Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover

asiansoup-e1563402306469.jpg

           “Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover.”

Anyone of a certain age understands life’s close relationship with enormous irony.

One that I recently discovered was the Grandma Décor Dilemma.

Every mother knows when babies become mobile, a serious redecorating effort occurs.

Glass is replaced with wood or Formica and all tabletop items are wrapped for storage or placed on higher shelves. A great cover up is afoot to save at least a scintilla of worldly goods.

But now we have microfiber.

Ah microfiber! No, not micro greens, the new word for lettuce scraps on your plate. A new miracle fiber that battles chocolate, peanut butter and sandbox residue lurking on adorable, busy little hands.

A new practically indestructible fabric that vaguely resembles suede, resists stains and was definitely designed with Grandmas in mind.

I am smiling just remembering the past when valuables were secured and safely ensconced in high-placed locked boxes more inaccessible than a Kardashian’s IQ.

The more mobile the baby, the greater the makeover. Toddlers reaching for tabletop items can be swift and sure and move like lightening. As is often the case you hear the crash before you see the move. The living room becomes an urban jungle fraught with danger at every turn.

Sure that crystal dish looked innocent enough when Aunt Rosie gave it to you for your wedding shower, but now it is suddenly a sparkly missile crashing toward earth as two innocent little eyes delight in the power they possess to make that “funny” crashing sound.

Minimalist décor became the code word for “oops there are babies in the house, better clear those spaces and prepare for the charge.”

I recall the tumult of more toys than Santa’s workshop covering every inch of floor space, while I daydreamed of house beautiful.

Perusing home magazines with a sad sigh, wishing for a time when I could actually consider a white sofa and glass tables once more.

A place when I could display my crystal and fine pieces openly and free them from their storage prisons.

Lalique, Daum, Waterford would dance across my dreams carrying rainbows of champagne and canapés onto regally appointed tablescapes.

As the years flew by, and as we know they do fly, my children grew to adulthood.

My first post little-ones-on-board home was filled with white sofas, glass tables and matching towels in the guest bathroom. Ah, all those forbidden fruits of décor. What fun!

The years passed in a haze of entertaining with “good” china still bearing the flakes of sawdust from its original shipping container, crystal glasses and silver flatware. I felt like the Queen of England.

Ah, but then the tide turned once more. Suddenly a new arrival signaled the end of all that opulence, splendor and elegance.

“He” had arrived, my first precious grandson. Suddenly it was all about Sesame Street plastic dishes and tippee cups, organic cloths and toys, and green smoothies with unknown ingredients for a healthier lifestyle.

The packing boxes appeared once more. Bubble wrap and bubble bursting filled quiet moments between emptying tables and glass shelves filled with delicate chachkees.

Once again my life was rife with toy-filled corners, empty tabletops and baby stepstools.

My friends and I now discussed how to make room for storage cabinets and redo a bedroom with a toddler theme. New colors and design that were the rage in babyville replaced the latest fashion, new boutique opening, vacation spot or Pilates injury.

Our Iphones overflowed with the latest photos of smiling faces in Halloween pumpkin costumes, petting zoos and hugging grandma pics.

Our car backseats sported baby car seats and books and toys were shoved into seat pockets.

Some friends hired designers to do a special theme. Airplanes, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies were hot. We discussed singing groups like Yo Gabba Gabba recalling how our parents had laughed at our obsession with the Beatles.

Rainbows, unicorns and computers were also on board as décor stalwarts.

A new vibe was apparent at our regular lunches.

Toys, pictures and brilliant baby quotes took center stage and things had definitely changed. It was toddler town now and we were all proud residents reveling in our new roles.

We wore the name grandma as proudly as a woman wears couture and shamelessly bragged while repeating baby stories ad nauseum.

Our computer screen savers were full-size pictures of partially toothed grins that changed with each new development.

It had finally happened—we were grandmas—and our homes had gone from high style to safety zones.

I found a few fun tips for decorating a grandchild’s room I‘d like to share.

 

Since storage is not as crucial, there is more room to be creative with space.

Painted dressers in themes can be made from unfinished furniture cabinets or an old chest found in a resale store. Two or three smaller cabinets can be put together and painted on the front.

