Friday, December 21, 2007

I Need A Book!

I'm going in to the library this afternoon to search the shelves for
a guidebook to aging gracefully. The body I inhabit doesn't seem to
have come with an instruction manual for getting old and, in our
world of youth and vigor no matter what the cost, there are few role
models available.

When the extended family, with multiple generations living together
beneath one roof, evolved into the nuclear family, parents and
children only, old age was shunted off into an "over there" existence
of retirement villages and nursing homes. Hot on the heels of that
development came the exaltation of youth. Children became consumers
and as such central to the capitalistic state. With youth being so
important no one wants to get old, or at least to look old. Take a
look at the advertising around and notice how much is aimed at
stopping the advance of time on the human body. From creams that
reduce crows feet to Viagra, from glucosamine to hair restorers, we
are exhorted to fear age as soon as we step into adulthood.

I'm tired of being told that I have to stay young to have value. I'm
willing to get old and I have the irascible part down pretty pat.
Grace is the part eluding me. Images of a stately English dowager or
a gentle Spring Byington (remember her?) bob in my head. How about a
wise Eleanor Roosevelt? A saintly and useful Mother Theresa? Nope, I
seem destined for a cross between Granny Clampett and Maude
Findlay... unless I find that handbook for sanding the cantankerous
edges, scraping off some geezer gruffness, and adjusting the
geriatric attitude. Yep, I'll be surveying the book catalogue for a
how-to volume. And tripping passers-by with my cane!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't Malign Fruitcake!

What is it with the yearly revilement of fruitcake? That seasonal
confection seems to have become a source of humor and is generally
slighted everywhere. Stand-up comics make jokes about it. TV
commercials snicker and show it traveling from house to house as re-
gifted. My former employer, John McAfee, insisted there was only one
fruitcake. He said it went from hand to hand, year after year, as an
endless white elephant.

My husband says I'm outing myself, but here goes: I LIKE FRUITCAKE.
Yes, there are some rather unappetizing ones out there. Those little
loaf shaped cakes from the chain supermarket, all dry brown cake with
a few tough wads of candied green stuff are not wonderful. But toss
on some brandy, heck - toss on a lot of brandy! - and they are quite
edible. In years gone by when I would occasionally bake, I made
fruitcakes with a pumpkin flavored base cake and lots of dried fruits
and nuts. Aged for a couple of months and soaked in rum... divine!

Nostalgia may play a part in my fondness for fruitcake. My step-
father loved it and fancied his as an after dinner treat with a cup
of coffee. We'd sit, munch our fruitcake, and talk. Those chats are
some of the happiest memories from my teen years.

So, did someone present you with a fruitcake this year? And are you
one of those who gazes at it in dismay thinking "What am I supposed
to do with this"? Send it to my house. It will have a good home and
engender warm holiday feelings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let's Talk About The Weather

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is
exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only
kinds of good weather."

-John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

Mr. Ruskin obviously wasn't in the Pacific NorthWet this last week.
The storm we experienced was neither delicious, refreshing, bracing,
nor exhilarating. It was a Royal Pain in the Behind for most, and a
disaster to some. Thankfully my personal situation was among the
former. We had some property damage and (gasp!) four days without
electricity. Ah, the awareness of how comfortable a life we lead
descends when we find it disrupted. Four days without lights, stove,
refrigerator. And worse, four days without internet - without
computer, television, radio! We know how lucky we were to have
shelter and food. BUT WE WANT OUR TOYS, PLEASE!

Monday, December 10, 2007

We've all been there

My daughter has had a bout of the flu and posted this YouTube video
with the comment "Just change the gender..." C'mon, all of us have
experienced the situation EXACTLY as it is portrayed. Well, okay...
maybe we can agree with my daughter too. Either way, it is familiar,

Check it out: