Category Archives: vegetables

Summertime Serenade

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This poem was written last summer

to celebrate the 2014 season.

It will be my “encore” serenade to you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s hear it for Summer, 2015!

If you are in another season…

Hope it is a wonderful time for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~*x*x*x*~~~~~~~~~~~

Summertime Serenade

by Robin Oldrieve Cochran

Shimmering sun shines through haze,

“Shoo!” to flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

“Sh-h-h” – settling down – naptime now.

Silent respite, serene moments.

Sensation of peace surrounding home.

Skinny-dipping, slippery babies,

Slide smoothly into cool water.

Swing soars high into the sky,

Shoes kicked off, sandals flipped. . .

Splashing sounds, as hands release!

Sprinklers shifting, swishing rhythmically,

Sprays of warm water change.

Shivering, cold droplets follow: “Br-r-r!”

Soaking grateful kids, dogs and grass.

(Cats hiss!)

Shrieks ring out:  joy and sheer delight.

Sensational salads whet appetites.

Sliced fresh vegetable from garden,

Savory spices of basil with sprigs of parsley,

Soaked with slippery vinaigrette dressing poured,

Sizzling barbecue aromas, family gathering,

Should I bring something?

. . . Satisfaction!

June 28, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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In a recent article, I read about someone who designed a “Pizza

Garden.” This inspired me to suggest you grow a vegetable garden

focusing on your children’s favorite foods.They will be more likely

interested in the garden’s outcome, if they enjoy the idea of what

it will end up in, in a prepared dish.

Since today we are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I thought of some

vegetables that would be wonderful to include in a Mexican dish.

For next year’s Cinco de Mayo, grow a “Tacos Garden!”

In my son’s garden, he grew red, yellow, and green peppers, hot

red chili peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, potatoes, onions,

corn, watermelons and pumpkins.

Last year, my son and his wife ‘canned’ the red, green and yellow

peppers and onions by being given small batches a quick dunk in

boiling hot water. Waiting for them to cool and then, freeze them in

large freezer quart Zip Lock bags, pressing them to remove all the

air bubbles.

I call this process, ‘flash freezing,’ but not sure if they told me this

or if it is really the correct label.

There may be a more accurate way of describing and naming this

process. My son and daughter-in-law chose to chop onions and

put them in freezer bags. They also used the method of scraping

the kernels off their ears of corn, where they could then boil them,

cool them and pack in freezer bags.

I think you may find how many seconds you boil each food item on

the internet, since they said you don’t want to boil any of the items

too much or they will be ‘mushy,’ when you defrost them.

For a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta meal, you could defrost onions, corn,

and choose your favorite peppers. While waiting to get olive oil,

in a skillet, nice and hot, finely chop up onions and the peppers.

When you have lightly browned the vegetables, set them aside.

If you use a pre-packaged taco seasoning, I recommend the

lower salt ones available.

If you already have a natural pack, or spice jar, prepared with

your favorite taco seasonings, add some of this to the skillet

with the appropriate amount of hot water.

The oil from the onions and peppers will be fine, if you don’t

get it too brown, or black. (Yikes!)

I like to use 80% lean beef, but have used cooked chicken cubes

or ground turkey.

If you are a vegan, you may find some recipes for using other

thickening agents.

On one of my last year’s comments, Celeste had added a link

which will help you out.

Some suggestions were to use tofu, eggplant, kidney beans and

other kinds of beans. If you do this, you may wish to use a soft

shell taco or tortilla.

I like to also top the meat with sliced tomatoes, but if you have

canned diced tomatoes, you may wish to use these.

Drain, of course, and add to the meat, once it has been cooked.

I usually make guacamole, purchase sour cream and low salt salsa

to add for extra spices.

You may vary this informal recipe, but the main focus I wished to

impart was,

This is the time to start planning your vegetable garden!

Having children get involved, is so much more fun and easily

done, when you call the garden, a “Pizza” or “Tacos” garden!

This idea was used in a public area by the Delaware Community

Market. There was a nifty, helpful article called,

“Growing Pizza in Delaware,” by Deena Kloss, in the July, 2013

edition of the free magazine, “Natural Awakenings.”

