Posted in General, humor, humour

Teddy Bears

Of course you have a Teddy Bear. Don’t be ashamed to admit that somewhere in your house is that wonderful little bear someone gave you soon after you were born.

Is the bear in the basement in some old box? Or even in the attic? I surely hope not. That bear of yours should be in your bedroom. After all, bears are given to you to comfort you in your childhood: just after Mum or Dad had lectured you on not closing the screen door, or your teacher told your mother you wouldn’t share toys at your kindergarten. And your bear did just that, right? And I am certain your bear is ready at any moment to offer you a little bit of a lift.

Multi-coloured Teddy Bear

Bears come in all shapes and sizes and, indeed, often in colours one would not think a bear bearing (pun intended). There are brown bears, black bears, orange bears, blue bears (but that’s almost sacrilege), and certainly dirty and worn bears. Perhaps the worn bears are the most valued: they could be the most valuable item a person can have. At least to their owners.

Bears certainly have character. Bears can look friendly and seem to smile upon whomsoever gazes on them. They can look grumpy, but no bear is truly grumpy, so it’s just in the beargazer’s eyes that a bear might look grumpy. Bears can look happy. But, because bears have character, bears are not neutral, they are not an ‘it’: no, bears are a he or a she. Did you read that? Bears are either ‘he’ or ‘she’.

Many of you know the story of how Teddy Bears came to be: Margarite Steiff , a German business woman, was stricken with polio early in life, but still got a good education as her friends used to put her in a hay cart and take her to school. Although one of her arms was also affected, she was able to sew and became a tailor, eventually owning her own shop. One day, she made a stuffed elephant as a pin cushion and, subsequently, started giving them to her customers. However, the customers’ children like them so much, as a stuffed toy, they came back for more.

Steiff with one of her bears

Soon, Steiff started making all sorts of stuffed animals from cats and dogs to pigs, some of them had articulating arms and legs. So, in 1880 the Margarite Steiff MbgH was registered in Germany and her nephew, Richard, joined her in 1887 and became a major figure in the company. He would go to the zoo and make drawings of animals from which stuffed animals evolved.

In 1902, President “Teddy” Roosevelt went on a hunting trip in Mississippi and, after he called other hunters ‘unsportsmanlike’ for jeering him for refusing to shoot a bear they had captured, the event became a cartoon subject in many American newspapers seen by thousands. A shop owner in Brooklyn, Morris Michtom, had a great idea and he and his wife had stuffed bears placed in their shop window, selling them to many people. By permission of President Roosevelt, the Michtoms were allowed to name their bears Teddy Bears and they sold as fast as they could make them, women and children carrying them proudly in the streets. The President himself used one as a mascot in his next re-election bid.

A year later, in 1903, an American gave an order to the Steiff company for three thousand bears, as his adventurous response to the “Teddy” bear craze.

The Steiff company, which is still in operation, has a motto as styled by Margarite Steiff, is “Only the best is good enough for children” and their products are subject to meticulous testing and inspection. They are required to be highly flame resistant and, among other things, smaller pieces such as eyes must be able to resist considerable tension, wear and tear, as only children can give.

In coming up with this post and telling of My Beloved’s and my bears, I realised I would likely become the subject of laughter, perhaps, smirking, or, like President Roosevelt, the object of mockery. No matter, My Beloved and I are proud of our own bears, each of us having kept our bear since they had been given to us some time in or after 1933 . They, as you can see are very well worn, although her Teddy ( right) has withstood the passage of time better than my Teddy. (Just like My Beloved and me.) Nevertheless, they sit by our bedside and represent a lifetime of living together.

Many years ago, before WWII, as I was trying hard to recover from a serious bout of pneumonia, my Nanny taught me to knit. And, of course, the first of several items I knitted was a pair of shorts and a pullover for my Ted. They were around for many a year, but I believe the moths loved them so much while he and I were separated for several years, that when I last saw them, they were nothing but strings of wool around my Teddy. He doesn’t seem to mind not having them, however.

