Category Archives: Humorous Column

It’s called self-care

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I have been hearing a lot about a concept called, “self-care” recently and I can tell you this is a concept I can enter into enthusiastically. Just the words—self and care, are such wonderful words…who can argue with caring for yourself?

Now, as I understand this self-care thing, it simply means you should do whatever it takes to keep you calm, satisfied and free from fear. Even if that means you spend an entire day eating doughnuts and drinking Pepsi non-stop while indulging in a marathon showing of your absolute favorite episode of Enterprise???? Of course, self-care for me is going to include food and some mental distraction that does not require mental exertion.

The problem I have encountered with self-care is that what is self-care for me, isn’t self-care for my husband. When he needs self-care, it involves taking walks or doing chores around the house. And that is where our marriage has always strained at the seams.

“What’s for lunch,” he will ask, coming in from a refreshing walk and neatly removing his muddy boots at the door.

“Don’t bother me,” I mumble, spitting bits of roll and frosting everywhere, “I’m trying to watch this Star Trek episode about a corrupt Vulcan ambassador.”

“The ambassador isn’t corrupt, she’s trying to expose criminals,” he says, his face completely deadpan.

“How do you know?” I am truly impressed as I slosh Pepsi to wash down the fourth roll of the day.

“You’ve been watching that same episode for a solid day. How many rolls have you had today?”

“It’s called self-care,” I answered resentfully.

“Don’t step on a scale,” was his parting advice.

I changed tactics. I started binge-watching Downtown Abbey and I switched to cheese and crackers and Coke. Still an ideal way to self-care, but I did take his words to heart and searched for ways to be more active in my self-care. That means the next time he came to check on me, he found me putting together jigsaw puzzles. It worked fairly well, except I kept getting cheese on the puzzle and I kept losing the train of action in the episode of Downtown Abbey I was watching.

“You’re still eating and you’re still sitting,” my husband commented as he walked through the living room.

“It’s called self-care,” I said wiping the cheese off the missing piece of the cow’s face and completing my third puzzle of the day.

“I think you may have somewhat misunderstood the concept,” he said. “Self-care should make you more healthy mentally and physically. You are not challenging your mind and you are going to hate yourself when you step on the scale.”

He did put a doubt in my mind. Maybe this wasn’t self-care, but more like self-indulgence. I sure didn’t want to find my mind has gone to mush and gain a bunch of weight. I was going to have to be brave and step on the scale to assess at least some of the damage.

He came into the bathroom while I was cranking down the dial on the scale, so it would weigh 20 pounds lighter. He raised a superior eyebrow and I said defensively, “It’s called self-care.” I don’t think either one of us has the concept down very well…but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying!

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Only in my dreams…

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I have spent most of my life chasing that illusive thing called “a good night’s sleep.” And, for most of my life, it has been a hard thing to lay down on the bed at 10 p.m. and close my eyes and not open them again until 7 a.m. Most nights are a body-shifting, sheet-twisting, up-five-times-for-a-drink-and-the-bathroom marathon!

When it comes to dreaming, I am an abysmal failure because I cannot frequently reach that much-vaulted state of REM (don’t ask me what it stands for) in order to enter the land of dreams. However, on the odd occasion I do make it to dreamland, it is one weird ride, let me tell you!

I don’t tend to dream in color, mostly black and white film noir stuff, and this is a good thing, because my dreams often involve carnage of some type. For instance, I dream I’m going hunting a lot. Since I rarely go hunting and I’m never in on the kill, I am mystified by this nocturnal entertainment choice, but nonetheless, away I go with my gun, shooting my way through my dreams. Sometimes I shoot deer or pheasant, but sometimes it’s other hunters (no, I never know them) or the hunting dog (this could be wishful thinking–look out dog), and occasionally, I manage to shoot myself–not in a suicidal way, however! Whenever I have this dream, there is always a lot of blood and there is frequent litigation which follows. I wake up from these with an irresistible urge to have a shower and make a vow to never go hunting again!

Another dream that comes is that one that I’m willing to bet everyone has experienced: the “I’m running and can’t get anywhere,” scenario. This is a particularly terrifying and somewhat frustrating dream–you know you need to move, but it feels like you’re running hip-deep in caramel and your treadmill is going backwards. I’m never clear on who or what it is that I am running from, but given the number of dangerous animals out there (and some of them are even four-footed), I am always enthusiastic about getting away. The fact that they never seem to catch me means they are probably running through the caramel on the reverse treadmill too, but I still wake up exhausted and terrified….not to mention my legs are worn out!

The dream I have been having the most recently, however, is that old chestnut about suddenly being somewhere in public in my pajamas or my underwear or worse, with nothing on but a towel. When I was young, I would dream that I was in school or about to give a presentation or in a play and I was totally unprepared for it and had to somehow fake my way through it. But the showing up in my underwear nightmares are happening now, and it’s a real nightmare, because I’ve seen me in my underwear; it’s not something that needs to go on public display!

Mostly, I’m having this dream where I am at school and only wearing my underwear. I keep planning to get dressed, but it seems like there is always something holding me up, so I continue standing around in my underwear, waiting until I get a chance to get into some clothes. I don’t know any of the people in these school dreams, which is good, because the other upsetting part of it is that nobody seems to notice that I’m not clothed. If it were my students, they could at least make arrangements to take “poor old Mrs. Fauth” to the home, because she’s losing it!

When I contemplate the various dreams I have, I reach the conclusion that maybe it’s just as well I don’t have very many nights when I sleep deeply enough to dream. At least that way I can live in the waking world, walking instead of running, fully clothed and without a weapon. That’s the way I should be!

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Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a football player!

I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but the football playoffs are now being conducted. I have noticed. Mostly because that is the only thing playing on my television lately.

I was so grateful to the Vikings when they won some games, because it made my husband happy. I will also confess that I was happy when they messed up their chances to go to the playoffs. I know, I know, that’s not a nice attitude, but sometimes I watch my poor husband, the top Vikings fan in the country, as he tries to support his purple and gold football choice, and I wonder whether I should have 911 on speed dial for the inevitable heart attack he’s going to have. I’m not sure he could survive very many playoff games.

“Honey, are you sure you’re having fun?” I asked, after he had the latest meltdown over Cousins’ poor throw or Bailey’s missing the field goal.

“I’m having as much fun here as you have watching those old Star Trek videos of yours,” he snarled, just before he jumped up and down, screaming at the defense to get in the game.

Now, I am sure that I did not watch as much Star Trek this fall as he did Vikings football and I’m very sure that my space explorers never made me as mad as his football players did him. I never cursed at Mr. Spock because he showed some emotion, or screamed at Scotty, “I know you’re not giving those engines all they’ve got! Get it to Warp 7, or get out of the engine room!”

However, as time went forward, the Vikings missed one too many touchdowns and didn’t make it into the playoffs–whew! I made the appropriate sad face and commiserated over the fact that the Vikings wouldn’t be the champions this year…again. In my own mind, however, I was secretly looking forward to many more episodes of Star Trek and Dr. McCoy exclaiming, “Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not (an engineer, a brick layer, a physicist…fill in the blank.)

Imagine my dismay when the football games continued to appear on my television. First, he had to cheer against one team, because they had beaten the Vikings and then he had to cheer against another because they always win, and the list goes on and on and the games have been never ending, while I contemplate just how easy it would be to dropkick the television through the goalposts.

I did get a bit of good news this week, however. I have heard that the football playoffs will indeed taper off, with fewer and fewer teams suiting up and risking permanent bodily injury to slam into each other for possession of a ball that isn’t even shaped like a ball. There is this thing called a Super Bowl which will end the reign of the football players for another year. Ah, yes, then I will at last be able to fire up the Enterprise and follow Captain Kirk through his adventures on strange new worlds….

And then I walked into the living room the other day, and there was something on television that wasn’t football, but it wasn’t Star Trek either. It was a thing called hockey…I hope that doesn’t last very long into the winter!

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A quiet drive in the country

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Let me start by admitting that when it comes to driving, I am no Mario Andretti. If I had to make my living by driving a truck, school bus or Uber taxi, I would starve very quickly…always supposing I didn’t crash into a wall first.