Here is a list of spices, that the children in the Delaware

gardening “Kids’ Club” planted last year, in the early part

of June:

1. basil

2. parsley

3. tomatoes

4. peppers

5. onions

The “Kids’ Club” was led by garden volunteers, Bob Sullivan-Neer

and Master Gardeners, Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas.

They also produced radishes, snap peas and arugula in raised

garden beds.

An amusing sight in the community gardens is a pink painted

step ladder, that got too ‘rickety’ to be used as a ladder. Some

purple morning glory vines were flowering last summer. They are

such a lovely sight!

Another interesting and fun way to ‘recyle’ old and no longer

useful household items included a wooden head- and footboard,

painted bright yellow. Some old wooden pallets, buried partially in

the ground, then, filled with dirt became literally a “flower bed!”

Brightly colored zinnias were popping out, making the kids happy,

last year, to pick bouquets for their parents. I like portulaca, since

you can pinch the dying seed pods and save to plant again the

following summer. They are quite hardy and colorful.

*******************************************************************************

I have added updates throughout this post about children’s

input in gardening.

I babysat my four grandchildren last Saturday night while their

parents had a much needed dinner out and a movie. The kids

were put in ‘charge’ of drawing or listing, foods that would be

ones they would like to grow in their garden.

My son had used individual art pads, using a ruler to add some

lines under the area their drawings would go.

I thought of another way of doing a garden art project, could be

to give the kids old gardening catalogs, scissors, glue sticks and

allow them to practice their cutting and gluing skills.

The grandchildren were excited about the project, which did help

me to keep them occupied for almost an hour. The littlest one,

age 4, Makyah decided that her scribbling free form vegetable

garden was rather hard to explain. I asked her if she would like

me to write her special vegetables, fruits and flowers down on

the lines provided. I also praised (of course!) her lovely use of

colors and designs.

I asked Kyah what the yellow swirls were and she labeled them,

“Corn.”

I wondered what the big bushes of green were and she said,

“Lettuce.”

She had purple stuff, which I asked if they were purple cabbage

and I remembered, too late, a valuable lesson:

**Note:  Never, ever try to guess what children’s drawings are!!

Kyah looked quite impatient and annoyed at me, scolding me,

“No, Nana! Can’t you tell those are flowers?!”

I asked if she knew what kind they were and in a rather superior

tone she said,

“Daddy will know what kind!”

Both Lara, age 10 1/2, and Landen, age 9, drew beautiful and

elaborate gardens with details. They needed some help with

spelling, but the finished projects were awesome.

Marley, age 6 1/2, was very excited about her drawing, stayed

the longest at the table, with her hands covering some of her

drawings, too.

Children will get excited as the plants grow and change. My

older grandchildren say their very favorite ones that came out

of last year’s garden were:

Corn on the cob, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes.

They mentioned having fried potatoes with onions and since

their mother doesn’t like onions, they told me,

“Daddy makes Mommy her own ‘batch’ of fried potatoes for her

breakfast!

Last but not least, you may remember that their garden produced

a ‘minor miracle’ last Fall!

Exactly 6 pumpkins, just in time for Halloween!

(One for each member of the family, parents included.)

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“Yo espero que tengan a muy bueno dia y hasta la luego!”

Sorry, I am not sure why the ’tilda’ on the 2 “n’s” did not appear!

I am not positive but I tried to say in my ‘rusty’ Spanish,

“I hope you had a very good day and see you when we meet again.”

Abrazos y besos.

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

A Tale of November Events

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Last week, the Earl of Sandwich had his special day,

We enjoy his creation of a portable edible delight.

While knowing by asking his servant to make this,

Earl was able to continue playing his game of cards.

(John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, November 3rd)

 

Next, came the Honor Roll Call of all who have served,

The sound of a Trumpet recognizing their heroism.

Those who stayed behind needing some recognition,

Letters sent overseas showed their loving devotion.

(Veteran’s Day, November 11th)

 

Graceful origami birds are world travelers on their way,

Celebrating an intricate Japanese paper-folding craft.