Pop-up books opened and attached in a line make great cornices over a blind. Or they also can be used in shadow boxes to hang as pictures.

Garage sales glean an endless assortment of toys to fill a toy box or use as décor.

Fabric stores often offer the latest cartoon or television characters in fabric that can be used to sew on bath towels or sheets for a personalized flair.

Wrapping paper can be a great source for the latest pop art characters.

Cutting cartoon figures out of the paper and hanging them on the wall as a mural or border is an inexpensive and fun way to add your grandchild’s favorites to the décor.

In the end it’s all about making our little darlings feel safe and comfortable at Grandma’s house. And isn’t that what every Grammy wants?

So until the day I can once again pull out the good china and glass nick knacks from their bubble wrapped boxes, I shall be quite content to fill my world with the joys of childhood once more.

 

 

 

 

Asian Chicken Soup

 

4 cups of chicken broth

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped chicken or chicken drumettes

1 cup uncooked shrimp shelled

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1 cup cut up fresh bok choy

½ cup bean sprouts

½ cup mushrooms (optional)

 

Add chicken to broth and cook until tender

Add rest of ingredients except shrimp and cook until veggies are slightly softened

When everything is cooked through add shrimp and cook a few minutes longer until shrimp turns pink and is done.

Serve over crunchy noodles or crunchy fried brown rice and enjoy!

To get crunchy fried rice, place rice in a hot frying pan with oil. Flatten rice so it is in a single layer and fry on one side until crispy then turn and fry other side.

 

 

 

Marking Grammy’s Territory

greeknoodlepudding-e1563138481296.jpg

I get the whole changing world thing and all, but could someone slow it down enough to tell me where Grandma fits in these days?

When I was young, back in the dark ages it seems, there was a specific role that Grandparents filled and it was exclusive to them.

Grandma cooked your favorite foods, even if she was a lousy cook like my Grandmother. Who cared? To this day I can’t see a bowl of lumpy cream of wheat or greasy hamburger without getting all misty for my grandma.

Grandma told stories, she bought you things your parents would not and most simply grandparents got to look at you like you were a banana split and created the unfortunate misconception that someone someday would look at you that same loving way again. I am still waiting.

You watched the Wednesday night fights with your Grandpa even if you had no idea what they were about and they were bloody and gross. You knew Milton Berle was funny when he dressed up as a woman and tripped all over himself in high heels because you heard your grandparents in hysterics. You knew that they would take you anywhere you wanted to see anything you wanted, because they loved you in a very special otherworldly way.

They attended all recitals and clapped the loudest.

My favorite story about my Grandfather was when I was taking dancing lessons as a child.

Our recital number that year was witch doctors.

My grandfather couldn’t wait to come and see me dance… and talked about it for weeks. I had to show him my steps and he watched while I practiced.

Caveat was that as witch doctors they dressed us in black and painted our faces with glow in the dark paint and feathers on our heads.

When our number began they turned out the lights and all you could see were lights and feathers moving about on stage.

My poor grandfather kept asking my mother, which one is Norma, which one is she? Can you see her?

Poor Grandpa, I so hated to disappoint him.

My grandfather also took my brother Marty and I fishing in the everglades, my grandmother let us keep the catfish we caught in the bathtub until after a day that wore thin. Every day we spent with them was filled with fun and adventures.

Fast forward to today’s grandparent.

Ah, the Baby Boomer generation.

We are busy, active and creating new lives in our golden years.

We have to because our grandchildren don’t need us in the same way anymore.

The unkindest cut of all?

The other day my daughter informed me the Nanny had noticed they all had colds and made chicken soup for the house!

Et Tu Jewish penicillin?

Of course there are some parents who still rely on grandparental help, but it’s all so different now it seems.

Well, why wouldn’t it be when my five-year-old grandson is teaching me how to move forward on the levels of Angry Birds.

Kids today are better-fed, no greasy chicken schmaltz for them, they have Nannies, they eat gluten free and vegan and did you know dairy is evil? I didn’t until my daughter told me. After all those Howard Johnson’s ice cream cones I ate as a kid it’s a wonder I’m still here.

Meat is very minimal and organic, cold pressed juices are a staple and no don’t ask me the difference between cold pressed and hot, and organic and free range is the goal of all food products.