Bonzo and Friends

Now, we have many more stuffed friends. In the chair beside our bed, and on the left hand side of the photo above you can see a little piece of Bonzo, my dog. And here is Bonzo, along with a multitude of other stuffed friends. Oh, yes, Bonzo has always been with me, too, but has withstood the passage of time somewhat better than Ted, perhaps because he was a guard dog, sitting there protecting me, whereas Ted was a comforting cuddly friend.

Sometimes I wonder what they do while we are away.

Do they enjoy being left alone for months at a time? Do they have parties? I must say that, particularly when we have guests staying at our house, my wine seems to disappear quite rapidly: could they possibly be doing a little sipping even while we are out on a day trip? And yet, when we return, be it later in the day or several months later, they are all in exactly the same positions as when we left. They really are good at not leaving any evidence of partying. It really is quite likely though they do party, as Pooh Bear has shown over a number of years, that bears can get into mischief.

Bears do travel quite well. Although neither of our Teddy Bears does any travelling, there is one bear who has traveled to many places in the world. I cannot reveal which of our children has this fine Teddy, who has been to such places as the UK, Egypt, Israel and several countries in Europe, Barbados, Cayman Islands and all over North America. He has occasionally had to go to the ER, where My Beloved has been able to repair the dire wounds of being stuffed in suitcases and inspected by unimpressed Customs agents. But, as you can see, this very valuable and totally irreplaceable Teddy Bear is a girl bear. You see, I said Teddy Bears can be of either sex, but never, no never, an ‘it‘. However, a Teddy Bear can be androgynous and still be a he or a she.

In an antepenultimate paragraph about Teddy Bears, psychologists say that in today’s society, more so than in previous generations, mother and child are frequently, very often daily, separated, the mother having to go to work. This separation is stressful to the child, so the child looks to something very familiar, her Teddy Bear, with his soft cuddly structure. From infancy, she has had her Teddy Bear and he or she has become part of her life. She has cuddled him, petted him and she has talked and will talk to her Teddy Bear, just as her mother talks to her. Both she and her mother look for ways to smooth over the daily separation; and the Teddy Bear, known to psychologists as a transition object, serves them both well. In fact, the Teddy Bear is almost a magician in making her feel less lonely and separated from her mother.

So, tonight, if, horror of horrors, your Teddy Bear is not at your bedside, go and hunt for him or her and resurrect him or her, then, at dinner, raise a glass of wine – or water, or whatever you drink – to your very own beloved Teddy Bear!

And in a final word, or should I say, image, my Teddy Bear wishes you all the very best for you and knows that your Teddy Bear and he will meet one day in Teddy Bear Heaven, for as sure and as long as Teddy Bears are comforting children, they will all meet and have one gigantic continuous party in that Teddy Bear Heaven!

Posted in Dining, General, humor, humour

Ramen

Ramen. Or Ramen noodles. I had heard of it: it was even mentioned on CTV’s Your Morning today. But what actually is it. Not being a pasta lover, I had never really thought about it.

Today, we were to have lunch with Charlie and Shirlie. Finally. Yes, there had been at least two previous attempts to get together for lunch at a particular restaurant in the Dartmouth side of Halifax, but because of (a) the first time last year, instead of driving to the restaurant, My Beloved drove me to the ER; and (b) the second attempt just last week, either he or I got the date mixed up and My Beloved and I did not join them in their lunch at Moxie’s.

But today, all four of us made it to Moxie’s. Believe it: a new item on the menu is a bowl of Miso Ramen. I know what miso is, but not knowing anything about ramen and always having been
adventurous, I opted for that with added shrimp. My Beloved opted for the Loaded Hamburger, but iceberg lettuce supplanting the bun, along with a side Caesar salad. Least said about Charlie and Shirlie’s choices the better.