The peaceful days will bring brightly colored paper,

Creating delicate treasures to hang or put on shelves.

(World Origami Days, October 24 – November 11th)

 

It began with Little Violet holding the football,

For Trusting Charlie Brown to kick.

She became scared and pulled it up and away.

From then on, Fearless Lucy was the “mean girl,”

Who every year prevented Charlie Brown’s kick.

Poor Charlie Brown, disappointed again,

Ever optimistic for the coming year.

 

November 11, 1951 (Violet) only once.

November 16, 1956 (Lucy) annually ever since.

Celebrating Memories of

Charles M. Schulz’s

“Peanuts” Gang’s

Annual Football  Ritual

 

Kindness spreads far and wide across the globe,

Adding importance to this joyful day of giving.

Find someone who is quiet or seems lonely,

Smile at neighbors and share special times.

(World Kindness Day, November 13th)

 

Purse your lips they may be sour, as in Dill,

Lick your lips they are sweet, as in Bread and Butter.

Chew and crunch down on those crisp vegetables,

Enjoy this yummy, centuries’ old way to preserve food.

(National Pickle Day, November 14th)

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

~* 11/12/14 *~

 

 

 

November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Smile

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How do some people smile all the time, while carrying worries, concerns and other

challenges in their daily lives? This information will fill an aisle of books, in a large

bookstore and possibly be the sole purpose in some blogs and television shows. What

new ways can get your ‘groove’ back? I am not sure if any of these are particularly

“new,” but I am as sure as the “sun will come up tomorrow,” some of these may bring

you a new ‘lease on life!’ (Yes, “Annie,” the musical play and movie, does remind us

that it is a “hard knocks’ life,” along with how we should try to face every new day.)

 

Suggestions for getting happy feelings started in your mind, also getting your energy

revived and other ways for getting out of your funk will be found here. If I were a

speaker, I may try a joke:

 

“There was an elderly man who wanted his younger wife to become pregnant. It was

something she desired also. He went to his family doctor asking for him to suggest

ways of making this result come about. The doctor suggested going to a fertility expert,

so the man set up another appointment. He went on his own, since his athletic wife was

busy taking her tennis lessons.

The specialist’s receptionist gave him a specimen cup to take home and bring back the

next day. She explained what he needed to do to fill it, along with telling him to put it in

the refrigerator overnight. This would get the ‘ball rolling.’ No other way to find out what

level his sperm count would be until he brought this back.

The excited man left the office, with a little more pep in his step.

The patient came back with an empty specimen cup. The receptionist could see the man’s

deflated ego, his head was drooping. She did not ask him a thing,  since she could not

imagine the complications he had run into while collecting the specimen. She had the

dejected gentleman sit down, explaining to him that he must wait to see the doctor.

After reading a few magazines and the newspaper, the man was ready to leave the office,

irritated that such a simple action, which had produced children with his first wife, meant

he had to go through all this trouble again.

When he was escorted into one of the private rooms, the doctor came in and closed the

door behind him. The specialist asked when the empty specimen cup was given to him,

“What exactly was the problem?”

The frustrated man exclaimed,

“Well, I tried it with my right hand. . . nothing.

I tried it with my left hand. . . again, nothing.

So, my wife came home from her tennis lesson, she tried this with her right hand. . .

nothing!

She decided to try her left hand. . .same results.

Then, she used her mouth. . . nothing!”

The doctor stopped this, since he was really shocked at the lack of response from

any of these practices.

The impatient man nearly shouted,

“Wait, doctor, I have to tell you more!”

The fertility specialist paused and said, “Proceed.”

“Well, we were desperate! I ended up asking my wife to invite our neighbor over,

since she is her best friend. . .”

The doctor incredulous interrupted,

“Wait a minute, did you say your wife’s friend tried this, too?”

The man exasperatingly sat down, saying in a low voice,

“Yeah, and we still couldn’t get the lid off the freaking specimen cup!”

 

Here are a few “Prevention Magazine” suggestions for ‘tapping your

inner peace and bringing some joy into your life.

 

1. “Do something called, “the ho’oponopono.”