Having said that, it may occur to you to ask some hard questions when I tell you that last week, I rented a car in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and drove, through some pretty interesting traffic, all the way through the Twins Cities and suburbs, and down the interstate before ending up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Let me assure you it was not by choice!

I was visiting with my children and getting to know the new baby, and leisurely enjoying my time there. My husband, Roy, was supposed to pick me up, but then I received a call informing me that my husband was not only not going to come and pick me up, he was going to be in a Sioux Falls hospital undergoing an emergency procedure and it was going to be up to me to get there!

Okay, so, telling myself I could do this, I had my son-in-law rent me a car so I could get myself on the road. Driving through Minneapolis traffic in a car unfamiliar to me had all the appeal of having a root canal done with no Novocain! And it was just about as much fun!

Straight down on I-35, I told myself: just get myself on I-35 and I will be fine. That’s easy for me to say, apparently; harder to do. For instance, I discovered that there were several times when I-35 South had exits going off in either direction, and I, driving in heavy traffic, was in the exit lane! So, at least three times, with an interesting blind spot in my tiny rental car, I had to find a way back into the traffic on I-35 before I was forced to exit with all the cars in my lane, who wanted to get off! Each time, I desperately put my blinker on, indicating I didn’t want to do the off-the-interstate dance and each time, sweating and cursing profusely I was able to cram myself back into the traffic headed down the interstate and eventually, out of the flow of inner-city traffic.

Surprised to find myself still standing at the southern end of the cities, I settled in for the long drive to Sioux Falls. While interstate traffic was heavy, it was not terrible and I felt my troubles were over. Then I noticed that my little car was developing a real shimmy. I pushed on, hoping it wouldn’t completely fall apart before I got to my destination. It was after the truck in front of me turned off and the shimmy stopped that I realized my car was small enough that it responded to the backdraft of a truck in front of me. I tested this theory by getting in behind other trucks and sure enough, the shimmy kept returning.

After diagnosing my car’s ills, I got back to the business of driving through heavy New Year’s Eve traffic towards my destination, while avoiding the myriad number of trucks out there. That’s when my car began expressing its concern for my welfare. After two hours of driving, the car was apparently automatically programed to start dinging with the message “Consider taking a break.” Shocked, I clicked it off. However, it returned every fifteen minutes from then until I finally parked it at the return rental in Sioux Falls.

By the time I reached Sioux Falls, I was not only yelling at the traffic on the road, I was arguing with a compact car with a “take a rest” fetish. “Get out of the way and signal the next time you change lanes!” I screamed at the cars in traffic, before testing my tonsils on the car, yelling, “If I want a break, I’ll decide that! You can consider shutting up!” I know, I know, it was an inanimate object, but it made me feel so much better to verbally abuse it.

I made it to the hospital, was relieved to see my husband doing well and then attempted to return the car to the rental service at the airport. I had friends to pick me up and I asked them (since it was dark and I’m not all that familiar with Sioux Falls), “Do I turn right or left to head to the airport?” Now, he said left and I heard right. Because of that, I ended up taking the nickel tour of the perimeter of Sioux Falls, no mean feat, if you are familiar with Sioux Falls, which I now am!

Long story short, I made it through the drive and got the car back to the return at the airport. I kicked the tire as I left, grunting, “Consider that, you annoying pile of metal,” and made my way back to the hospital, and ended up taking my husband home in time to ring in the new year in my own house.

As “Auld Lang Sine” played on the television, I raised my glass of Pepto-Bismal and all I could think of to say was, “Goodbye, 2020 and thanks for one final kick in the pants!” And it may interest you to know that I’ll be curtailing my driving for a while, since that little road trip was enough for the whole year.

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The dastardly baby caper

Emmett Martin Jack joined our family this past couple of weeks, weighing in at 7 lbs., 7 oz. and equipped with a full head of hair. He joins two older brothers, Royce and Arthur, and is received by grandparents, uncles and aunts with a considerable amount of delight.

It was my desire to go out and perhaps spend a few days trying to lend a hand, and in a pandemic that requires some arranging. So, after squatting in my house for the required quarantine, I set out to meet the new family member.