As it was Wednesday, Moxie’s has their wine on at half price, so a bottle of Trapiche Malbec served My Beloved and me during the lunch, 66% for her and 33% for me.

Loaded Lettuce Burger with Caesar Salad

After a special grace, since I didn’t know whether I would survive this, I dived into the noodles with my chopsticks and pulled up a load of them mixed with some Chinese broccoli and a piece of green onion. Mmmm! That sure tasted great. But what was in the sauce which made it so tasty? There definitely was some Sriracha, since a plate accompanied the dish with a bottle on it, should I wish to hotten it up. There were also some mushrooms. And, sitting proudly atop of everything were two half soft-boiled eggs. Have you ever tried to pick a slippery half an egg up with chopsticks? I did it: twice.

Having devoured every solid piece of food in the bowl, I was left with one of the most delicious thin soups I have ever spooned into my mouth. There was plenty of it, but I could have gone on drinking more. But that would have been greedy and I try not to be a gourmand.

My Beloved deconstructed her lettuce burger, as there was no possible way for her to get her small and dainty mouth around it. As it was, the burger was voted just an OK; she could not finish her lettuce nor the salad. As for our friends, they did devour the substantial items on their plates and, as they and I still had left room for dessert, they shared the Fiasco Gelato, two scoops of mint chocolate chip with chocolate sauce – gluten conscious . My Beloved and I shared, 90% me and 10% her, (I let her steal some as I was still trying not to be a gourmand) a luscious flourless dark double chocolate cake, moist & rich, with almond & coconut crust, also with one scoop of the fiasco mint chocolate chip gelato – gluten conscious.

We departed still good friends and looking forward to the next lunch together. At home, I delved into Google to try to find out about ramen. The first thing I learnt was that the word ramen is a Japanese transcription of the Chinese lamian (拉麵) and the noodles are made from wheat. But here is some of what I read:
Ramen noodles contain a preservative called tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which extends their shelf life by quite some time. TBHQ is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and is often listed as an “antioxidant,” but it’s important to realize that it is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties — not a natural antioxidant. The chemical prevents oxidation of fats and oils, thereby extending the shelf life of processed foods. You’ll find it in Chicken McNuggets, CHEEZ-Its and Taco Bell beans. You’ll also find it in varnishes, lacquers, and pesticide products. Yuck!  They also contain other horrible additives such as MSG .

Oh, no, you gourmand, you! What went into my stomach?

BUT then I realised they were talking about the instant stuff college kids use as a quick go-to meal and those packages have another package inside, which contains the offensive products.

Should you wish to see something revolting, check out the video in the article at
https://www.littlethings.com/ramen-noodles-inside-stomach-digestion/

But I still asked what did I put in my mouth?

So, I went to Moxie’s web site, Moxie’s.com, and, lo and behold, ALL IS WELL, for this is part of what I found there:
Inspired by the rich culinary landscape of Japanese cuisine, Executive Chef Brandon Thordarson has created a hearty, belly-warming Miso Ramen. Our version is made with vegetarian miso broth flavoured with roasted garlic, nutty sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds. We then stir in sambel oelek—a hot paste made from chili peppers, ginger, and shallots. After the broth is perfected, we add gai lan, or Chinese broccoli, fresh green onion, a marinated soft-boiled egg, shiitake mushrooms, and, most importantly, authentic ramen noodles. We invite you to try it with Chasu—fatty slices of braised pork, or sautéed prawns for a boost of protein. And, if you like it spicy, we serve our Miso Ramen with a bottle of Sriracha so you can turn up the heat!

Although I said, all is well, it really is a good meal only on very rare occasions. For, if you explore Moxie’s web site further, click on Food, then Bowls and scroll down to Miso Ramen. Alongside to the right is an (i); clicking on that brings up the Nutritional Information. Although there are good vitamins A and C and also calcium and iron , there are 3650mg of Sodium – salt. A daily value according to Health Canada should not exceed 2300mg, so ………….