For someone who was still eating gribenes (chicken fat and skins with onions cooked until crunchy) up to five years ago, what do I know?

So what can we contribute to our grandchildren’s lives?

Shopping?

My daughter buys organic clothing.

Toys? Do not spoil is the watchword today.

Television? Sorry, highly limited.

And to their credit field trips to the zoo, apple picking, concerts and theater are reserved for parents.

So for Grandma and Grandpa what is left?

Well, I read stories, play games, draw pictures and watch Paw Patrol and the list of approved programming. I have played Bugopoly (the kids version of Monopoly) until my own eyes bugged out.

Grandma must delve deep into her inner child to create fun and exciting adventures.

We take walks, check out trees and flowers and I actually help my grandson collect bugs.

UGH!

The only buggy experience I shared with my children was when they called me in their rooms to get rid of one.

I have learned you will do things for and with your grandchildren never dreamed of in your imagination, Horatio.

No matter how things change there will always be one thing that doesn’t.

The banana split look on every grandparent’s face when they look at their grandchildren will survive the generations. The love between the two, no matter what activities come before, will never diminish.

And this is what we must put our faith in. That while playing golf, starting new businesses and traveling the world, there is still our anchor on the other side of the Face time on your phone even when you are five thousand miles away visiting far away regions and river cruising.

I wouldn’t trade one “hi grandma” for a million tours of the Taj Mahal or visits to the Tuscan countryside.

All points point to those little faces that light up when they see you, and that no matter the times, places or circumstances, will never change!

Greek Noodle Pudding

2 cups of egg noodles

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup feta cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup mozzarella cheese shredded

6 large eggs

1 cup of onion sautéed

¼ cup of chopped pitted Greek olives if desired. This is optional for those who like olives.

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning

Salt to taste

 

Boil noodles, drain and set aside

Sauté onion until translucent

Beat eggs and add seasoning

Add cheeses, melted butter, olives and onions to eggs

Fold in noodles and pour mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish

Place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake for one hour or until set.

Serve with lamb for a real flavor of Greece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frumpy to Fabulous— Just Get Your Brim On

cabbagecasserole

Okay so you are having a bad hair day. But your make up is stellar. Your chins aren’t sagging as much as usual and that new cream is definitely helping your forehead lines. Your bloat is minimal and your confidence level is actually climbing above the tenth floor with a bullet.

And then suddenly, there it is; that horrible frizzy, root-tint needing, yucky haircut aggravation covering the top of your head.

Oy! If you look below your hairline you are fabulous, but lift those eyes and they want to roll back in your head.

The ultimate frumpy do. It screams bad hair day with a marching band in tow. What to do?

Okay, so I spent many years of my life pondering this quandary and settled for leaving the house with C- hair and an A made-up face.

Years ago I read a wonderful column by the late writer Erma Bombeck. She said every woman reaches a time in her life called the purple hat stage. It quite simply said that at some point it’s no longer worth the grief and to simply throw on a purple hat and greet the world with a smile.

I have now reached that time. I have far too little moments left in my lifetime bank account to spend it fighting with my hair.

However, I will not go gently or stylishly lacking into that purple hat stage of my life.

So I have begun to fill my closet with a cadre of fabulous hats.

Straws, wools, cloches, fedoras, but no berets or knit caps, not a flattering look on me.

I find most of them on sale and scout the better department stores to wait for sales until I pull out my credit card. After all it’s not like you need a hat immediately like a defibrillator.

Hats have changed my life.

I went from frumpy to fabulous, by plopping a fedora over my unmanageable locks.

No matter how horrible my do, I do not have to worry.

I simply don a hat and suddenly I am Greta Garbo, mysterious and intriguing and set apart from the crowd.

I am quite simply a woman of mystery. This is only because I live in America, in England not so much. They all wear them there.

The strange thing is that most women do look really good in a hat. I think it’s the way you wear it also that creates an aura.

A slight tip to one side adds some pizzazz. Lower on your forehead adds to the mystery. With a pair of sunglasses, the paparazzi will be chasing you down Beverly Hills streets.

I am not here to sell you hats of course. I just can’t believe what a difference they’ve made in my day.

You feel confident, unusual and glamorous and all without changing a thing about yourself.

