Friday, February 26, 2016


According to The Writer’s Almanac for February 22nd “On this date in 1630, Quadaquine, brother of Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe, introduced popcorn to the English colonists.”  Scientific evidence has shown that natives all over the Americas had been consuming popcorn for centuries. I’m delighted that we still have it – it is one of my favorite snacks. Popcorn is inexpensive – unless you go the gourmet, chi-chi flavors route, and is relatively low in calories.

Don’t give me bacon-cheddar or jalapeño, buffalo ranch, pumpkin, or cinnamon, or any of those other flavors. For me, popcorn is meant to be buttered, as in theater popcorn, kettle corn and lightly sweet, or, the ultimate indulgence: Cracker Jacks. To me, that’s heaven in a box. (Yeah, and I remember when the prize in the box was worth saving - for a few days at least, until my mother probably tossed it.)

Friday, February 19, 2016


One day in December, Jacqueline Donnelley, at her wonderful blog Saratoga Woods and Waterways, titled her blog Walking With My Husband, and included this poem:

                              by Robert Polito

I’m always running ahead of my life,
The way when we walk you are always

Three, fifteen, forty steps behind
Taking a picture, or inspecting

A bottlebrush tree, a cornice, the sea
As it breaks white on the striated rock,

As though I can’t dare look, and
I’m always running away from myself

The way when we walk you are always
Asking me to slow down, and what will happen

When one of us dies, and, if it’s me first,
There’s no one’s back in our photos anymore.

The poem struck home for me. So many times I’ve lagged behind, taking pictures of everything and anything, including my husband’s retreating back. I was always asking him to slow down. Now, time has taken its toll and he toddles along behind me. I wait for him to catch up. I wait patiently. I would wait forever for that dear man.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

THE 500

What’s in a name? Today I ask what’s in a number - the number 500.

       The Fortune 500
       500 Days of Summer
       S & P 500 Index
       The Daytona 500
       The Indianapolis 500
       Cinque Cento   (I love this one!)

A 1957 Fiat 500 - Cinque Cento
I'd love to have one now!

And – this is my 500th post. Blogger keeps track of these things, as I learned when I did my 400th post. I’ve been at this blog since October 2010. That’s quite a while as blogs go. I did have one years ago, at the turn of the century!, on the old Netscape, but it folded when that particular service did and I wasn't inclined to begin again for a long while. I'm so glad I started again. I really enjoy the writing and the research, memories, and musings that go along with it all.

Today I send love and Zen Hugs to all my regular readers – as always, I know you know who you are – and I hope I can keep on keepin’ on with this blog for a long while to come. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


With a modification or two, this piece debuted in the February issue of our community magazine, Living @ Sun City Carolina Lakes.  I thought my other readers might enjoy it too.

Keep Calm!

There is a saying to this effect:
    Breakfast like a King
    Lunch like a Prince
    Dine like a pauper.

There may be something to that adage because recent studies have shown that reversing the usual way we approach meals, having our largest meal in the morning, is beneficial in several ways. The daily count of calories is the same, we just reverse the portion sizes. For adults it means being better able to manage weight: your body has had a big meal, is satisfied, and isn’t sending out chemical signals that ask for more. For children it means having a good start with protein for alertness and concentration at school. For seniors, just as for the children, it means enhanced memory, cognitive skills, and attention span, plus the energy to have a satisfying day.

While it isn’t the “cruelest month”, February is still one of the coldest, and the perfect month to be National Hot Breakfast Month. Unlike many foodie months that are sponsored by manufacturers, this one is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. What better way to start eating like a king than with a good breakfast. Consider the European breakfast – no, not the big British “fry-up” - that’s a heart attack on a plate! If you’ve ever stayed in one of the smaller accommodations on the continent, you’ll know what a kingly breakfast can mean. There’s usually a spread, in Scandinavia a smorgasbord, of meats, eggs, cheeses, yoghurt, fresh fruit, and hearty cereals. When in Norway though, be aware of just what is in each of those pitchers: The Norwegians like their cereal with hot buttermilk.

The idea now is “Rise and Dine.” Take a few minutes each evening to put your piece of fruit, your cup of yoghurt, your bag of granola or trail mix, your muffin, or your hardboiled egg right where you can grab it in the front of the fridge. Yes it will be cold, but it’s better than that bagel or a pop-tart. If you have time for a pop-tart you have time to eat properly. (Yes Mother!) 

