges and decisions. I have made my mistakes but have always tried to learn from them, what would be called a “teachable moment”.
Be true to yourself. Stand up for what you believe in, while respecting others. Believe in yourself that you are worthy and love yourself for who you are, recognize your faults as well as your assets, own who you are. Know that others may not always agree with you or like you, learn to be comfortable with that.
Be honest and trustworthy. If you are not you are only cheating yourself. This does not mean insulting others, always try to be diplomatic and respectful. Do not have others lose their trust in you, it can be difficult to regain.
Be fair and consistent. Treat others fairly, this does not mean equally as each decision may require different outcomes. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
MY FAVORITE RECIPES
Over the years I find I come back to favorites when meal planning. Some of these are favorites of my family also.
Chicken is my second most favorite meat and it is the most versatile and healthy choice. I will share my Cracker-Coated Chicken recipe which is easy and can be prepared ahead of time.
Ingredients: 4 to 6 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (You can also use cut chicken parts with bone and skin. About 2 cups of finely crushed saltine crackers. 3/4 to 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. About 1/2 cup of dried parsley. 1 to 2 sticks of melted butter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces. Mix together crackers, cheese and parsley in shallow pan. Melted butter in another pan. Dip chicken pieces in butter and then into cracker mixture to coat evenly. Place on lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Pour any remaining butter over chicken pieces. (You do not need to salt chicken as salt is already in crackers and cheese).
Bake 45 min. until golden brown. May be prepared ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, leave at room temperature 15 min. before baking.
Healthier version: substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter.
WHAT INVENTION IMPACTS MY LIFE THE MOST
There were different things at different times of my life. When I was young television would be my answer. Before TV we had favorite programs on the radio. Us children would sit around our large cabinet radio on Friday nights and listen to programs such as Inner Sanctum; The Whistler; and The Shadow. Much like the TV series today we were left with cliff hanger endings till the next episode.
In the fifties when we got a ten inch TV screen within a large cabinet that took up the corner of our living room we gathered around this and watched our programs. There were three channels, none came in clearly unless someone stood near the TV and had their hand on top. My brilliant father solved this my making a long wire rod from floor to a right angle of rod touching the corner of the TV. We enjoyed programs such as wrestling (every Friday night), Milton Berle, and I remember Mama. My father made a bookcase out of our radio cabinet.
As I got older my Kenmore sewing machine, with embroidery stitch options, and versatile zigzag stitch would be my answer. I sewed my clothes, my children’s clothes, my husband sport coats and even got into drafting my own patterns and some designing. I had such a passion and excitement to create. I still have this sewing machine today though it is retired, a great reminder of my creativity.
Today I would answer my robots. My robots make my life easier. You would recognize them under different names. Automatic washing machine and dryer, dishwasher, self defrost freezer and ice maker, my oven that can delay start and shut off by setting a button. I don’t own a Roomba as I have all hardwood floors, but I am sure if my home were carpeted that would be another robot I would have.
Tomorrows inventions will be built upon today’s inventions as today’s were built on yesterdays inventions. They all probably go back to the invention of the wheel.
About a month ago I took a significant tumble. I was feeling good, walking well, but wasn’t paying too much attention where I was walking. Thus the tumble.
As one gets older we don’t have the quick reflexes we did during our younger days. Our balance is off also. So when I tripped I went down face first. Luckily my eyeglasses actually offered some protection as I didn’t break my nose or take a hard bump to my head. However, I was bleeding profusely from my nose. Any head injury does cause considerable bleeding, which is disconcerting to those who are witness. Although the couple who aided me will unlikely read this blog, I do want to thank them for their help.
I do want to pass on a few recommendations to those who fall and those who assist them. First of all do not be in a hurry to get up, sometimes an injury could be more involved and you need to assess yourself. Did you lose consciousness, even momentarily? Do you have any sharp pain, can you move all your extremities? Is there immediate deep bruising, especially in your abdomen, this can signal internal bleeding. Any deep gash or laceration causing profuse bleeding. These are all signs of more severe injury and in need of medical intervention.
Now in my case none of the above applied except for copious bleeding from my nose. If you get hit in the nose, there will be lots of bleeding. Not necessary to make an immediate trip to the ER unless you happen to be on blood thinner medication. When a person’s nose is bleeding, do not tilt the head back, this does not stop the bleeding but only redirects it down one’s throat. Hold head straight and pinch just below bridge of nose, bleeding will slow and eventually stop. At that time one can gently blow their nose as clots may have formed.
I was sore for at least two weeks. Healing takes time, be good to yourself and don’t rush it. Lesson learned; I will stay focused on my surroundings and slow down.