I realize younger women with glorious, glowing locks have no need to cover even one hair, but at a certain age a woman’s hair thins and changes texture, and dare I say it, turns gray.

With my new hats roots are no longer a problem. Less time with goopy gobs of color on my head and more time to shop and meet friends, write, spend quality time with my grandsons and do charity work.

Hats not only enhance your looks, they add time to your life that is priceless.

Looking great is just a perk and one I’ll gladly embrace.

The real beauty of wearing a hat is that it allows you to be whomever you choose to be. Hats come in so many styles and colors you can change your mood with your head covering.

Shall I wear a wide brimmed model and be an international spy? Or perhaps a French cloche with a Coco Chanel vibe?

Or am I in the mood for a beachy, huge sunhat that protects me from any stray UV ray looking for a place to land?

I can wear a fur headband and look like I just left the slopes in Gstaad or a fun fascinator and look like I am headed for the Savoy for high tea.

Hats can take you from frumpy to fabulous in a matter of minutes. However, there is a caveat. You must commit to a hat for if you plan to take it off at any point in the day or evening, you’ll need a plan B. Hair will not be improved by the wearing.

But that’s even easy. Just pop it back on and you are fabulous again. So go hat shopping and find the particular style that enhances your features and creates the mood you are seeking.

Be all you can be and more and face the world with your brim on.

Easy Cabbage Casserole

1 head of cabbage

1 large bottle of tomato juice

1 can of tomato puree

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp sour salt

1 pound of ground beef

1 small onion

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp onion powder

3 cups of rice cooked

 

Wash and cut up cabbage and set aside.

Sauté onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft.

Add salt and pepper and one cup of cooked rice to raw beef and set aside.

Mix together tomato juice and puree. Add brown sugar and sour salt. Taste to ensure you have the sweet and sour taste you like. If taste needs adjusting add more sugar or sour salt until you are happy with flavor.

Spray deep casserole dish and place a layer of puree mix on bottom. Add a layer of cabbage and then ground beef layer and then top with puree. Continue until puree is covering top of casserole.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for an hour or until cabbage and beef are cooked.

Serve with rice and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedians Do God’s Work

applewaldorfcake-1-e1562626715739.jpg

 

A quick yuk…My old aunts would come and tease me at weddings, “Well Sarah? Do you think you’ll be next?”
This ended quickly once I started doing the same to them at funerals.

Doctors get a lot of hype and of course they eat it up. Jokes about doctors confusing themselves with God are mythic, but I have another top nominee in the category for doing God’s work, Comedians.

Seriously you say? Comics? Aren’t they screwed up, self-destructive psychos prone to drugs and childish behavior?

Okay, true, there is that, but let me make my case here.

First not all comics are like that.

Sure some are, but even the ones who are may be the ones that spread the most laughter and do the most good.

Case in point, Sam Kinison.

Drugs, craziness and rock n roll, no one is arguing that point. But anyone who knew Sam saw a pussycat of a person. His loud screaming persona was an act to cover the pain.

So that’s my point. Many who are suffering and in pain turn to negative behavior to act out. Comics spread laughter and cheer. Hashtag: spreading joy.

Any comic that ever stood on a stage understands the feeling of holding an audience in the palm of their hand and the satisfaction that comes with a joke that works and a set that kills. Does it ease the pain or change the past or fill the hole inside? Perhaps or not, but for a moment the universe is engulfed in robust earsplitting laughter.

Each guffaw carries through the air and reaches corners and caverns once dark and dank. Hearts and minds are opened and the world lights up with a bright, happy vibe.

One of my fondest memories of doing stand-up comedy was a night at Catch a Rising Star at the MGM Grand. After the show a women came up to me and hugged me. She said, “Thank you so much. I had the most horrible day today and you made me laugh so hard. I really appreciated the laughs.” What can you say after that?

Most comics I know are the happiest after a great set. They thrive on the laughter and love hearing an audience rocking and rolling while listening to their words. One of the best feelings ever.

I believe one of the greatest gifts a person can possess is a sense of humor. It should be obvious to most that despots and evildoers have no sense of humor, to them funny is murdering, hating and spreading fear. Jolly is not in their vocabulary.

Why does everyone love Santa Claus? Okay, aside from the goodies he delivers, it is so much more. Santa is a red-cheeked jolly old guy who laughs and his belly shakes.