Now, I presented my visit as an opportunity for me to do some cleaning and cooking and just get everything in apple-pie order so Mom and Dad didn’t have to do anything but mind the new baby. Given the fact that they are fully aware of my fabled inability to cook, clean or put everything in “apple-pie” order–whatever that is–I suspect they saw through the flimsy excuse to visit the new baby, and his two brothers as well.

It has been a pleasant visit, so far. The baby has all the inconsistencies and foibles of a newborn, including the inability to sleep at night. That may account for how I was not once, but twice, fooled by what I like to call the “dastardly baby caper,” and it involved, of all things, a fake baby.

When my daughter and her husband first discovered they were expecting they thought it would be a good idea to prepare the older two by getting a so-called, “realistic” newborn baby doll. The boys had the chance to interact and handle it, and thereby get a little idea what to expect. Once the real baby arrived, of course, the fake baby was set aside and forgotten–at least by me.

On my first day there, my daughter came from the bedroom, cradling Emmett in her arms. Suddenly, she whipped the baby at me, flinging him by one arm. Of course, once I had recovered from the inevitable stroke, I discovered she had faked me out with the doll, instead of having randomly flung her newborn son at me.

That was unnerving, but it wasn’t over. The next night, when I thought Emmett was in bed, his father came into the room, cradling a baby. Using the same swift, “whip the baby around by one arm” move, he induced the second heart attack of my visit.

Well, this was just too much. That dastardly fake baby was not going to give me any more cardiac moments! It took me a little while and a few naps by the new parents when the real baby was resting, but I managed to unearth the fake baby. That baby is now in my hands and is carefully and thoughtfully hidden somewhere in the house. I thought about giving them a real scare when they find it by rubbing blood on it’s mouth and having it hold a bloody knife, but that may be taking the joke too far, so I just hid the baby without adding any theatrics.

I plan to head for home in a couple of days, having done all the damage I can around here, but I will make certain that the fake baby causes no more trouble, even if that means it ends up in some random cornfield between here and home.

Welcome to the family, Emmett, and tell imposter Emmett to lay off!

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Shut up, Bing!

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It’s that time of year…when we hear one Christmas song after another, with each version of the old tunes tortured into something jazzier, or slower or just plain unrecognizable as the days go on. I accept that this is the price of a country which gets pretty excited about the holidays. I even enjoy some of the tunes that are played incessantly.

I draw the line, however, at White Christmas. I blame Bing Crosby for this tune, even though I know he didn’t write it. He is, however, the one whose voice rocketed the song to such fame that they made an entire movie about it. While I enjoy Bing Crosby’s talents, I do not share his musical sentiments concerning Christmas.

The white Christmas the song is referring to belongs to the days when the people who were to spend Christmas together were the same people who lived in the house every day. They simply bundled up, lit the stove and the candles and watched the snowdrifts piling up outside.

The song was not written for the modern world, which is incredibly mobile and where families may be living miles from each other and must travel to be together. And that travel may involve roads…icy roads…with all that “white Christmas” blowing around, blocking paths and messing with visibility!

I’ve struggled with the ambiguity of the song most of my life. As a child, I listened to the soothing tones of Bing Crosby crooning about snowflakes falling and sleigh bells in the snow while I was literally in a car skidding down the road in weather so horrid that the only way to see was to put someone out the window of the car on either side to holler if the car got too close to that ditch!

So here’s my thought. I’ll tell Bing Crosby to put a cork in that song about a white Christmas and we’ll all start hoping for a brown holiday. I would love to see a small drought from about Thanksgiving to around Valentine’s Day. At that point we can have a lovely White February and March, with the rains arriving by April Fool’s Day. No ice, no snowdrifts and not a single treetop glistening!

I know this would make it hard on those who love the winter sports, but all the skiers and snowmobilers and hockey enthusiasts will just have to forgive me. I want to be able to drive to wherever I plan to spend my holidays and I am selfish enough to not be dreaming of a white holiday!

If we do things my way, I don’t have to worry about sliding sideways down a highway in a blizzard. Weathermen all throughout the world can stop apologizing to people when they can put no snow into the Christmas forecast and I can listen to Little Drummer Boy and Silver Bells with a much happier attitude!

Have a good Christmas and a safe Christmas and if you are looking for a white Christmas…well spray some of that fake frost on your windows and dream away!

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In the deep freeze

For those of you who think this is about the cold weather, you are wrong! I am actually going to talk about cleaning my freezer. Specifically the refrigerator freezer, which is the recipient of anything I can cram into it because I am too lazy to haul it to the larger basement freezer.

My refrigerator freezer has little, subtle ways of letting me know when it needs to be cleaned. Like, when I open it, and things begin shooting out. I blame plastics for this. Everything is in plastic and slides easily, so if I haven’t crammed it in there just so, it begins to slide and creates an avalanche.

The other subtle method it uses is that it refuses to close. Oh, it shuts when I slam it and lean on it for a minute or two, but then, when I’ve gone, it sneaks open again. So, I may wake up in the morning to a freezer door slightly ajar and something suspicious dripping out of it.

This week, I have been keeping a pan lid near the refrigerator to hold up as I open the freezer so that the things sliding out don’t hit me directly. It’s a serious health issue, as I have been stabbed in the face with some of the spoiled bananas I wedge in there to “make into banana bread someday.” In addition, this morning I came into the kitchen to see that the freezer door was ajar and apparently they had voted a tin-foil wrapped chicken breast off the island, because it was hanging out, clinging desperately to the door.

Okay, so I’ll clean the freezer! Stop nagging! I stood with the door open, gazing at the maze of plastic wrapped packages, tin-foil bundles and mysterious items which had been there so long they were unrecognizable with frost. I nearly closed it again to hope for better days!

It was necessary to set up some ground rules. First, anything that I could not identify by sight or labeling went into the garbage. Second, anything stuck to the freezer floor was also given a free pass out of the house. What was it stuck down with, you might ask? The answer is I don’t know, but it was gooey and clingy and anything stuck to it was not something I wanted to eat.

I counted no less than eight ice packs, frozen solid and taking up a great deal of space. I immediately consigned them to the sink for a spring thaw. Since the last time I needed an ice pack, I used a package of frozen broccoli because the ice packs were buried so far under things I couldn’t find them, I figured I could do without them!

Cleaning the freezer always creates some interesting mysteries, even beyond, “what is in this package and why don’t I recognize the color and shape???” For instance, several months ago I put five packages of cream cheese into the freezer. Today, when I was counting out everything on the counter, there were only three packages of cream cheese. I honestly have no idea where the other two packages are. Did a thief perhaps sneak into the house and make off with two frozen packages of cream cheese?

There are also interesting collectibles in there which, because of the disorganization, have built up without my knowledge. I have always collected bananas going brown and frozen them against the possibility that I will experience a baking banana bread craze. Right now, I am the proud possessor of enough frozen bananas to make banana bread for the entire population of a small, third-world country. In addition, I have enough cheese frozen in bags to make the local pizza joint jealous. While they were scattered throughout the freezer, they didn’t seem so excessive. Collecting them into one place gives new meaning to the word, “hoarder.”

I have finished my freezer cleaning and there several items that I decided should probably be taken down and put in the large freezer in the basement. It is not so full, but it is equally messy, so when I shoved those things into the basement freezer, I looked away and slammed the lid quickly. It closed without an issue, which is a good thing…I think.

You’ll have to excuse me now, because it’s time for me to make some lunch. We’re having chicken today, because the freezer so kindly thawed some out for me. I bet your freezer doesn’t do that for you!

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Walking in a winter wonderland

I enjoy walking…my way. I like it to be in sunshine, on smooth roads, when it’s warm outside. Now, it’s hard to maintain a good walking routine when the weather gets cold and you have to get it in before you go to work. For me, walking in a winter wonderland means being bundled up in so many clothes, I look like a Goodwill donation and hoping there is no ice under my feet, because my glasses are so fogged over, I can’t see where I’m going!

The solution, of course, is to not walk outside in the “winter wonderland.” That means figuring out how to get those steps in within the confines of the house and of course, the solution to this is a treadmill. Now, this is not our first experience with treadmills. Several years ago, before I got into a walking routine, we bought a cheap treadmill. It was heavy, hard to operate, frequently malfunctioning, but on the upside, it made a great clothes hanger! When we finally lugged it out to the dump, I thought I’d never have another.

