If You Don't Laugh, You'll Cry - Laughing's Better!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Well, I’ve been growing older every day since December 31, 1933. But lately, the process seems to have speeded up and is really rolling right along. Please know that, with the exception of feeling like poop some of the time, it doesn’t bother me at all.

What does bother me a lot is the attitude of some people. Condescending superiority is one of the most vile personality traits found in adult humans. This fault is only rarely found in children and even then is usually just copying what they have heard from the adults around them.

What I wanted to vent about here for a moment is the condescension of some of the people I’ve dealt with recently, who assume that because I am not terribly “spry” at the moment that I am mentally going downhill. Not true.

My Internist often has young doctors doing rotations in her office. Most are attractive and pleasant. Recently, though, I got one who is lucky to have no scratches on her face nor a sore bottom from being severely kicked! She made it clear that she thought I was goofy and she barely knew my own name. Of course, when you encounter that attitude, you really do often forget things. Most often, I forget my own phone number – I rarely or never call myself. At any rate, she was just horrified when I told her I would not have a bunch of x-rays or tests for my heart. I carefully explained that they would duplicate those I’d had done by the cardiologist, recently. “Well,” she said, “What is his name? I’ll have to call him and verify that.” I couldn’t think of his name, or my own at that point, I was so angry. She charged out to the waiting room and demanded that Dee give her the info and then she called the cardiologist. I should have reported her behavior to my regular doctor but I just wanted to get out of there. My bad - now she’ll just harass another old person.

Dee and I have noticed that if she is in the room, lots of medical people talk to her as if I were not present. Dee usually says, why don’t you just ask Mother, since she’s sitting here?
Just a week or two ago, a couple - no longer friends of mine, for sure - just jumped all over Dee, telling her how she should “handle’’ me. I am dealing with Lymphedema of my legs and it’s meant some extra work for Dee. Apparently, this couple thinks I am senile or stupid. They suggested Dee threaten me with a nursing home if I didn’t follow the doctor’s orders to a "T." They also thought withholding food might be a good idea!! Dee was horrified by their rude comments.  

I am trying to make the point that goofy things one does are usually either laughed off or ignored, when a person is under age 60 or thereabouts. However, just get old and watch the eye rolling, smirks, and nods to others. Let me hasten to add that my children and grands don’t do this.

Old age is tough enough without having to put up with younger people being condescending or rude, or assuming I am senile.

I do not have any huge health issues, but I have arthritis in my shoulders and hips plus the Lymphedema, a painful condition in both lower legs. I can manage most things by myself, but a helping hand is most welcome. Walking is hard for me and I fear falling, at the moment. Hopefully, as soon as I get the bandages off my legs, that fear will subside.

I decided on my own to stop driving because I was concerned that my response time might be too slow in an emergency. I was a good driver and had never gotten a ticket for any reason at all.

My sweet family stays on the lookout for any kinds of gadgets that make my life easier.

Perhaps most important is the bracelet I wear when I’m home alone. I can press a button and summon help.

I have two “grabbers” with long handles, one for the kitchen and one in my room. They are helpful in lots of ways. On one is stamped, Independent Needs Centre.

Most of our door handles are white porcelain, lovely but hard to grasp. We found some rubber-like jackets to slip over them.

I have several self defense items one of which is a marine/sport horn, quite loud to call for help.

Another wonderful discovery by Dee was that a rolling, adjustable office chair is much more comfortable to me than any other type of chair. We have four now. One was a gift from a dear neighbor and the others were bought, used but in perfect condition from a real estate company going out of business. I am sitting in one now, at my desk, and have another at the breakfast room table, one at the dining table, and one in the family room.

Although mobility is something I need to work on, I get along pretty well for someone my age. I do not feel bad about asking for help from folks, and my kids and grandson are always sweet about helping me. However, it really ticks me off when clueless younger people look at me and just assume that because I am a senior citizen, that I am missing some of my marbles.

[Note from Dee: my mother is one of the sharpest people I know, of ANY age!]

[This is when I graduated from college.]

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday Dinner in the South

When I was growing up, most people I knew had a sumptuous  Sunday dinner, often in the middle of the day, after everyone was home from church. Often there were guests. There was something special about Sunday Dinner, and it’s a lovely tradition.

In my house, Mother came home, changed her shoes, and started cooking. She was a really well organized person plus having lots of “tricks of the trade.” Mother had majored in Home Economics at Bessie Tift College, and she had also grown up in a house with more than a dozen siblings, so feeding a crowd didn’t phase her.