This is the picture he evokes in people’s minds and it is why he brings smiles.

Laughter equals happy. People who are laughing together can’t be arguing, fighting and beating one another up. They can’t be planning evil deeds while they are doubled over with deep belly laughs.

It’s actually quite simple; we need more laughs, more fun and more positive vibes spreading across the planet.

Comedians do their part to create this cosmic flow of laughter and for that they should be cheered, praised and appreciated.

As Mark Twain once said, “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” When we have the greatest ammunition against pain and hurt available for free, we should be laughing all day long.

In an effort to spread more smiles here is my recipe for yummy Waldorf cake or quick bread.

 Waldorf Salad Quick Bread

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Cup Walnuts

2 Cups Cooking Apples

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 Cup White Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 Cup half and half

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and salt and set aside. Cream together sugars and butter and add eggs. Continue mixing until incorporated. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with half and half finishing with flour. Do not over mix. Add apples and walnuts and mix gently. Pour into loaf pan or small Bundt pan well greased and bake at 350 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cover with topping before serving.

Topping

1 Cup mayo

1 Cup sour cream

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 Cup chopped celery

1 Cup chopped grapes

 

 

 

 

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts, Now Robots…

mexicorn chowder

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts! Now Robots…

 

Last night I had a nightmare. No not about monsters or a werewolf that looked remarkably like Michael Landon. It wasn’t even about my last blind date, strange as that may seem.

It was about Google.

And what’s so scary about Google you ask.

It’s watching us. It’s Big Brother come to life. It’s George Orwell’s worst nightmare and now it’s ours.

In my dream I was hiding inside my house while a little Google robot that was mainly eyes was floating outside my windows peering inside. I was crawling on the floor to escape detection but it hovered outside my windows and every time I looked up it was there. I would scream and duck and it continued to float like a headless object outside watching me like a secret service agent watches the crowds.

Grow up you say. It was only a silly dream. But was it really?

In case you’re wondering what brought on this sudden burst of irrational Googlenoia, it started with Siri.

Oh sure innocent enough except that my Siri, which is only supposed to talk when spoken to…I have an older Iphone…has begun taking it upon herself to start a conversation for no apparent reason or prompting on my part. Yet when I ask her a question directly she acts as though I’m speaking a language she’s never even heard of?

“Siri how do I get to 335 Maple Drive?”

“Here are the directions for 772 Elm Street.”

I first noticed her new chatty habit when I was baking one day and pulled a cake out of the oven. “Perfect,” I said to no one in particular.

From the living room I heard a voice say, “thank you for saying that, but I’m not perfect.”

Not only does she speak to me she contradicts me! Is she so neurotic she can’t take a compliment?

“No, I’m not perfect!!”

What’s next, a tirade against her motherboard for her dysfunctional childhood?

Siri’s problems aside I thought it a fluke of nature and found it rather funny. So much so I related the incident to my daughter at her home a few weeks later.

Siri was charging on the kitchen counter and I was telling my daughter about the incident while she looked at me like a child who is thinking she should start looking for a good nursing home for her mother when suddenly Siri decided to join the conversation.

My daughter looked over and said. Oh my gosh, that is so annoying.

Well yes, but at least Siri’s response will keep me on the streets and out of a nursing home a little longer.

“See,” I said. “It’s true she talks to me all the time now.”

My daughter just shook her head in that only-to-my-mother-does-this-happen way she has and I just went back to playing with my grandsons.

Who Siri went on to talk to next I have no idea, nor do I care.

Now it has become a regular thing. When the TV is on Siri will comment on something spoken.

I just agree and move on.

Shortly thereafter my daughter bought one of those Google robots for the home and that lasted less than a week before it went bye bye.

Annoying? Yes, but then why scary?

Because they are listening all the time!

The FBI recommends you put tape over your computer camera screen opening because someone could be watching you.

Well that’s their bad luck because when I’m on the computer I’m usually in my robe and glasses and looking like the wrath of God.

If they are expecting to see Cindy Crawford good luck Mr. Snoopy, not here, not today.

Today’s generation is acclimated to a lack of privacy. They grow up with Iphones, computers and robots in their homes.

