OLD AND FUNNY

My friend, Rosie, told me she and her main squeeze, Charlie, went out to dinner and to a comedy club the other night.  Rosie and Charlie are old.  In fact, Rosie is 12 years older than Charlie.  Since Charlie is old, that makes Rosie REALLY old.  Anyway…they sat in the front row (bad idea at a comedy club), and the comediens zeored in and landed on them like bees on honeysuckle.  I don’t know why an elderly couple out for an evening of fun and frivolity is considered amusing, but apparently they are.  The humor was vulgar and “raunchy” according to Rosie, and the comedien, apparently an expert on AIDS and the eldery, informed the crowd that senior citizens are the fasting growing group to contract the virus.  He then stated that he had heard of an old people’s orgy and similar tidbits that passed for humor.  Rosie didn’t say she was squirming in her seat, but I don’t doubt that she was.  If she hadn’t been with Charlie, I’m quite certain she would have gotten up and walked out, but Rosie is an accommodating kind of gal, which also might explain why those rotten comediens are still alive. 

Rosie said there were a bunch of gorgeous young girls at the club, and she and Charlie were by far the oldest people there.  She said she didn’t really enjoy herself.  What she didn’t say is she felt humiliated, but I think she did.  I could hear it in her voice, and, after all, who wouldn’t be!

For goodness sake, people,  Can’t two people who happen to have been on the planet a long time just be treated like everybody else?  Do they have to be considered an odditiy and an opportunity for a no-talent comedien to generate sheepish laughter at their expense?  

The “show” (discomfort) didn’t end till 1:AM.  Rosie is not a night owl, and she said she was half asleep, which probably made her feel even more vulnerable.  It’s so wierd the way younger people either discount or feel free to poke fun at old people.  Seriously, do they really think they will never grow old?  Well, some of them won’t live that long, but that’s not what most people want.  Actually they want to live a long long time in a youthful state.  Right…good luck with that.

Rosie is pretty resillient, so I’m sure she will be fine.  She has certainly weathered far more significant storms.  This incident is just a light drizzle in comparison.   Still it’s not fair that being old makes you a target, and I’m sure there won’t be another late night celebration in the near future and definitely no front seats in an establishment where an old couple is the main act.  

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GOING FOR THE SILVER

For months now I have been deliberating about whether to dye my hair.  It’s not that my silvery locks are anything new.  I have been dying my hair for years now.  In fact, up until three years ago I couldn’t have even told you how much gray was in my hair. I just made sure the gray was covered with a chestnut-brown color as soon as the new growth started to appear.  Everything changed when I was hit by a car while crossing the street in October of 2009.  During my recovery, I had other things on my mind besides my hair color.  Without giving it much consideration, I suddenly had a head full of silver curls instead of my usual brown.  I vaguely thought I would probably color it again, but  I didn’t, at least not right away, and then one day I decided it was time, and out came the dye once again.  I guess I wasn’t all the way ready to embrace the gray and, to be frank, the older appearance that comes with gray hair.  

Of course dyed hair doesn’t stay dyed.  It has to be kept up on a regular basis.  I had never liked what the process did to the texture of my hair.  It always seemed okay in the beginning, but over time it would become dry and “crispy.”  I also did a lot of research about toxins in our cosmetics, shampoos, deodorants and, of course, hair dye.  Any product that can change the color of your hair has to be pretty chemical laden, even the ones that are the gentlest.  I kept reading that there was really no safe hair color, particularly in the darker shades, and I just couldn’t see myself as a blonde. The skin on the scalp is thin, and anything you put on it is going to permeate that barrier.  The skin is actually our largest organ, and is meant to protect the body.  Sometimes you can know too much to keep doing something, even if part of you wants to continue.