…………….I will go back to one of Moxie’s locations – often – but I’ll stick with a Caesar Salad.
Maybe. That ramen was really good.

Posted in humor, humour

What do you do when you have choices…?

Have you ever been wondering what to do out of several choices? Like, boxing my 48 litres of wine (I don’t bottle: it’s too labour-intensive); doing a PowerPoint presentation for the following Sunday’s service; vacuuming the house; or getting the guest room ready for our next visitor arriving next Tuesday.

On returning home from a morning unlocking the church for a meeting I was not attending, picking up theatre tickets, going to the bank to make a deposit, then on to Costco to add another grandchild as a family member and finally the Bulk Barn to pick up unshelled peanuts and shelled sunflower seeds for the Blue Jays, squirrels and chipmunks, I had a nice lunch in my recliner followed by an even nicer nap.

So, there I was, right after my nap, faced with having to do something. Other than just staying in my recliner and trying to nod off again.

I decided that boxing my wine was a morning job, definitely not an afternoon one. For your edification, ‘boxing’ is not a term used by real vintners: it is one I coined as a result of deciding that de-labeling, washing and sterilizing 60 or so bottles, filling them, corking them, shrink-wrapping them, labelling them and carrying them down two flights of stairs to the wine room a few at a time was, as I said above, much too labour-intensive. Particularly as I would have to climb back up two flights again. I enjoy my wine – and that of other’s too – too much to waste time which could be used in drinking it. Besides the grape juice concentrate manufacturers provide me with a lovely strong plastic bag container, which holds up to 7 litres, and I re-insert the full bag back into the box they also, thoughtfully, provide. All I have to do is cut a hole in the side of the box so the spout can protrude to which I attach a tap. And there it is, ready to squirt wine into my glass; and yours, if you are here. How easy is that! All I needed was six bags and boxes, not sixty bottles.

The PowerPoint was the next option. However, I had just finished the presentation for this coming Sunday, so I didn’t really feel like jumping straight into another one for the following Sunday. There’s always time for that between now and the arrival of our next visitor.

Vacuuming the house was an option, which had true little appeal after just waking from a nap and having the other option of nodding off again. Besides, I find it takes too much energy to do the entire house in one go, so usually I split the exercise into two smaller efforts. By the time I had decided that I had time to vacuum one floor, it was too late, as I was already considering the fourth option….

….that of getting the guest room ready. Well, it is ready, it’s always ready for whomsoever needs to stay overnight, so all that is needed is to make the bed with clean sheets. And that can be done any time between now and Tuesday morning.

At about that time, I must have nodded off again.

On awakening, I realised that there was no time left to do any of the four options, so I sat down at the computer and wrote this.

Posted in Dining, General, humor, humour, Uncategorized

Crossushi, Raw Water and Mouth Cooking

I like to think of myself as a Foodie -sometimes a gourmet and sometimes a gourmand, but always a Foodie.

But recently I came across an article in the Oxford English Dictionaries Word of the Day mentioning crossushi, raw water and mouth cooking and I wondered what they were.

Crossushi, it turns out, is manufactured by a bakery in New York and is a cross between a croissant and sushi as we know and love it: a sesame-seed-topped croissant with smoked salmon, wasabi, and nori seaweed. Well, I could certainly handle that as a Foodie.

Raw Water is something quite different: it is unsterilised water taken by those who do not believe there should be chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals in drinking water. Well, I drink that all the time, since we obtain our water from a 200-ft/65-metre well in our property. The only chemical of distinction in our water is arsenic. True. But I have been drinking it for well over thirty years now and I still have quite a head of hair. But others, apparently, simply get their water from streams and open water. Nah, that’s not for me.

Now we get to Mouth Cooking. Oh, my, after I discovered what that was, again, courtesy of OED, “A viral YouTube video called ‘Cooking With Your Mouth’ features a chef preparing a Christmas turkey stuffing entirely with her mouth – from dicing onions by chewing a big bite to zesting lemon by scraping the rind against her teeth to mixing a raw egg by swishing it around her gums” I decided that was distinctly, definitely outside the realm of this Foodie.