And that brings us to this week and the second treadmill of my life. This one was to be the solution to all my problems. I can use it in the early mornings in the warmth of the house. This will be good news to the neighborhood dog who is truly upset by my early morning appearance and probably upsets everyone else by his barking. But we were determined on two things: it would not be a large treadmill and it would not sit in the laundry room, thereby tempting me to turn it into a drying rack! We decided we would buy a small, easy to maneuver machine and fit it neatly in the family room between the couch and easy chair, where we could watch television.

We ordered the treadmill over the Internet and our first clue as to our miscalculation in size should have been the fact that it took two stout young men to load it onto our pickup when we did our “curbside pickup.” The second clue should have been the way the pickup sank under the load. But, we were optimistic: they always pack these things in impossibly large packages!

We knew we were in trouble when we unloaded it at home. It took both of us to drag it to the edge of the pickup box and we were unnerved by things written on the box, like “this is the heavy end.” That was written on the other end of the box from the end we were both struggling to lift! We finally got it to the steps leading down (thank heavens) to the basement and slid it down..or rather, let it slide down.

We cut it out of the box to avoid lifting it and it was then that we realized we had severely miscalculated the size. This machine, far from slipping unobtrusively between couch and chair, requires the couch to be shoved as far away as possible and even at that, I have to step on the chair to get to the treadmill. It stands almost as high as I do and makes an impressive block to the television, which I can’t see over it.

Nonetheless, I still feel good that on those icy, freezing dark mornings when I’m not sure the cars driving by can see me walking on the road, I will now be able to walk indoors on a treadmill so tall I feel like the Statue of Liberty. All of that is probably worth the pulled back muscles and footprints in my family room easy chair. The best news is that we had to move it closer to the laundry room to make it fit and when I’m walking outside this summer…it’s going to make an outstanding clothes rack!

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Reasons my girls should look into nursing homes

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I have always appreciated the fact that my children will be in the position of deciding when it might be time to send Mom and Dad to the nursing home. I am hoping to put this off as long as possible, but the events of the last few weeks make me wonder if it’s time my daughters start investigating nursing homes for their parents.

Our biggest gap has always been our ability to handle technology and I admit it; we have often relied on them to help us delve into the mystery of how you make one of those computer things work. After this week, however, we may have moved on to bigger problems.

We have relied heavily on online programming to fill the gap left by not being able to go to the movies. The children patiently set up our television to be capable of streaming those shows…and then they went home. It’s been alright, though, we can remember the password–most days, and we know how to set the television to the right settings to make it work.

We have become addicted to the Jack Ryan series out there, so we have been streaming quite a bit on the television…until the night that Roy tried and tried and failed to make that station come on. He checked the connections, he made sure they were properly plugged into the wall. Still, no luck. I turned on the wall switch so that I could use a lamp to look closer and suddenly, the station worked. It was plugged into an outlet that has always been connected to the light switch that I had turned on.

Now, Roy thinks that I figured that out and that’s why I turned on the light switch, so, yeah, we’re going to go with that. And I wish that was the end of the incident. Unfortunately, I had made the discovery shortly before the live streaming debacle that the DVD player had died. It simply would not respond to the remote nor when I pressed the buttons directly on the machine (radical, I know).

I dragged Roy to a store long enough to select and purchase a new DVD player and when we came home, I unpacked it, read all the directions and got ready to install it. Of course, before I did that, I needed to dissect the old player because it had one of my Star Trek Voyager discs in its belly and it was going to give it up. I had the DVD player and a knife in my hand, when it suddenly occurred to me that the DVD player had recently been plugged into the same set of outlets as the television’s streaming system. On a whim, I plugged it back in and flipped on the switch. The old “dead” DVD player immediately switched on and spit out my Voyager disc.