This is a source of Hawaiian calm and doesn’t mean you need to drink

some Mai-Tai’s or dance at a luau. It is simply repeating these words

in a chant, which helps spread some warmth into your life. Murmuring

the “ho’oponopono” mantra is all about forgiveness. You, your family,

your enemy and the ones who have made your stomach get in a knot.

It means literally, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”

By saying this in a low, quiet way, you will ease your anger, untighten

your thoughts and body, along with lowering your blood pressure.

“Try this, you may like it!”

(Source, “The Hormone Cure,” by Sara Gottfried, M.D.)

 

2. “Spritz a scent.”

There are essential oils which can bring you vitality, exuberance,

evoke special memories. Go to your favorite natural products store

and sniff testers until you find a couple of them which give you that

“Ah-h-h!” all over feeling. Good ones which bring many pleasant

feelings are lavender, orange, sage, and ylang-ylang. I like to head

to the Yankee Candle Company, which I know there are some who

will tell you that burning candles means there are pieces of ‘wick’

floating in the air. (My sister in law told me this before I ever read

this!) But, you can get a candle warmer, choosing your favorite scent.

In the fall, I enjoy and savor pumpkin spice, Home Sweet Home, and

country apple… I also found “Woodland Walk” at Meijer’s which has

a very different scent and it doesn’t cause me to want to eat cookies!

 

3. In 2011, a Michigan State University conducted a study of customer-

service employees. They found that ones who smiled throughout the

day, by thinking positive thoughts, reported feeling more serene overall.

I certainly would feel great if the customer service people would carry

this practice out. But I also did not see in the study, that there must

surely be a reward. By smiling; you get smiles back. This perpetuates

the positive activity. “Psychological Science,” (2013) published the results

which include smiling lowers your body’s stress response and also, can

even overcome ‘road rage,’ if one tries to smile in traffic jams!

 

4. Plant something. (If you are in warmer season now)

or Rake some leaves or clean your garden out. (If you are entering the

cooler season, where your plants need to be covered, the remains of

stems and messes need to be ‘mucked out.)

According to research done in a recent study, gardening is an even more

effective stress reliever than reading a good book! This was done in Holland.

There is also evidence microbes found in soil, may lift your mood, from an

older British study conducted in 2007. If you wish to clean your garden out,

digging in the dirt can also be a good way to greet Autumn’s weather changes,

along with feeling like you accomplished a big task. For me, I love the idea of

building a big pile of leaves, after using physical effort which does get your

endorphins going, and asking your children/grandkids/ neighbor kids or

a silly adult friend or two, to jump into the leaves with you!

 

5. Pet a cat, dog, gerbil or ?

If you don’t have a pet to take care of, it is always uplifting to go to an animal

shelter and offer to walk a dog. If you are a cat person, you are always welcome

to pet the kitties, there may be other unusual animals to see and touch, too. I

have a good friend whose two cats came from a farmer who was over-run with

cats. They are adorable calico cats, which I will be cat-sitting in just a week and

a half from now.

 

6. Offering to read to someone’s child, at the library. Volunteering for a monthly

obligation of being a classroom ‘helper’ or a ‘library aide’ are other ways to get your

spirits lifted.

 

Baking cookies is always a treat for me, along with my grandchildren. I am going to

share a company called “Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.” She has 400 employees,

over 2 million dollars sales in only 12 days of being located at the Minnesota State

Fair. Wow! People want cookies!! This retired elementary school teacher may be fun

to look up and get inspired.

 

Here are two books I can guarantee you will feel are ‘guilty pleasures’ but really will

entertain you! I did not skim nor read just the book jacket for these two FUN books!

 

1. “The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating,” by Carole Radziwill. It is considered Popular

Fiction. The author was on the television show, “The Real Housewives of New York.” This

is a very satisfying read, one that used to be considered a ‘Beach book.’ Why does it have to

be summer-time to choose an indulgent piece of fluff, which may surprise you with some

deeper meaning, more than you would expect from a ‘real housewife!’ She was, after all,

an award-winning former journalist/reporter. Her book, “What Remains,” was critically

acclaimed, about the memoir of her marriage after her husband died of cancer in 1999.