I wasn’t. My robot model was Hal in 2001 and that’s not a good thing.

And although the Jetsons painted a rosy future of a robot named Rosy to clean up after us, the world never delivered.

Oh sure Isaac Asimov would have us believe that the three laws of robots precluded them from harming man, but hello! STUFF HAPPENS.

The feeling someone is listening to what I say, hovering above me—welcome to the world of drones on top of everything else literally—and watching what I do, to me is offensive and frightening.

Now I have to worry that drones will be falling from the sky unto my head. Where’s Chicken Little when you need him?

Of course it’s not that I’m plotting to rob the Tower of London or sneak into the subway, it’s that it makes me feel violated and uncomfortable. It’s just plain creepy.

I can’t change overnight just because the new world is so accepting of Big Brother’s presence.

From what I can remember he wasn’t a good thing, right?

So, why is it now so okay to spy on people and collect all my information, personal and otherwise and make it public?

It isn’t, and that’s the point.

Perhaps we are too accepting now. We should rail against this new world where our lives are open for business 24/7 and there is no respect for our private space.

I fear it’s too late now. My computer just winked at me and Siri stuck out her tongue. I suppose I’ll have to accept that next an army of robots will descend upon us, capture us all and make us their slaves.

I think they already have and no one knows yet.

Well I don’t care, I’m not putting on lipstick to sit on my computer so take your chances.

Okay so I ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but robots well that’s a whole other thing.

 

Mexi-Corn Chowder

 

2 cups of chicken bullion

2 cups cream

2 ears of corn roasted

½ cup red peppers

½ cup yellow peppers

½ cup red peppers

¼ cup green chilies

1 small onion chopped

¼ cup chopped jalapeno peppers without the seeds

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes if you desire more heat.

 

 

Rub about two large ears of corn with butter and a sprinkle of salt. Remove kernels from the cob and set aside.

Sauté onion in butter and when translucent add chopped peppers, chilies, corn and seasonings. When softened add soup and sauté for another ten minutes. Using a hand blender blend together about half the soup. This will thicken it and when done add cream. Stir and simmer for another five minutes on low heat.

Serve with shredded cheese or popcorn on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Bug Grammy!

pasta salad slaw

Don’t Bug Grammy

I hate bugs. Seeing a bug crawling thorough my house makes my skin crawl. First response is immediately to step on it, swat or drown it. If that sounds horrible to those who believe it’s wrong to kill a bug or a spider perhaps they have never awoken from their sleep with a giant spider bite on their face.

I come by this revulsion honestly, after watching The Incredible Shrinking Man as a kid and watching him narrowly escape that giant spider, yuck, I still shiver at the scene.

I totally accept the fact when I am outdoors, bugs rule. It is after all their domain and they are entitled to live and be free, as long as they stay far away from me.

However, in my house, it is a different story. They are unwelcome visitors and as such, well guess I’m calling the shots, huh?

My children never paid much attention to the bug world. My daughter’s reaction was to call out for help when she spotted one in the house.            My son never cared one way or another if they hung around.

And now comes justice.

I feel it may be some karmic reaction to my heavy foot on the anti-spider colonies that has created this newfound world I suddenly find myself within.

My grandson has an inordinate love of bugs.

Yes, that’s correct.

Grandma now plays games about bugs; Bugopoly and Don’t Bug Me are the favs.

Games are fine, it is when he calls me over to see his pet beetle ensconced in its own cage, I balk a bit.

Oh, sure I know I cannot demonstrate my ichiness at seeing these creepy crawlies, so I feign approval and admiration for his “pets.” I have even found myself on my hands and knees helping him catch them outdoors to take home and nourish.

How can this be? I wonder as I am on my hands and knees on the sidewalk using a leaf to catch a bug for his jar.

Who is this person, this grandmother who despite, arthritis, and a disdain for bugginess is now partner to the catching and admiration of bugs?

Oh, of course I have heard that a grandparent will go to any lengths to make their grandchildren happy, that their love is limitless and no task too formidable for them to undertake, but bugs, really? Seriously?

“Oh look Grammy, it’s a black widow spider.”

Instead of grabbing a shoe, I nod my head and compliment him on his ability to discern one from another. No worry then my daughter steps in and steps on the nasty little bugger.