These are only a sample of what goes on around here which might be related to our succumbing to the aging process. Roy threw his back out getting out of his easy chair. In the same week, I fell up the steps and hit my nose and cheek. While he was rushing around getting towels to stem the bleeding, he said, “Oh no, people are going to think I hit you.” I was astounded: that was his first concern? I’m able to take care of myself, but during the next week, while my face healed, I got a lot of concerned questions about whether I was safe at home from people who were younger than me! Apparently, I don’t look as capable of handling myself as I used to!

Cooking has presented some real aging issues. I now have to make a grocery list so that I don’t forget the things I really need at the store and of course, I forget the list at home! I leave things out of recipes that don’t improve the taste. I am constantly putting something on to cook and then forgetting I did. I’m told the lady who invented Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies did so accidentally by adding chocolate bits to a regular cookie. The last thing I discovered accidentally while cooking was that if you put something on to cook and then forget it for the next hour, it chars in the bottom of the pan and sets off the smoke alarm. As a matter of fact, I’ve discovered that accidentally any number of times.

So you can see, it might be time for our children to start investigating the best nursing home options. I hope that doesn’t come around too soon, but those days when I put down my glasses and then can’t find them or I get out of the car without unbuckling the seatbelt, I know that it’s out there on the horizon. On an unrelated note, does anyone want to buy a brand new DVD player? I can’t figure out how to repack it in the box to return it! And I don’t remember where I put the receipt….

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Thanksgiving Thoughts


Now it stands to reason that a cooking nonconformist such as myself would not be enthused about a holiday which is grounded in what goes on the table for one, all-encompassing meal. But my inability to baste a turkey is only the beginning of my objections to the holiday.

Now, this holiday is supposed to originate from the gathering of Indians and Pilgrims at a harvest feast to give thanks. I like that premise, but the longer history haters dig into it, the more we find that the gathering didn’t happen exactly as it was presented, but the foundation was good: we should be thankful for what we have.

My objection comes from the fact that we should always be thankful, rather than reserving one day a year for it. In addition, I think a better premise for it might be to do as John Steinbeck instructs us to in The Grapes of Wrath: help each other regardless of what we have. I wonder if sometimes God holds his head on Thanksgiving and says, “Okay, okay, so you’re thankful for your BMW and your vacation home on Maui. Now go out and feed a homeless person or house a refugee!” (Disclaimer: God has not actually told me this is what He thinks; it is merely my opinion.)

Of course, my biggest problem with Thanksgiving is the food. I could handle the hundreds of side dishes (spare me the green bean casserole, please), but the turkey has become a lethal weapon. It wasn’t bad enough that we had to rise before the sun was up or the chickens crowed to put the bird in the oven to rest quietly while we couldn’t. Now, we risk our lives by trying to deep fry the thing whole. If the fryer doesn’t blow up or catch fire, we are still risking cardiac arrest devouring all that deep-fried poultry! What has the world come to?

Thanksgiving’s location also causes me angst. I think every student in America would tell you a better location might be the end of May, celebrating school being out. And before you tell me that’s too close to Memorial Day, consider its location now. You are still drying out the bread for the Thanksgiving stuffing, when they start playing that Hershey’s Kisses commercial where they form a Christmas bell and chime out We Wish You a Merry Christmas. At least on Memorial Day, they could use a good meal after honoring our glorious dead. With Christmas so hard on the heels of Thanksgiving, we are in a two-month orgy of non-stop foods that will undo the hard work we do to care for our bodies the other ten months! No wonder January is such a big month for health clubs and exercise equipment!

Thanksgiving placed where it is also signals the official beginning of the shopping season. Black Friday hits like a punch between the eyes and every year (okay, maybe not so much this one), people will stand in cold lines waiting for stores to open early so that can get a deal on appliances they don’t need and Christmas trivia that will disappear before another year rolls around. We are still picking the turkey out of our teeth when we are bombarded with the heartfelt tearjerker commercials for everything from refrigerators to cars to coffee. And don’t even start me on the Christmas movies which start long before Thanksgiving and run non-stop on the same script…different names!

With all due respect to the turkey and the thanks and the family gatherings, I really can’t seem to raise much enthusiasm for the November notion of Thanksgiving. Let’s just remember to give thanks all year round and I think the original harvest gatherers will understand and a turkey will definitely thank you for it!

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