A few years ago, my daughter, granddaughter and I were in a craft store looking for some Halloween decorations. As we wandered up and down the aisles, my granddaughter came upon a bin full of tiaras. She was going through her princess phase, so this discovery sent her over the top of wowness and glee. With her Mom’s okay, I told her to select one. It was my treat. She did and promptly put it on. Hmmm. I figured I really ought to have a tiara myself. I asked my granddaughter to choose one for me, too.
These two tiaras would have made the most princessy of princesses envious. They were made of 14 carat plastic, embedded with brilliantly colored fake gem stones and plumed with fashionably flamboyyant faux feathers. Who wouldn’t want one of those? My granddaughter and I proudly wore our tiaras around the store until my daughter concluded her shopping.
When I returned home, I put my tiara in a drawer and forgot about it. Some weeks later I was feeling a bit out of sorts. There were some things that needed to be done around my apartment, but procrastination was the more pleasant option. At one point I went to retrieve something from a drawer. When I opened it, there was the tiara. I was sure I heard it speak. “Stop being such a grouch and put me on.” A talking tiara! Who knew? I put the tiara on. Instantly, I felt rather elated and proceeded to clean the bathroom.
Here’s the thing. Continuous research shows that humor and laughter promote good health and well being. As a matter of fact, this is rather ancient news. Aulus Cornelius Celsus was a Roman encyclopedist early in the 1st century. The only surviving volume of the encyclopedia is his medical treatise called De Medicina. One of the passages from this work talks about humor, exercise and proper diet to combat ill health.
There have been numerous philosophers, psychologists and physicians throughout the centuries who talk about the importance of play and humor. Thomas Sydenham, a 17th century physician said, “The arrival of a good clown exercises more beneficial influence upon the health of a town than twenty asses laden with drugs.” The Mayo Clinic has a terrific report on stress relief through laughter.
Of course, there are many books and articles available in the market on the benefits of humor, play, laughter. My point is that we can all be our own sitcom or our own humorist. It’s an opportunity to be creative, to play, to be whimsical and light-hearted. What makes you smile? What brings you joy? I really believe we all need a tiara. Maybe yours looks like a clown nose or those Groucho Marx glasses or whatever amuses you. Maybe you’ll want to select a color of the rainbow to slide down. Whatever style ‘tiara’ you choose will be good for your health and well being.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw
Once upon a time, a long time ago… Once upon a time in a dark and shadowy woods… Once upon a time in a far away land… Once upon a time… perhaps my favorite beginning to any story. It could be fact or fiction; fables; fairy tales; myths; folk tales; festival stories; historical events; autobiographies. All stories could begin with once upon a time.
Once upon a time can take us on amazing journeys. For me, those four words always lead to a treasure trove of wonder, imagination, adventure, travelling new or old roads, sometimes taking detours, making discoveries all in the universe of possibility.
There is a special and unique story each one of us can tell. It is our own story. My story began once upon a time, many years ago as a young child. I reckon your story began the same way. How did this story evolve through time? What paths were taken? Who was encountered along the way? What changes occurred? Who were we then and who are we now? The beauty of such a story is that it can be rewritten over and over as we evolve and change. It all begins with once upon a time.
Story telling was the first means of communication beginning with the drawings on cave walls eons ago. Before and after the printed word, wisdom and knowledge were passed down through the ages via stories.
“Stories invest our lives with meaning, they develop and express our creativity. They help us to laugh at ourselves. They give us the strength to face life's difficult moments. They connect us more vitally with ourselves and each other and they turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.
According to brain/mind research, we organize information in story form. It is how we make sense of the world around us. And it is how we communicate that understanding to another. Stories allow us to bypass the linear and access whole brain learning.” From the Education Department at Johns Hopkins University.
Once upon a time when nothing much was going on, this blog came into being and… Well, the story is still unfolding. What is your once upon a time?
As we go through life, we discover certain things are immutable. The sun comes up every morning. There is zero caloric intake when eating off of someone else’s plate. Leftover pizza is eaten cold for breakfast. Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy are real. The other line is always faster. There will always be another Star Wars sequel. Cross at the green. April Fool’s Day is not limited to April 1. The list goes on ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
What does all that have to do with cutlery trays? Glad you asked. Since the beginning of time, or the beginning of cutlery or the beginning of place settings which included a fork, knife, soup spoon, teaspoon or the invention of cutlery trays, the Rule of the Cutlery Tray came into being.
Section 86 of the Manifesto of Cooking and Eating Utensils deals specifically with cutlery trays. There are the vertical compartments meant for forks, knives and soup spoons. The teaspoons are designated for the horizontal compartment. That is the essence of the Rule and it’s immutability. However, we must delve deeper into the specifics.
Sub Section 1 of this rule allows each owner of cutlery and a cutlery tray to arrange the forks, knives and soup spoons in their order of choice. It is preferable to begin with the forks on the left, but to each his own.
Sub-section 1A states the soup spoons must be stored in a vertical unit. This is an irrevocable directive.
Sub Section 2 states that all teaspoons must be stored in the horizontal compartment. This regulation is written in stone. That’s no joke since it was believed to have originated in the Stone Age or with Stone Age thinking. Likely the latter.