The widow may not be based on herself, but her wry sense of humor, her simple writing

without frills, will be possibly one of the moving, insightful books you will enjoy this year.

2. “Confessions of a Counterfeit Country Farm Girl,” made me burst into laughter, each

time a new chapter started. This woman, like Carole R. above, is one who captures your

imagination and pulls your leg, getting you to picture all kinds of lively challenges in an

uprooted lifestyle. She is Susan McCorkindale, one of my friends, in my mind! Here are

some of the chapters I loved, “Days of Whining the Big Wigs,” “Get Down on the Farm,”

and the “Chick in the Mail.” The author was really running with the big wigs being the

former marketing director of both “Family Circle” and “Sports Illustrated.” Her husband’s

choice of farm living to raise their boys, involves the whole story, including learning how

to buy appropriate footwear, helping her boys to not always be the dirtiest kids, and how

to order different products, fertilizer, seeds, and of course baby chicks.

 

Eight Simple Steps to Have All Day Energy: Mini-Meals

1. Get up every day at the same time and eat something OTHER than refined carbs.

Suggestion in the August, 2014 “Prevention Magazine,”

Try some hunks of cheese, fruit and a scrambled egg.

2. When you have another hour until lunch, your cortisol levels are dipping, as is

your energy. So, go ahead and have a second cup of coffee.

3. Adding nuts to your day, will help you stay ‘full’ longer throughout the day.

Recommended only 1.5 ounces of almonds. Oh my, I hope you know how to measure

this delicious snack!

4. Lunch time.

Meat, protein if a vegan, eggs, avocado (decreases people’s appetites by as much as

40%) some fiber and vegetables. A salad with chicken, tomatoes and spring greens,

with some whole grain crackers, instead of croutons. This meal is supposed to be your

‘main’ meal of the day. You still have time to wear off the calories when you walk around

the block, catching up with your kids, friend or husband.

5. Sip water or herbal tea, (I love Bengal Tiger Tea, which is aromatic, cinnamon

and has, I believe some chicory in it.) Dehydrated people report more headaches

and dips in mood.

6. Carrots and hummus, yogurt with blueberries and a drizzle of honey, …

Suggestions for a small snack to ‘beat’ the mid-afternoon slump.

7. Dinner.

Balanced but not heavy. Your meal should not include greasy or spicy food, particularly

as we age. This can interfere with your sleep and also cause heartburn. It may also leave

you groggy in the morning.

8. A light carb-rich snack is okay, according to a new Yale review and American Journal

of Clinical Nutrition. Include a banana, milk or something that is not too heavy. I like the

idea of cookies, my favorite one is oatmeal raisin cookie. (My real favorite one is white

chocolate macadamia nut but am sure this is not allowed on this good food plan!) Often,

I go against protocol, so a small bowl of ice cream or a ‘treat’ is what will make me smile

before I go to bed at night. . . or a small goblet of wine or hard apple cider!

 

Dean Koontz quotation:

“Happiness is a choice. That sounds Pollyanna-ish, but it’s not; you can make it or not.

Readers (of Dean Koontz), over the years, say what they love about my books is that they’re

full of hope, and that’s the way I see life.

If you always dwell on what went wrong in the past it’s almost hopeless.

So, I don’t dwell.”

Check out Dean Koontz’s newest thriller: “Innocence,” at bookstores or the library.

 

 

100 Years

Standard

Happy Centennial Celebrations for two products that go so well together!

Morton’s Salt and “Jolly Time Popcorn!” Although popcorn has been around

for many more than 100 years, the first time that it was labeled and sold was as,

“Jolly Time Popcorn.” The little girl on the Morton’s Salt is looking still young

for her 100 years representing her company!

Workers at the “Jolly Time” factory have packaged millions of pounds of non-

GMO kernels from local owned farms in Mid-West U. S. A. Popping corn was

considered a treat to be made in a pan on the stove, sometimes over a fire or in

a special popcorn ‘cooker’/popper. My grandkids probably would recognize

the air popper I have and microwave popcorn their parents pop for them.

Then, some people decided that it was not ‘good’ for us, since we tend to cover

it (smother it!) with butter or melted margarine.