Challenge yourself to have at least three hot breakfasts each week. Get creative and think of ways to combine and warm those foods from the smorgasbord into a tasty meal you’ll enjoy. Get your morning protein – actually, you should have some protein at every meal – eggs, lean meats, yoghurt, and cheeses of all kinds. Have juice to wash down your meds and vitamins, a piece of fresh fruit for sweetness. You can grab and go with a banana or an apple, and as was the line on the old airline commercials: “coffee, tea, or milk.”
Many of us Seniors do take the time for a leisurely, and we hope healthy, breakfast. But there are many who rise and hurry off to run, or to the pool, or to a job or a meeting. With a bit of proper prior planning you can still have a more substantial breakfast than just grabbing a bagel and questionable cup of coffee at a coffee hangout.

There are always handy breakfast places nearby, but the average cost of breakfast made at home is only on quarter of the same breakfast out – simple math: that’s four at home for the price of one out. Breakfast out means gas and mileage on the car, much more time to get there and back, not to mention that even if you use the drive-up window, you have to be at least fairly presentable from the waist up.

Just in case you were wondering, February is also National Snack Food Month, but don’t celebrate that one too enthusiastically, you’ll undo all the good you do eating breakfast like a king.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


I buy my chicken breasts at Harris Teeter. At the current price of $1.99 per pound, they can’t bettered for price. I buy six or eight at a time, clean them up, and freeze them individually in sandwich bags. During the cleanup, I can salvage at least an ounce of good meat from each breast.  I cut this extra into smaller bits, bag it, freeze it, and save it for soup. I’ve developed a great recipe for chicken noodle soup for two. The longest thing about this recipe is the time it takes the chicken to thaw. 


2 Tbsp. butter
6 to 8 ounces of chicken bits
1 small onion, diced

3 cups of water
1 Knorr or Maggi chicken bouillon tablet, crumbled
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh – or fresh frozen – parsley
¼ tsp. of your choice of herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme

1 small to medium carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 nest of angel hair pasta
Salt and pepper

In your soup pot, sauté the chicken bits and diced onion in the butter until the chicken turns white. -- Add the water, crumbled bouillon tablet, parsley, and herbs. Bring the whole thing to a boil. -- Break the pasta nest in half, and add it and the carrots to the pot. Bring it all back to the boil and time it for 10 minutes.

That’s it!  Serve it up with some crackers and enjoy.

Friday, February 5, 2016


My mother and I rarely talked about our lives. She told me little about her childhood. Little, that is, that would make me understand why she did a lot of what she did. I did know, and it’s the first and only thing that jumps to mind, that she liked to have her birthday remembered – and my father wasn’t too good at remembering. He was always last-minute-Bud, writing up a poem for her when he remembered that he forgot. Her birthday was December 26th. She never got birthday presents from her parents: “Oh, Dorothy, you got presents yesterday, you don’t need any today.” As kids, we didn’t know this, but once we learned we sure did make her birthday special as we could. Years later, my sister’s second son was born on December 24th. You can be sure my mother made a special deal of it.

Now that I think of it, I may be a lot like my mother. I have very few dramatic or even interesting tales to tell about my childhood and later years spent at home – or anywhere for that matter. Neither did my mother. I now believe that both she and I, smart as we were, just took life as it came to us, never really pre-planning what we would do. It’s not that we took paths of least resistance, we took paths offered to us. Very few times did I have to make a great decision in my life. Maybe twice. Once when I had to make the decision not to go back to college after two years. I felt I was getting a fine education in nothing useful to me career-wise. The other time was when, after the banns had been announced, I decided not to marry my fiancé. I loved him but I did not particularly like the attitude he began to show that he would dictate all rules for our marriage. Both turned out to be very good decisions. Perhaps not “all the difference” made by choosing The Road Not Taken – my favorite poem, by the way – but they brought me to where I am now. In that “now” I am very content.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Yes, my poem for February first, and I forgot to post it. No excuses - I just totally forgot it. But here it is, a really lovely poem. Sara Teasdale watched Orion. On clear mornings,I've been delighting in the current display of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter, as I take my early walk. I can remember their order by the mnemonic I created for myself: My Very Sweet Mr. Johnston - my husband, of course.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too - meaningful words for this Senior.

Winter Stars

I went out at night alone;
 The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
 I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
 From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
 Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
 Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
 Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
 The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
 The faithful beauty of the stars.