She did lots of her cooking on Saturday. She always made a delicious jello salad with fruit, and most often fixed a big pot of fresh green beans. She always had at least one other vegetable according to the time of year and what was available. Many vegetables are better the next day – like various greens etc. Some, like squash, she’d clean and ‘’par-boil,’’ ready for a casserole or she’d go ahead and put the casserole together so all she had to do was bake it. There would be either white potatoes, sweet potatoes or a big pot of rice. [The white potatoes were often “riced” - a is a way of making mashed potatoes by forcing  boiled potatoes through a hand held thingy I can’t describe. See picture below.] There might be pickled peaches or olives, etc. Also, there would be homemade biscuits (to die for) plus dessert.

Below, a ricer.

I’m going to tell you about a couple of recipes she might have used. Chicken at her house was usually fried, but I have a baked chicken recipe she would have loved, given to me by my dear friend Bud. 

Bud’s  Chicken [creamed chicken]

6 boneless chicken breasts, (rinse under cold water, pat dry, lightly salt)
I stick butter, melted
Whipping cream or half & half [1 or 2 pints, depending on the amount of chicken]
Grated parmesan

Dip each breast [the chicken’s] in butter and then coat it with flour. Saute the chicken until it has a crust. Place each piece in casserole dish, in one layer. Take ½ lb mushrooms, rinse and slice. Layer them over the chicken breasts. Take your cream and pour it over everything, covering chicken and mushrooms completely. Cover with a lot of grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of paprika.
Cover with foil.
Cook at 350 for one hour.

Molded  Pear  Salad

1 large can pear halves, drained [save juice]
8 oz. pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 pkg plain gelatin
1 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice [or more to taste]

Heat 1 cup pear juice, adding water to make a cup if necessary. Heat to a simmer. Combine with gelatin mix and pears. Mix in blender until smooth. Pour into mold and chill until firm. Garnish with fruit slices, or a sliver of saved pear and a cherry, etc. Can add 2 drops green coloring if you like. Easiest to mold this in a square pyrex; cut into squares to serve on a salad plate.

Bud’s  Bananas & Papaya Foster  

4 bananas, sliced about 1 inch thick
1 ripe papaya, large, seeded, peeled, cut into ½ in cubes
½  cup rum  [Myers dark is good] marinate fruit in this for 1 or 2 hours
mix: then add fruit

¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
5 tbl. soft butter
¾ cups toasted pecan halves

Place in pyrex dish, in 350 or 400 degree oven until it begins to bubble.. Remove and spoon over vanilla ice cream. Mostly do ahead. You can usually purchase the papaya in jars, in the produce section.

Tomato Aspic

2 small boxes lemon Jello,
V-8 juice

Make up the Jello by boiling 2 cups water, mix with Jello powder
Add 2 cups V-8 juice. Chill until very thick.
Add any of the following:
1 tsp grated onion, few drops Tobasco, about 1 cup tiny shrimp, finely diced celery, sliced olives, chopped artichoke hearts, etc.   I have added drained cottage cheese…
Note: if the weather is very hot and humid, reduce the amt of water by ½ cup.
Aspic makes a lovely lunch dish. It is so good served with chicken,  tuna, or ham salad, perhaps on a croissant.

One nice “company dessert” I have fixed often, and I learned the dish from my mother, is Zebra Pudding.

Zebra Pudding

1-2 boxes Nabisco plain chocolate wafers [near ice cream section]
½ cup sugar
1-2 pints whipping cream

Whip the cream until stiff. Add ½ cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla OR ½ tsp vanilla, ½ tsp. almond extract. Holding one cookie in your hand, put a heaping tablespoon of whipped cream on cookie and spread to the edges. Add another cookie on top like a sandwich, then more cream. Continue alternating cookies and cream until you have 4-5 cookies. Then in a long casserole dish, lay those on their edge, then star another stack. Place it against the first stack, with all the cookies on their rims. Continue until all cookies are used. Using leftover whipped cream, ice it. Should be about a 12-14 inch long row of cookies. Then put it into the fridge and leave it at least 2 hours or overnight. When serving, cut diagonally across the row to make a lovely presentation.  You can double or triple this for a crowd. Make more than you think you will need because people usually pig out on it.

 When serving a salad lunch, it is nice to have a fairly heavy dessert. One my mother used to serve which was so easy was a float. Fill tall pilsner glasses with good quality vanilla ice cream. Pour ginger ale to almost the top of the glass. Garnish with a cherry. Serve with an iced tea spoon and a straw.

In later years, I tried to follow my mother’s example and serve Sunday dinner though it was often in the evening.  The rule was cloth napkins, china, and sterling silver. We often had dinner guests, as did my parents.

We always had some kind of decoration for the middle of the table and it was often very simple: pretty leaves around a candle, a dish of fruit, maybe apples with a leaf or two tucked around. Centerpieces for the table are a tradition I love.

A blessing was always said before meals at our house, often holding hands around the table. We still follow that tradition with each of us taking turns saying the blessing. It seems to me that’s what families are all about, sharing good food, good conversation, and faith in the Lord.

 My parents in their later years.