Another issue that nagged at me is society’s obsession with youth.  I was trying to decide how much I was personally willing to buy into it.  I do believe there’s nothing wrong with trying to look as good as you can for as long as you can…within reason.  For instance, I’m diligent about putting coconut and other beneficials oils on my skin, but I pass on the Botox.  I put on a light coat of make-up in the morning even if I’m not leaving the house.  After all, the house I live in is not devoid of mirrors, and I want to see myself in the best possible light.  Every woman just has to assess how far she’s willing to go.  Still whatever you do, you have to come to grips with the fact that you are never going to look 20 when you are 50.  Yes, you can still be vital, beautiful and even sexy looking, but if you insist on trying to perpetually look 20, you will look perpetually foolish instead, and that’s not a good look for anybody.

I did almost succumb to coloring my hair recently.  My 11-year-old grandson regarded me balefully and said in a sad voice “Grandma, your hair is gray now, so I’m afraid you are going to pass away in a couple of years.”  I felt this little painful jolt, and for a moment I thought “Yes, of course, I MUST color my hair even if it is only to reassure my grandson.”  When I mentioned Isaiah’s remark to my oldest daughter, her response was “He must think Auntie Rita is ALREADY dead.”  I can barely remember my older sister sporting anthing but a mass of silver curls, since her hair has been gray for about 30 years!

I do have a box of blonde dye in my nightstand drawer.  They sell this brand at Whole Foods, and it’s supposed to be less harsh and contain less bad stuff than most dyes.  Also the fact that it’s a light color is supposed to be better, but as I said before, I don’t really see myself as a blonde, perhaps because my hair has been medium to dark brown for so many years, and it’s how I’m used to seeing myself.  It’s just that it’s taken quite awhile to grow into this almost all silver shade, and it’s actually a pretty color.  In fact, I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it.  It seems to be pretty evenly divided.  Some people say leave it as is, and some people say change it.  Everyone does agree that people look older with gray hair even if you have the face of a debutaune.  What if I do dye my hair blonde, and it comes out so light that I look like an albino? (no offense to albinos intended). 

For this moment in time, I have cast my lot with the color silver.  I feel more secure in my decision after talking to a friend who has  grey hair yesterday.  She is in her fifties and in great shape with a short, flattering haircut and nice features.  She was quick to point out the benefits (people treat you with more respect, etc) and is very happy with her decision.  She certainly is not second guessing herself like me.  Earlier today I called a friend who couldn’t talk, because her daughter was dying her hair, and suddenly I felt a little envious, because Maureen will soon have dark hair with nary a trace of gray, and I will still have my gray hair even if I do get more respect than her.

I’m sure glad God tells us He will continue to love us even with feeble knees and gray hair, although I can do without the feeble knees, and the jury’s still out about the hair. 

EAT TO LIVE OR LIVE TO EAT

 Some days I have a hard time finding the balance between eating healthy and eating yummy.  Not that there isn’t plenty of enjoyable healthy foods that I regularly partake of.  It’s just that triple fudgy brownies and biscuits with gravy tend to fall exclusively into the second category, and I want those too.  It can get complicated.  For instance, chicken is a healthy food, but what if I want mine with a pile of fluffy dumplings swimming in creamy gravy or fried all golden brown and crispy, and the truth is I don’t really like boneless skinless chicken, which obviously contains far less fat and calories but also delivers far less flavor and a rubbery texture.

I have read several books on nutrition and the relationship between food and maintaining health or the lack thereof.  Who wouldn’t choose the option of a vibrant healthy old age compared to turning into a decrepit wreck?  Obviously I would prefer the former, but I would also prefer a hot fudge sundae when I’m not in the mood for Swiss chard.  So I find myself wondering how often I can ease up a bit and how much yummy vittles can I ingest?  Do I need to eat a bushel of kale to earn half a chocolate chip cookie?  What about the days when you just throw caution to the wind and eat pancakes for breakfast, pizza with a shake for lunch and meat and potatoes for dinner?  Can I expect to keel over one day as I enjoy that last forkful of key lime pie?   I want to be able to relax a bit without turning my body into a magnet for diabetes, cancer and morbid obesity.  I also   don’t want regard my dinner with fear,  yet the correlation between what we put into our mouth and how soon they put us into the ground seems irrefutable (unless you count the people who live to be 100 and insist they smoke cigars and chug a lug moonshine, but they are probably aliens.)