Yes, I have often shared a fork, say an escargot from My Beloved’s dish, or a spoon, say a small piece of my grandson’s chocolate torte, but chewed food out of another’s mouth? Not for me.

The article went on to posit whether Shakespeare was a gourmet or gourmand. Perhaps we will never know for sure, but judging from the many times food is mentioned in his thirty-nine plays one might consider he was, like me, a Foodie. Consider some of his lines:
Eight wild boars roasted whole for breakfast, and but twelve persons there. (Antony and Cleopatra)
Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers (Romeo and Juliet)
Do you think because you are virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night)
Then again, Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things………nose painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but takes away the performance. (Macbeth) [Nose painting, by the way, is the reddening of one’s nose through drinking.]

Interestingly, Jennifer Beard wrote a book of recipes based on Shakespeare’s works and one was Shrewsbury Cakes taken from that Twelfth Night quote above https://anaspiringhomemaker.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/shrewsbury-cakes-an-elizabethan-cookbook/.

I cannot end, of course, without recognising that we have had two of our daughters here over the past two months, both providing a huge help in the weeding and planting of flowers. One grandson has also been here helping with some of the heavier chores, such as chopping and stacking wood. They all will be gone towards the end of next week, but shortly after in August, another daughter and her two daughters will be arriving from California. It is possible, hopefully, that a fourth daughter will be arriving by herself (children all grown up and husband cannot get away from work) for a week or two just before the other daughter and granddaughters leave. Too bad our son will not be able to make a trip here from Victoria, BC, but, in September a dear friend from England arrives for three weeks. And, obviously, we will have more adventures for Foodies over the next two or three months.

Last night, one daughter, one grandson, My Beloved and I each had a more than 2-pound

lobster and My Beloved’s fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. Oh, that makes me, with good wine to slosh it all down, like the printers, an all-in-one gourmet, gourmand and Foodie. And if you know our family, you always leave a last slice of new bread to the very end, when it is smothered in butter and Marmite. Oh, yummmmmmy!

And I leave you with some words from this Foodie:

I go to the market to buy me some bacon
but when I get there, my tummy starts achein’,
for I see all the goodies lined up on the shelves
and to them my eyes are drawn all by themselves:
Hershey dark choc’late and Breyer’s ice cream
and things that I love and not just in a dream
like peaches and crumpets and jams with great flavour
and spices which I in my curries can savour.
As I pass by the shelves I select this and that
much more than I came for – and that’s a true fact.
I’ve seen so much choice that my will’s got forsaken
and I choose so much more than the one slab of bacon;
my cart is so laden with peanuts and Ruffles
to get to the car I can barely do shuffles.
It’s not till next morning as I stand on the scales
the neighbours for far sure can all hear my wails.
So, gourmand or gourmet or plain simple Foodie
fill up my tummy and I’ll never be moody.

Posted in General, humor, humour

Know Your Guests By their Food

Every year it seems, My Beloved and I host family or friends guests from  about the third week of June,  for all of July, most of August, and well into September.

And we enjoy every day of that time!
And, more to the point, THEY enjoy every moment of every day!

Why wouldn’t you when you can wake up in the Guest room to this scene:

IMG_4765 - Copy

So, what does food have to do with our guests?
EVERYTHING!

When they have awoken, some like breakfast; some nothing to eat, but maybe a cup of coffee or tea. If they like breakfast, they may well like a British breakfast with my special extra-creamy scrambled eggs, such as these two Atlanta, GA, friends of ours, J and C, at the far end of the table:

IMG_20170719_1046078

Others, like N and J from Palm Springs, California, like cereal. (Note to self: make sure the Best Before date is more recent than two years ago.) And/or fruit.

Some, like T and S from Cleveland, bring a trailer and prefer to have breakfast in their abode before emerging for the rest of the day with us.