Finally, as many food situations evolve or do a complete turn-around, we are

embracing popcorn once again! Yeah!  I like to use my ‘air popper’ and add

parmesan cheese or Bragg’s yeast that is cheesy tasting. You can find it in the

health food aisle, I read about it in Prevention Magazine, along with hearing

about it from my youngest daughter, who sprinkles it on broccoli or cauliflower

for added nutrients and flavor.

I sure do love movie theater popcorn, caramel corn or popcorn balls. I like

that they have now decided popcorn is “healthy for us,” with its three good

qualities:

~whole grain

~fiber

~anti-oxidants.

Let’s be jolly and jovial while celebrating 100 years of this delicious popcorn!

 

In 1914, the Morton Salt girl looked like Shirley Temple. She is so cute, in her

pictures,  as her logo still lives on their website. In this American icon blue

and white picture, she holds her umbrella in one hand and her upside down

box of salt, in its circular canister, is sprinkling salt behind her.

In 1941, the Morton Salt girl now resembles Dorothy, with her hair in braids

and yellow is now included as ‘accents’ in the design on the ‘box.’

In 1956, the Morton Salt girl has a pinafore that seems like what may look like

an apron,  with it being reminiscent of the little girl Lisle, in the “Sound of Music.”

Why an umbrella? Because. . .

“When it rains, it pours!”

Morton Salt is not supposed to clump.

Here are some of its favorable traits-

~Salt unlocks the flavor of foods.

~Salt has helped roads, sidewalks and driveways be safer. (Yes, there is a newer

kind of salt, but this is still given credit to Morton’s for its being always available

for these responsibilities.)

~Salt is in our water system, it flows into our baths, kitchens and pools.

~If you make a salt solution or sprinkle salt directly into cracks in sidewalks, you

can kill weeds and unwanted grass.

Have you ever played this ‘switch’ April Fool’s Day trick?

My brother put salt into the sugar bowl and sugar into the salt shaker. Boy, did

he get into trouble! My Dad did not want anyone to ‘mess around with his morning

coffee!’

 

The Morton Salt girl still has ‘new places to go,’

‘new friends to make,’

and ‘new stories to share.’

If you should wish to join those who are sharing, you may check out this:

http://mortonsaltgirl100.com

 

Someone told me this sweet ‘joke’ that is really just a special treat since it

goes with the little girl with the umbrella. Susie’s mother was waiting a

block away from the school. She stood on the corner and watched her

kindergartener approaching, both mother and daughter had their umbrellas

open. Every few steps, Susie’s chin would raise, her eyes looking up at the

sky, she would give a big grin, then continue walking. When she reached

her Mommy at the agreed upon location, she gave her a big hug.

Susie’s mother asked her, “Susie, why were you looking up at the sky,

then it seemed like you were smiling at the sky?”

Susie answered, “Because God was taking my picture!”

(Her mother smiled and agreed, that was such a better outlook at the

startling bursts of lightning, like a ‘flash’ going off on a camera!)

When I mentioned to this woman, Chris, at work about my celebration

post for the two ingredients, popcorn and Morton’s salt, she immediately

thought of this appropriate ‘story’ or ‘joke.’

 

I found two light-hearted quotes for this celebratory post:

 

Albert Einstein is credited for saying,

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

In order to keep your balance,

You must keep moving.”

 

Samuel Butler brings some smiles to my face with this one,

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool

of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,

but he will make a fool of himself, too.”

 

I could not resist reminding you of that hauntingly pretty, but

oh so meaningful song, “100 Years.”

It captures how we feel time is flying by and so fleeting…

“I’m 15 for a moment,

Caught in between 10 and 20,

And I’m just dreaming

Counting the way to where you are.

 

15, there’s still time for you,

Time to buy and time to lose,

15, there’s never a wish

Better than this

When you only got 100 years to live.”

 

(The next section has a child on the way…)

 

“I’m 45 for a moment,

The sea is high

And I’m heading into a crisis,

Chasing the years of my life.”

 

Sung by Five for Fighting, who is actually John Ondrasik, 2003.