Why any of this matters has to do with a shocking discovery a friend of mine made while visiting family. She happened to open the cutlery drawer. OMG! The soup spoons were located where the teaspoons are meant to be. What was my friend to do? She managed to pull herself together and carry on as if nothing had happened.
When my friend returned home, she let me know about her startling finding. I was gobsmacked. What kind of person puts soup spoons where the teaspoons belong? Was this a disregard for or an ignorance of propriety?
We are in a new and different age. Many things have changed. I wonder sometimes if propriety, decorum, good values are becoming an endangered species. Truly, whether it’s a new age or an old age, manners, respect, tolerance, kindness, compassion are not now and will never become extinct.
BTW. If you’ve had several teaspoons go missing like I have, I may have solved that mystery. I noticed that as the number of teaspoons in my kitchen decreased, the number of paper clips in my desk increased. The obvious conclusion, of course, is disappearing teaspoons turn into paper clips. The question then becomes how to reverse the process. Any ideas?
Comments are welcomed.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians. I feel very fortunate to have been able to celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving for the first part of my life, and Canadian Thanksgiving ever since. Historically they differ. Otherwise the similarities are quite evident. The menus with all the trimmings are essentially the same. We also share the more important big picture which includes family, good will and gratitude for all of our blessings. I believe it really matters to have this designated day for giving thanks. That said, why not have every day as the day for giving thanks?
My stream of consciousness thinking led to the idea of a Q & A with some kids to get their perspective about Thanksgiving. I spoke with D, a 12 yr. old boy and K, a 10 yr. old girl. Even though a couple of answers are similar, they were queried separately. Their sincere, heartfelt answers were very moving. Here is that interview. Enjoy.
Me: Thanksgiving is often associated with harvest. What does harvest mean to you?
D: I think of corn, pumpkins and all the crops that are ready.
K: New crops growing. New harvest like a fresh start.
Me: What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?
D: Family, friends get together. Eat and talk together. A break from school. Some friends don’t come from here. They travel to their families and find joy returning to their roots.
K: The decorations and everyone sitting together and talking about our lives.
Me: What would you like to share that you are thankful for?
D: I’m thankful for being born into this family, for having enough food, water and a good education.
K: Being thankful for everything we have, friends, family; how lucky we are to be living in Canada in a safe country.
Me: What’s the fun part of Thanksgiving?
D: Having family and friends over and sharing food.
K: Being with family and friends we haven’t seen in awhile.
Me: We don’t want to forget about the meal. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
D: Stuffing, pumpkin pie. Our dog likes pumpkin, too.
K: Stuffing, turkey and apple crumble.
Me: (I’m with them on the stuffing.) What would be your Thanksgiving wish for the world?
D: I wish for peace, enough food, water, proper clothing for everyone and for everyone to be loved.
K: I wish for all arguments and wars to be over, for world peace, for the homeless to have food and a home to live in.
Sentiments like that give hope for the future.
Comments are welcomed.
Back in the day cooking and baking was my thing. Please do not make a leap from ‘thing’ to hobby. In my world, if something is one of life’s necessities, it ain’t a hobby. Okay. That said, reading recipes from multiple sources and preparing the most interesting and exotic ones was great fun. I seemed to have an innate sense of what herbs and spices combine well together. In addition, my quirky side frequently prompted me to alter recipes . Fortunately, those alterations always, to my great relief and sometimes surprise, turned out very well.
Baking was the most enjoyable for me. Breads (sans bread maker), cakes, cookies, pies et al, seemed to best suit my type of creative expression. People often said I made the best fruit pies, pumpkin pies, pies in general. Consequently, this story is about (what else?) pie.
My family’s favorite was raspberry pie. Personally, of all the fruit pies, raspberry was, and still is, my penultimate. If you must know, strawberry pie rocks the bottom of my list. Alright, my personal tastes are irrelevant to this story. Just saying. When a request came in for a raspberry pie, I easily put my preferences aside . After all, I didn’t have to eat it.
One otherwise uneventful day, I was presented with just enough fresh organic raspberries to make a pie. I assembled the ingredients and put the pie in the oven to bake.
While the pie was baking, I decided to wash the kitchen floor. Which turned out to be most fortuitous. You may be familiar with the axiom that only a mother knows how to walk on a wet or just washed floor. When the oven timer went off, I executed my walking on newly washed floor skills to extract the pie from the oven. As I was removing the pie, there was a wrinkle in time. OMG! The pie was suddenly on the floor.
You may also be familiar with the 5 second rule when it comes to being able to eat food that drops on the floor. This rule expands to 7 seconds if the floor is newly washed. I had a nanosecond of panic. There were no more raspberries to start over with. I couldn’t lose all those organic berries. The baking angels must have been with me, as I caught the glint of a spoon within reach. I scooped all of the filling off the floor and put it back in the pie shell. Finish time…7 seconds! Whew! I also managed to save pieces of the top crust.
Arthur Asche once said, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” That’s what I did. I arranged the salvaged pieces of crust in a pattern which could have been the original design. Next, I stared at the contents of the refrigerator hoping to find inspiration. Ala Kazam! There staring back at me was a carton of whipping cream. Who can resist whipped cream? Right? And so, the finishing touch was an aesthetic motif of whipped cream dollops. The pie was later devoured and no one was the wiser… Until now.
Comments are welcomed.