One of our daughters, Jenny, Jack eating hamburger - IMG_20160715_2007410and her 13-year old son, Jack, come in June every year and stay for all of July, as Jack takes sailing lessons at St. Margaret’s Bay Sailing Club. Last year, the day after their arrival, they were up early,
joined us at our church for morning service,
followed by lots of fun at the Parish barbecue.
Hamburgers and hot dogs for all. Including young Jack
trying to stuff a complete hamburger in his mouth.
Some breakfast! But his teenage appetite is something else!

Lunches are very variable. Some like almonds, yogourt and fruit. We tend to eat those items for lunch, so apples, grapes, bananas, pears or plums are always in the larder or either the kitchen or downstairs fridge. Or there’s always White Sails down Peggy’s Cove road for mountainous Montreal smoked meat sandwiches on rye with sauerkraut and French fries with poutine on the side. Some lunch!

There are some whose digestive system will take any punishment and they need new (preferably) bread, lots of butter, loads of salami or ham slices and mustard and pickles.
Again, some lunch!

I must admit that I have been known at least once in the past decade to have a  new bread thickly-spread peanut butter and tomato or banana sandwich. And there has to be a good layer of butter under the peanut butter.
Well, maybe more than one in a decade.
And there is an alternative, such as today’s lunch of lovely crunchy bread, butter, but because the kitchen was quite cool today, it was impossible to spread the butter thinly – sort of sliced butter – and a reasonable slice of Velveeta. Yes, I have always loved Velveeta, so what, you critics!

New bread with cold butter that won’t spread, so it has to go on rather thickly, and Marmite - IMG_20180522_1226206Marmite is a delight My Beloved, some of our five kids and I relish. Marmite? Ah, go to the British section of the supermarket.  Or World Market in Palm Springs. Yes, it’s a British thing, I’m told, and if you have not been brought up with Marmite, you may not, at a mature age as is Robb, like it. But give it a try – Robb does time and time again: new bread, thickly spread butter and Marmite very lightly spread – you don’t need much. You can also use it in gravies. I think it could be used as a spy test: if you don’t like Marmite, you must be a Russian spy.

Then there are the dinner choices for our guests. Some may have allergies, such as shellfish like K, or Garlic – yes garlic – like J, or onions like D. And there are those like R who are steak people. Or roast beef like Tanis – oh, but wait a minute, she likes Greek and sushi, too.

Take them to a restaurant and see what they order. Do they select the escargots or a chowder? Do they choose salmon or lamb chops? And do they eat desserts? It’s a way of finding out our friends’ preferences.

My Beloved and I rarely eat desserts – virtually never at home – and, if we do choose one at a restaurant, we are likely to share a chocolate mousse. But watch C, he will have the most luscious strawberry Charlotte Russe the house can offer – not this house though, it takes too long to prepare.
However, if I can find plantains, I will flambé them for guests.

Let them get black as the ace of spades, the plantains, not the guests – some people see them on the top of our fridge and think they are rotting bananas. The blacker they are, the better. Carefully run a sharp-pointed knife down the inside curve of the plantain, trying to penetrate only the skin, not the fruit itself, and the skin will peel off. Slice them into 1cm disks. Heat a cast iron fry pan and when medium hot, add a good chunk of butter and some brown sugar. When the butter and sugar have melted, add the plantain disks. Sauté until they are nicely browned, then flip them and do the other side. Just when they are ready to serve, pour in a good splash of brandy or Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice, remove the pan well away from the stove keeping your head well away, too, and ignite the spirit with a long match. Your guests will be amazed at the result! Serve and pour the pan juices over the plantains.

That appears as if I do the cooking: no way, My Beloved is the best cook in the world and she it is at the heart of our home-made gastronomic experiences. But we work well together at helping our guests.

Some guests, of course, are omnivores. They are very easy to please. They’ll eat anything and everything.