Meanwhile I’m thinking, this damn thing is a killer spider and what if it bites someone?

I once tried to swat a fly buzzing around the kitchen table and he started to cry. So now I merely track its whereabouts and well, if it dare get too close while my grandson is out of the room…

Before you judge me too harshly, I must in my defense say I have come a long way. I admire his lizard pet and even coochy coochy it as it scurries around its cage.

I try not to gag when it is being fed its dinner of live bugs and remark on how cute it is.

Yet, when I am home alone and I see the shadow of a creepy fuzzy spider crawling up my bedroom wall, coochy coo be damned.

I have awakened too many mornings with spider bites from a sneaky monster that attacked me defenseless in the night.

Coochy coo, I think not.

Still, if it makes my grandson happy when I fawn over the little creepy crawlies, than fawn it shall be.

As long as they remain like the Czar in Fiddler on the Roof, I say may bugs live and be well, far away from me.

       Shrimp Crab Meat Pasta Slaw

1 package Shredded cabbage (may use the pre-shredded packages in grocery store)

2 cups Rotini pasta cooked (colored or plain, but I use the colored)

2 cups cooked cut in half Shrimp

2 cups either real or fake crab meat

Salt and pepper

Add all together and toss with mayo dressing

 

Frieda’s Mayonnaise dressing

1 cup of mayo

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 heaping tablespoon of sugar (artificial sweeteners may be used here instead, but will have to be sweetened to your particular tastes)

Mix together all and toss into slaw mixture. If you like it with more dressing just double the recipe.

Add soup or fruit or both and it’s a great meal.

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Justice, Ho Ho Ho And a Hallmark Movie