So the question I am asking myself is “What is my food philosophy?”  Am I eating to live or living to eat.  Eating to live sounds completely boring.  It’s akin to a vehicle requiring fuel so it can move.  I’m sure the car gets no pleasure out of being filled with gas.  It’s nothing more than a necessity, but I definitely do get pleasure from a mound of garlic mashed potatoes (hey, the garlic is healthy for sure, even though white potatoes used to make them tend to take a beating).

I guess I will just continue to use extra virgin olive oil and try to eat more fruits and veggies, but not freak out over chicken fried steak.  The Word of God reminds  us that these bodies are mortal and that bodily exercise profitith little when compared to feeding our souls with the bread of life.  Now that’s what I call comfort food!

BOO HONEY BOO BOO

I have never watched TLC’s Honey Boo Boo show, but already I’ve had it up to here with her.  Well, not her, exactly.  After all she’s just a child, but the incessant commercials are just way too much.  Still, I could handle all the hype until this latest barrage of craziness concerning the scratch and sniff card insert in People Magazine.  I realize I could simply turn off the TV, but the fact is I like to watch “A Baby Story” in the mornings.  Sometimes I watch two or three segments, and that involves an awful lot of advertising…namely Honey Boo Boo.

These commercials about the way the Boo Boo clan smells is, to revive an old-school word, crass.  Perhaps I should be used to it, since few topics appear to be off limits in today’s world, and our veneer of civilized behavior seems to be wearing thinner by the day.  Still these commercials stand out even in a sea of sleasy advertising.  The narrator’s cheery voice informs us that “We’ve seen then; we’ve heard them, and now we are going to SMELL THEM!”  Oh goody!  I can’t be the only one who would prefer not to use that particular sense with the Boo Boo Bunch.  The commercial goes on to reveal smelly armpits, horrible breath and stinky farts.  It is all so disgusting!  I never seem to get used to it’s ick factor either.  Every time it comes on, I cringe  and have started questioning how much I really want to watch “A Baby Story.”  I think I’m moving towards not so much if I have to hear this stinking commercial a million times.

Thank God, I don’t subscribe to People Magazine.  I don’t even like it when those subscription cards fall out.  If I had to behold that “scratch and smell card,” that would put me over the top.  I’m just incredulous that People Magazine apparently feels this is a sensible move to reel in new readers.  Actually I’m even more incredulous if they are right!

 

 

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH COOKBOOKS

I love to eat, and I enjoy feeding other people, so as you might expect my book shelves are not lacking in cookbooks.  The fact is, I have an insane amount of cookbooks even though I prune them like trees every three or four months.  My bedroom isn’t very big, so I don’t have a large bookcase, and it can only accomodate a certain number of books.  There is a bookcase in the living room too, and my designated shelves are bursting with more cookbooks.  The majority of them are a joy to behold, because I’ve gotten rid of all the mediocre ones.  They have great recipes and the kind of foodie photographs that make you want to run out and buy a huge Viking stove like the pros use.  Every time I get a new cookbook, I turn the pages reverently beholding the beauty and bonding potential of a perfectly roasted chicken or a moist, fragrant carrot cake weighted down by a boat load of fluffy cream cheese frosting.  I determine I will roast the chicken, bake the cake and invite people over to partake of a memorable feast.  Of course, they will gush over my cooking skills and lament about how rare it is to have a homemade meal anymore.  

This mental meal planning creates a need to purchase items like lavender sugar, sea salt with black truffles and double Devon cream, because if I’m going to create a special meal, I need special ingredients, right?  I also require numerous kitchen appliances such as scone pans, mini tea cake trays, and large rectangular bakers, and all of these I have acquired and then some.  That’s why there is currently kitchen paraphanalia under my bed, because, like the book shelves, I’ve exceeded my designated cupboard space as well.