Which brings up the fact that, while all our guests may prefer a certain food or type of food, they are all wonderful people and all are accommodating, willing, allergies aside, to eat, or at least try, what we put in front of them.

If you come and stay with us, you have been warned: your choice at a restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you will get at Chez Nous. But we will get to know you by your food choices and you will get love and food prepared lovingly.

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in General, humor, humour

How much about our health is TMI?

Over the past five months, I have subjected my friends and two of our daughters have subjected their FB friends to episodes in my life regarding health.

Ofttimes, I have thought, I wonder if this is TMI – Too Much Information – and whether I should not ask for prayers and positive thoughts. I have wondered whether my friends and all those hundreds on FB, most of whom I do not know, have just discarded the emails or FB posts.

Today, after church, one person came up to me and said, “Mel, thank you so much for sharing. Many people do not have the courage to ask for support. Perhaps your sharing will help them share.”

I had never thought about my emails in that light. It was quite a revelation to me. But on thinking about it, I realised that very often I know friends who are suffering from health or other difficulties of life and, yet, they do not broadcast their woes or seek opinions of others. In my case, I also realised that by telling hundreds of people about myself, hundreds of people, most of whom I do not even know since they are friends of our daughters, gave me huge support with prayers and, equally stimulating for me, words of encouragement, stories of their spouses’ or friends’ experiences. So many people supporting me: me, whom they, too, did not know, but nevertheless took time to let me know they were thinking of me.

I am not a narcissist, nor do I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am a person who likes to talk to people. My Beloved knows that I am just as likely to start a conversation with that nice couple at the next table as not. Maybe more likely, particularly if I detect a different accent. I have also been told on many occasions that I am funny. And that is how I tried to write those emails relating to my health issues: not heavy-handed or sorrowful, but with a touch of lightness. To many I related my issues to an old car: you take it in for an oil change and the mechanic says, the radiator has a slight leak – I can really associate myself with that – and, having fixed the leak, I find my brakes are squealing, so I have to get new pads. Having got that fixed, the weather stripping around the driver’s door needs replacing – it actually did need that. After all that, I say my car has had its Spring Tune-up. That’s me.

Pacemaker in Nov-Dec.
One eye cataract in Jan and the second in Feb.
In March, a CAT scan (because I cannot have an MRI with a pacemaker) discovered two “things” in the bladder, so this month, I have had them scraped off the wall.
The following day, I had two basal cell cancers snipped off the tip and the side of my nose – I look like I had a great fight or, as one friend at church put it, “Looks like your wife bit the end off in a moment of real passion!” Yes, in church, yet.
I still have to get a hernia fixed in May, but after that, I will be able to say, my Spring Tune-up was successful and I am ready to run or walk as in the past. Walk, anyway, as I don’t like running. I mean, what’s the point of trying to get from one point back to where you came from in the least amount of time? I like to cover the same ground looking at the hedgerows, the flowers and keeping watch out for the hungry coyote.

Without humour, where would we be and what would our lives be like? (The subject of another post on this Blog, I think.) Life is what we get dealt by genes, fate,  and nothing you or I can do will change those factors. However, our own way of life can be a serious factor by what we eat, believe and how we act. And in how we deal with what we have been dealt and relate that to others, if we feel like doing so, is quite probably the way that others come back to us. As yet another person in church this morning said, “These last few months, you have had one thing after another, but you always come bouncing back cheerfully!”

Life may not be what you make it, but you can sure help to shape the results. And it may be that if you share your issues with others, as I have done, the rewards can be overwhelming, often making me cry.

Cry? Is that a good or happy thing? You betcha, it made me feel one heck of a lot better!

And, so, I share all this with you, dear reader. May you be blessed with good health and a sense of humour.

 

Posted in General, humor, humour

The Pedometer and what it means to me

For years I have wanted something that would tell me how far I have walked, or how many steps I have taken.

