Friday, February 26, 2010

KNOCK ON WOOD

The last time I got sick, I was really sick. It took two rounds of antibiotics to knock it out of my system. Over 20 days of medication... Fever, sore throat, chest congestion, cough and runny nose. I felt like I was dying. I seriously doubted I would ever feel better again. So… I stayed in bed for almost a month, contemplating my demise… drinking plenty of fluids and taking my meds, on the remote chance I‘d survive. Eventually, I did recover. That was a couple years ago. I haven’t had, so much as a cold, since. KNOCK ON WOOD. I probably just jinxed myself. You see… the problem is… my hubby is miserable right now. Achy, icky, stuffy head and chest, burning throat, fever. The WORKS… he’s got it, on top of his COPD.... which makes things worse, because he already has trouble breathing. So…. the doctor prescribed a Z-PACK to knock it out of his system. It’s hard to see him suffer like this. So far… it’s been four days and the medicine hasn’t phased him. His throat hurts worse than ever, and his temperature is sitting at 101. What to do? Doc says to give the meds time to kick in. It’s frustrating. It doesn’t seem to be working. Here we go again. Another long drawn out affair. What happened to the good old days. Remember when doctors gave you a SHOT in the rear, and you started to feel better by the end of the day. Seriously, what’s up with these new fangled medicines. They cost a fortune, but don’t seem to be able to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. With all the research that’s put into them, they ought to be able to combat the problem. Apparently the germs are smarter and super resistant, nowadays. So… I’m adding some TLC, vitamin C and chicken soup to the prescription. Maybe it will help? Meanwhile…. I’m trying to keep my distance, and hoping... I don’t catch it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ICE SKATING & IMAGINATION

The basement in the house I grew up in had a cement floor. With a little imagination, in the mind of a young child… it became an ice rink. I can remember putting on my roller skates, downstairs… and twirling round and round on that floor. Each routine I created, was eclipsed by the next. I was in the Olympics, ice skating for the GOLD. I had to be at the top of my game. So… I used props to be more artistic in my endeavor. I skated carrying a long scarf, twisting and turning it in the wind as I glided along the ice. When I got bored with that, I searched for a baton. Not finding one, I improvised using a stick, from out in the back yard. Unfortunately, as I picked up speed on the concrete… I wrapped myself around a column in the basement, ramming the stick down my throat. Ouch. My big Olympic experience ended with a trip to the emergency room and my dreams for a medal were dashed. I never forgot the thrill of skating. But I never competed again. I went on to Rock Collecting as a hobby. Years later, at sixteen… I watched vicariously as my girlfriend Patty and her partner Ron, took to the REAL ice and made beautiful silhouettes together. It was poetry in motion. They were quite the pair. Though I must confess… I stole his heart, away from her… off the ice, if only briefly. Despite my love of the sport… truth be told… that’s the closest I ever got to the ice other than visiting the Ice Follies. A pair of ice skates never touched my feet, until I was an adult, married to someone else and living in Pittsburgh, Pa in the eighties. There was a restaurant, we frequented that overlooked an ice rink. Our young children used to be thrilled every time we went to eat there, because they could see the skaters. One weekend, my hubby and I decided to SURPRISE them and actually took them to the rink, itself. They LOVED it there. So… we signed the kids up for weekly skating lessons. As a result… I too, finally donned my first pair of skates, to partake in the fun. But… I had a heck of a time, balancing myself on those narrow blades and kept falling down. I was devastated. My ankles kept buckling out from under me… every time I tried. It looked so easy. But I just couldn’t master it. The whole ice skating experience didn’t work out for me. I was destined for OTHER things. Now… relegated to the sidelines… I sadly watched… my hubby and little girls enjoying themselves out on the ice. They were so happy. It made me secretly long for my ROLLER skates and all those skating memories I had as a child. But I needn’t fret. I wasn’t alone for long. Eventually… my family became bored with their new sport and were suddenly off doing something else. So… I turned to television for escapism. This is why… every four years… I look forward to the Winter Olympics and all those young brave souls, skating their hearts out. Win or lose… it’s the experience of a lifetime. And we all get to SHARE it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

