Wednesday, January 21, 2015

People Are Nice

Since I've been handicapped with the pulled muscle (which happened when I was righteously exercising) I've been the recipient of many kindnesses as people watch me negotiate my way through the world on a wheeled walker. Elegant little contraption--aluminum, adjustable, and stylish now that we added the "ski" sliders on the back. It folds nicely to fit in the car.

Whenever people see me hobbling around on the walker, they hold doors for me, stand by so I can pass, and offer to hold or cary things for me. One friend even offered to clear a crowded hall for me at church, and as a large person with a commanding voice, he could have done it easily. I think he was disappointed when I declined, saying the hall would soon clear and the class wouldn't start without me. In fact, I went through the entire pre-holiday season going to church and special choir practices inching my way along because I'm so stubborn that I won't say "I can't do this." During the Christmas choir fireside performance, I was given permission to remain seated for the entire program--thoughtful choir director.

My friend Donna had a health crisis (she's in her 80s) so I loaned her that walker and now use my four-wheeled version that scoots me around much faster. It has a seat so I can sit in the kitchen and fix meals, and pockets to let me carry things I need, like a book or a bottle of hand lotion, so I don't really miss the other one.

However, I'm quite frustrated at the lack of progress as I go to physical therapy a couple of times a week, come home tired, and don't really notice much improvement. I refuse to think this is My Life from here on. In the meantime, I am sometimes moved to tears by the kindnesses and thoughtfulness of people who smile, hold the door, and say an encouraging word. Maybe being handicapped this way--temporarily, I insist--has its advantages.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Does Color Matter?

I see by the headlines that Oreo cookies are coming out in a new flavor--red velvet. Actually it isn't flavor as much as color that's changing. I've never been able to understand the charm of red velvet food. It doesn't have a distinctive flavor. It's just red. But it's in vogue right now, so I guess that's the point.

Fashions in food come and go, just like fashions in clothes and shoes. When I was a kid, it was all the rage to make layered Jello by setting one color according to the directions on the box, and then preparing the same color, only whipping the dickens out of it until it became airy and pastel, and then layering the two in a parfait glass. My college roommates called it fluffy Jello. Impressive served with a dollop of whipped cream, yes, but beyond the three-minute thrill of eating a non-nutritious food, where do we go from here? Now the trend is only a memory.

If you sit for any length of time and people-watch, you start feeling the same way about stripes. Fashion designers have plagued women now for several seasons with this unattractive fad. I've see horizontal stripes that aren't flattering even on skinny women. What's attractive about dressing like a football referee? Those guys with ample bellies running around on the field should feel embarrassed about wearing a uniform that emphasizes their least attractive feature. Women with infirm hip muscles (read "flabby glutes") should definitely not wear horizontal stripes. Just sayin'...have you seen yourselves walking away? If your Aunt Sophie won't tell you, honey, who will?

Let's hope that as a people we develop the good sense to let stripes go the way of fluffy Jello.

By the way, if you insist on eating those chemically-flavored Oreo cookies, at least get it right. Stick a fork in the frosting to dip them in milk--a lot less messy.

Here's a much better cookie recipe that you may also have to eat with a fork because it's a little bit sticky:

Grease a 9X13 pan and heat the oven to 325. Stir 1 egg and 1/2 cup melted butter into a yellow cake mix. Press it evenly into the pan. Blend 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring, and 2 cups powdered sugar. When it's nice and smooth, spread it over the layer in the pan. Bake 40-45 minutes until it's firm and a little bit golden brown. Try to wait until it's cool before you dig in. You can also try this using other cake mixes--chocolate, lemon, spice, even red velvet if you want--and adjusting the flavorings accordingly--you know, add some cinnamon or nutmeg if you use a spice cake mix. Lots of possibilities here. However, if you eat too many of these, you should definitely not wear horizontal stripes.