Once years ago, I bought a pedometer which strapped on my wrist. After a while, it seemed not to be very accurate and I lost interest in what it was telling me. I think it broke: or I broke it. I can’t remember.

So, just recently, I informed My Beloved of 63 years (plus those nine courting years, including 6 in the teen years) that for my birthday I would like a pedometer. OK, she responded, but you will have to choose one. Now this was different, because for the past umpteen years, we have not given birthday or Christmas gifts to each other – oh, occasionally, I might have given in and surprised her.

Now some of our friends have Fitbits. And everyone to whom I talked never mentioned the word pedometer. I thought I must be a dinosaur asking for a pedometer: so was the name Fitbit being adopted like Kleenex as a generic word meaning what I used to call a pedometer? This thought had me starting to search Google for Fitbits.

Oh, they come for your wrist, for your ankle, as a pendant or as an attachment to your belt. Or as a clip-on to your pocket. I had had no idea how many of these Fitbits there are. But then I discovered that there are many fitbits (with a small f), but that they are not called fitbits with a small f, but Fitness Trackers. Oh.

But my friends all had Fitbits, or they said they did. Oh, my! I quickly came to the conclusion that all our Fitbit friends were wealthier than My Beloved and me. The price of Fitbits seemed astronomic: over $300 Canadian. To count my steps?

But wait, the ad said, all the things that a Fitbit can do:

  • Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
  • Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
  • Set goals, view progress and earn badges
  • Share and compete with friends throughout the day
  • Free iphone and android application
  • Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones

No, no, no! I do not want to sync to my computer; I do not want to earn badges – I have enough; I do not want to share and compete with friends. I JUST WANT TO COUNT STEPS.

So, next was the Omron at little over half the price of a Fitbit. However, in Canada we work in metric and I found one review which told me that it could not be changed to metric. Throw the Omron out!

After looking at a number of similarly expensive machines – and it seemed to me that the smaller the machine, the more costly it is – I concluded that I could not have a birthday present.

But wait! What if I changed my term of reference for Google? How about simply asking if there were such a thing as a Pedometer. And, suddenly, there burst on my screen a zillion pedometers – including my friends’ Fitbit.

And there, alongside the Fitbits were much less costly gizmos. Including one called a
One TweakIMG_20180401_1657465

The One Tweak does a few simple, but one particularly essential one for me: it counts steps. Yes, it also stores a daily and up to a monthly total. And a total memory mode. It also counts calories (which I ignore in more ways than one), the distance in kilometres (yes, it does US standard, too), and exercise time. It does not sync with my computer; it does not share and compete with friends; it does not earn badges! It does what I wanted a pedometer to do: count steps and tell me how far I have walked.

And it clips to my trouser pocket – facing inside the pocket. Or, when I’m doing exercises first thing in the morning, to my underpants. That’s probably too much info. Imagining me in my underpants and a shirt doing exercises. One Tweak doesn’t care – it works anyway.

The photo shows that today, Easter Sunday 2018, by just about 3 minutes to 5pm when I took the photo and put it in this post, I had walked 1,652 steps – most of them at church this morning. Yes, we had a Sunrise Service at 5.30am starting with fire in the parking lot, then candle-light in the church, following which we men’s group provided breakfast of fried eggs (three at least for most), sausages (two for most, but three or four for some), one pancake each, tea, coffee and OJ or apple juice. And then, after an hour and a half break during which My Beloved and I went home, set the alarm for 9am, woke to the alarm, we returned for a more traditional Anglican (C of E or Episcopalian, depending on your country) service at 9.30am.

Oh, yes, my One Tweak tells the time – and in metric! Or 12-hour AM/PM if you prefer. I don’t.

How can you refuse to buy and keep something from Amazon Prime when it arrives with the enclosed card:

IMG_20180401_1659505

I have now had my One Tweak for about a week and how much did it cost? Canadian $80. And I am totally satisfied with it – well, almost: the numbers are rather slow at getting towards my first target of 5,000 steps. I wonder how I can get it to speed up!