DINNER IS SERVED

Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse are my new best friends. They come into my house via The Food Network. It has become my cable channel of choice. After a year of eating out in restaurants because of a broken stove… my hubby and I finally came to our senses, and bought a new one. The debate over flattop versus coil was narrowed down. Coil won out. We’re too old to try something new. We used the extra money we saved… (for not buying a flattop)... to also buy a new set of cookware. Being retired from pots and pans for so long… I thought I might have forgotten how to find my way around a kitchen. So I turned to the experts on TV for a few pointers. Now I’m hooked. Their voices echo in my living room everyday. Admittedly, some of their recipes are a tad bit unusual... but I’ve managed to find a few I like, that aren’t labor intensive. So… I’m back in the saddle again, cooking up a storm… combining a list of exotic new dishes, to my tried and proven classics. Instead of salads all the time… I’m experimenting with veggies like okra, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, cauliflower, and asparagus. And… I’m getting favorable results. My latest concoctions pass the taste test. Salmon, tilapia, shrimp, crawfish, oysters and lobster are staples here at our house. I’ll soon be ordering some soft-shell crabs to join the mix. Can you tell I’m from the East Coast, originally? Chicken, a million different ways is always a must have for us too. And of course… mouthwatering steak or lamb. And the ever popular, but routine… ribs, meatloaf, spaghetti and chili can be regularly found on the menu here. Throughout the years, time has been an endless constraint, especially as the children grew up… to get supper prepared and on the table before various events… but no longer. I take as much, or as little time as I need… to get the job done. No complaints. Most of our outings are on the weekend. So… dinner is served at 8pm nightly, after my hubby gets home from work. A year off from kitchen duties… made me mellow. Now… I’m finally happy to call myself the Family Chef. I’ve had that title for over thirty-five years. Too bad… the job doesn’t come with a big fat paycheck. Instead… I’m rich with the memories of meals, meals, meals, meals… and all those conversations around the dining room table.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

My love is like a cabbage / Divided into two.
The leaves I give to others / The heart I give to you.
-Author Unknown

Saturday, February 6, 2010

BAREFOOT

When I was a kid… I always delighted in running barefoot through the grass, dodging honeybees on the clover and dandelions. As I’ve gotten older, I do the same thing in the spring and summer. During the autumn I like the crunch of leaves under my bare feet. As a result… I hate socks. I don’t normally wear them. They feel like heavy lead weights around my ankles. I know what you’re going to say… it’s winter, now. I realize that. BUT… even in the dead of winter, I don’t wear them. That includes making a quick trip down to the store or post office… I’ll wear my shoes or boots, sans socks. I kid you not. You’d think I was from Florida or something. With frigid temps outside, during this time of year… I ought to be happy for feet cover-ups. But I’m not. They genuinely irritate me. They make my feet hot. Too hot, to be comfortable. I don’t know why, but I prefer to be barefoot, when in the privacy of my house, especially in bed. Something liberating about my bare tootsies touching the cold sheets or hitting the wooden floor, when I get up. However, I must confess… I do occasionally wear knee-hi hose, particularly if it snows outside, so my feet don’t get too wet, inside my boots. Not that they’re a lot of help. Hose… I tolerate. But it’s my only concession. I’ll also wear them… if I might be tempted, to try on a new pair of shoes, at the mall. Truth is, I don’t like shoes or slippers, anymore than I like socks. I once owned a pair of soft leather Ballet type slippers that were as comfortable as going barefoot. I wore them everywhere I went… inside and out. Eventually, I had to toss them out, because I wore holes in the bottoms. I’ve tried to replace them, for years, but everything available is fluffy and gaudy. So I own no slippers. No socks. No slippers. Barefoot is what I like. On the other hand, shoes are a necessary evil in civilized society. You must wear them. It’s mandated. The problem is my feet are so small and wide… that finding the right size, is always a problem. If I can’t find them… I’ve been known to buy children’s shoes, instead. As a young woman in my twenties and thirties I wore stilettos. Today… I’m paying the price. With arthritis in both legs… I can hardly stand up these days… much less balance myself… on a skinny little heel. So, when I find a shoe that fits, and keeps me firmly planted on the ground… I buy at least a half dozen pairs of that brand, in that style. My FURLA days are numbered. GRASSHOPPERS are my favorite… along with a pair of zippered TOTES boots. Boring, I know… but functional. The rest of the time… you can find me… barefoot and too old to get pregnant.