lazy latkes

The theory goes justice is blind. I myself have always suspected she merely looked the other way if she found someone attractive. However my opinions aside, justice seems to have left the building in this new reality we are all living.
Yes, blind she was, but now she seems to be conspicuously absent from life on a regular basis.
So what’s a girl to do who is hanging onto the last shred of idealism like a cheating dieter holds on to the last Krispy Krème donut?
I am grasping at straws to believe that there is some justice left on the planet and fighting desperately to fend off cynicism like a tiger protecting its cub.
Enter Christmas movies. Hallmark especially. My heart takes flight as I watch knowing and waiting for the evil landlord that is evicting the whole town at Christmas to get his just desserts in the end. I revel in the knowledge he or she’s gonna get theirs, the town will be saved and the two lovers that broke up fifteen minutes before the end of the movie will reconcile, TV kiss and make up.
And although these movies always stretch credulity to the limits of what any intelligent person could endure, knowing justice will prevail no matter how far over the top they take the plot points, keeps me happy.
Although lately there doesn’t seem to be any retribution doled out to the perpetrators in these movies of evil deeds so I’m only half content in the end. The thought these scrooges never received visits from the three spirits is hard to resolve. But I am pragmatic and at this point I’ll take what I can get.
Besides I am certain that the spirit of Christmas will endure.
Kind of sad you’re thinking that one must wait for Christmas to believe there is still justice left on earth, but I say what better time.
After all isn’t Christmas the time when there is peace on earth and goodwill toward men?
When for one day the lion lies down with the lamb and all is well?
According to Snopes and of course we all know if Snopes says it’s true we can believe them, the following event occurred in 1914.
“During World War I, in the winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever.
All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches. Then, they began to sing songs. Across the way, in the “no man’s land” between them, came songs from the British and French troops. Incredibly, many of the Germans, who had worked in England before the war, were able to speak good enough English to propose a “Christmas” truce.
The British and French troops, all along the miles of trenches, accepted. In a few places, allied troops fired at the Germans as they climbed out of their trenches. But the Germans were persistent and Christmas would be celebrated even under the threat of impending death.
According to Stanley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book, Silent Night, “signboards arose up and down the trenches in a variety of shapes. They were usually in English, or – from the Germans – in fractured English. Rightly, the Germans assumed that the other side could not read traditional gothic lettering, and that few English understood spoken German. ‘YOU NO FIGHT, WE NO FIGHT’ was the most frequently employed German message. Some British units improvised ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ banners and waited for a response. More placards on both sides popped up.”
A spontaneous truce resulted. Soldiers left their trenches, meeting in the middle to shake hands. The first order of business was to bury the dead who had been previously unreachable because of the conflict.
Then, they exchanged gifts, chocolate cake, cognac, postcards, newspapers, tobacco. In a few places, along the trenches, soldiers exchanged rifles for soccer balls and began to play games.
It didn’t last forever. In fact, some of the generals didn’t like it at all and commanded their troops to resume shooting at each other. After all, they were in a war. Soldiers eventually did resume shooting at each other. But only after, in a number of cases, a few days of wasting rounds of ammunition shooting at stars in the sky instead of soldiers in the opposing army across the field.
For a few precious moments there was peace on earth good will toward men. All because the focus was on Christmas. Happens every time. There’s something about Christmas that changes people. It happened over 2000 years ago in a little town called Bethlehem. It’s been happening over and over again down through the years of time.”
I’m tearing up here. So I am a believer in the whole Christmas miracle theory and being Jewish does not dissuade me a bit.
I am well aware that watching or reading the news it becomes more and more difficult to believe in miracles or even good anymore.
It seems every year we must fight harder to find those small miracles we think of as great human-interest stories we sometimes hear at Christmas or on a news channel not afraid to report actual good news.
Thus I am a firm believer we must make our own miracles and take our joy where we can get it every day.
Christmas movies are one way I can stave off the negativity that surrounds our everyday lives.
For those who say be grateful, think positive, look at the glass half full or as Eric Idle sang as he hung from a cross in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, “always look on the bright side of life.”
I take that very seriously, well sort of, and I do seek out special things to remind me that although the news is grim, I am responsible for my own happy mood.
So what can I do besides Hallmark movies?
I turn to the classics and prefer the real hard-core tearjerkers.
Who couldn’t feel great after an hour of sobbing your heart out after watching It’s a Wonderful Life or cheering at the television when Santa Claus wins his court case in Miracle on 34th Street? (Hey if Macy and Gimble can get along so can China and the US.
For big laughs I tune into Ralphie and his father’s stocking covered leg lamp in The Christmas Story and to round out the sob fest the original Christmas Carol. Then I fall on the floor in convulsive sobs before Tiny Tim even finishes his sentence, “God Bless us one and all.” Just a minute I need a Kleenex.
When some complain that Christmas has no place in our American society and Christmas decorations shouldn’t be allowed, I cringe. I am Jewish, but I cannot condone removing something that so brightens the world for shoppers and those enjoying the season.
So what is the season? Religion aside it’s a special energy that only happens once a year.
Malls and cities are filled with those who are focused on the happiness of others.
Toys are collected for children in need, soup kitchens prepare holiday dinners for those who don’t have the means to enjoy the luxury of a good meal, or perhaps any meal, children are filled with joy and excitement dreaming of what they are receiving from Santa and every religion is celebrating the season as well.
Usually Christmas and Chanukah fall around the same time each year so if you add the smell of latkes frying,  briskets cooking and dreydels spinning while chocolate coins are won and lost, it adds to the happy spirit of the season.
The holidays are a time of year when people forget their problems, focus on happy times with family and friends and celebrate. If decorations add to that by reminding the world of the festivities at hand, I say Right on Santa!
There is too much sadness nowadays, but there can never be too much happiness, justice or caring about others.
If watching a Christmas movie or seeing a twinkling Christmas tree in a mall or taking the kids to see Santa can bring more joy it is a good thing. And good things are well just that…good.
Could These Be Any Easier Lazy Latkes?
1 pkg of Simply Potatoes hash browns (Usually found in the section with the eggs or cheeses.)
3 eggs
1 small or half of a large onion chopped and sauté until limp but not browned in a tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1½ teaspoons salt you may add more if you like saltier flavor
1 teaspoon of pepper
Oil for frying I prefer canola because it adds no taste
Sauté onions
Lightly beat eggs and add salt and pepper to eggs
Add eggs and onions to potatoes
Use an immersion blender to mix until the desired consistency
I prefer them smooth but with a light sprinkling of potato pieces here and there.
Add to hot oil that is at least 350 degrees.
Fry until edges crisp up and then turn
They should be lightly golden brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towel
I serve them on a platter with sour cream on one side and applesauce on the other.
I also add chopped eggs and caviar if they are for company or bite size.