So do I turn to my cookbooks when I plan a sumptuous feast?  No, I do not.  I usually cook something I could make blind folded because I’ve done it so many times before, or, in a pinch, I place my laptop on my dining room table, locate a desired recipe and run backwards and forwards from computer to kitchen assembling the ingredients as my glossy-paged cookbooks sit on the shelves with only each other for compmay.  There are so many of them, and if I started dragging them out trying to find that elusive recipe I’m looking for, I would just have to put them all back afterwards.  Even if I could go right to the cookbook I’m seeking, I would have to bring it into the kitchen with me.  Once pristine kitchen surfaces tend not to remain that way when I cook, so I can only imagine what would happen to my cookbooks if they left the serenity of my bedroom to accompany me into kitchen chaos.  Almost certainly their pretty pages would soon be covered in flour, chocolate or extra virgin oiive oil (three of my culinary staples), and why should I risk that when I have so many reliable recipes in my head and on my computer?

It’s obvious I will never need another cookbook in this lifetime, since I don’t even look at the ones I have, but they do call to me somehow.  However, every time I’m tempted, I’m going to read my own post and be my own voice of sanity! 

Hello, my name is Barbara, and I’m an

Hello, my name is Barbara, and I’m an addict, but perhaps I need to qualify that statement.  No, I don’t crave a crack pipe, and I’m not mad for meth.  You will never find a needle, a bottle or a bong in my bedroom.  Nor, will you ever catch me crouched in front of a dumpster hoping to find a left over pizza crust or some fast food fries somebody has left behind.  Actually I am a bit of a foodie, but if I was going to go that route, I would hope to hang out near the Whole Foods bin or lurking  in the back of a four star eatery.  My addiction, however, is far more insidious and much more accepted by mainstream society.  Yes, I am a junkie alright, but the monkey on my back may not be what you think.

My main drug of choice is Amazon, and I don’t mean that distant locale of rain forests and unpolluted beauty.  It is Amazon shopping that beckons me with its siren call of convenience, value and exotic food items from faraway ports.  

I confess that I have not always been true to Amazon and have, at times, been seduced by email alerts that I seem to have signed up for.  At times I have rushed into the welcoming arms of Macy’s, Abe’s Market and Pier One Imports to name a few.  What could I do?  They were having one-day sales, and such deals might never come up again in my lifetime.  I have succumbed to their allure, but, somehow, my heart always returns to it’s first online love…Amazon.

I love to read, and I like to cook, so I have managed to amass a ridiculous amount of cookbooks.  When they first show up, I look through them marveling at the glossy pages and amazing photography.  I imagine rustling up a praise-worthy feast, but I usually don’t, because online recipes are so accessible.  Besides, when you have a kazillion cookbooks, it’s hard to remember what recipe is in what book, and who has the motivation to even try? Lest you think I’m lost in my cookbook addiction, be aware that I have gone through them at least three times recently and given away copious amounts,  because I have no room for all of these books, and somewhere inside me there is a minimilist trying to emerge and live the simple, unclutterd life.  The minimilist and the hoarder are at odds with each other, and I’m not going to tell you who seems to be winning.  Just don’t look under my bed, and be careful not to trip over any potruding cookware lest you sustain an injury.  Remember you have been warned.

Sometimes I go weeks without ordering anything, and I think I have conquered my addiction, but just when I become overly confident, I forget that pride goeth before the fall.  Perhaps I can locate a 12-step program.  I will find a sponsor, and when I put too many items in my  shopping cart in the midnight hour, they will receive a frantic phone call.  AA members use something called THE BIG BOOK to guide them in their recovery, and I should probably pick one up, cause I think it will be a valuable aid.

Do you think Amazon carries it?