Friday, September 26, 2014

Kale - The Superfood

Although I love vegetables above all other foods, I didn't grow up eating a lot of different varieties. I feel as though there are many more types of these nutritious foods available to us nowadays. In the grocery store produce aisle you can find local and exotic imports from pretty much every corner of the globe.

I knew kale was one of the superfoods even before Dr. Oz began to preach same.  I first tried cooking it and found the taste unpleasant, bitter as it were. Then I would throw raw kale into the blender with some type of liquid, close my eyes and gulp green slime in an attempt to down this vegetable...disgusting and also not recommended.

Hubby has had other kale experiences. While visiting relatives in northern Germany, he often enjoyed a dish called Grünkohl and Pinkelwurst. He speaks of it often,  reminisces and drools each time he sees a bunch of kale. Since I'm not a wurst kind of person and since I hail from southern Germany, the land of spätzle and schnitzel, I can't quite imagine the aforementioned delicacy,

In my search for alternate kale options, I have created kale chips...not bad but nothing special, especially if you burn them. More recently, I have come across an amazing recipe. It's a salad unlike any other. It can be put into the fridge and eaten over the course of several days without becoming soggy. In fact, it becomes tastier.

I'm afraid I don't know the origin of this recipe since it came to me from a firend, so I regret that I am unable to give credit to the source.

Lemon Kale Salad


1 tblsp lemon zest (that's when you use a grater and scrape off some lemon peel)
juice of one lemon (you can also use 3 tblsp of the liquid lemon)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cups chopped kale ribs removed (wash and completely dry first)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted blanched hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste


In a large bowl mix together the first three ingredients. Add the kale and toss to coat. Add parmesan and hazelnuts. Toss before serving.

As I said, this will last for days in the fridge. I hope you enjoy it. I do.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Go Buy Us a Cabbage so I Can Make A Lettuce Salad for Dinner

There are memories that stay with us for a lifetime. Unfortunately, they seem to overshadow those of success and achievement.  They're usually the memories that once made us feel foolish, embarrassed or unsuccessful. They're the ones that got us into some form of trouble, caused regrets or were hurtful to others.

For some reason, the older I get, the more I remember and obsess over all the things that I've done wrong which can't be erased. I also have memories, as we all do of events which have been traumatic. It's as though there's suddenly a bright yellow highlighter in my brain that causes those sorts of remembrances to stand out above all others and I don't like it

This morning on the radio, they asked, "If you could, would you want to erase any memories?"

There's the argument that our memories and our experiences shape us into the people we are.  Of course this is true, but do we really need the ones from the past that made us feel unworthy, guilty or ashamed? Do we want those that damaged us or affected our self esteem? What about the errors that no amount of backpedaling could repair?

Yesterday, while riding in the car, I asked hubby whether he knows of people who have bought cabbages when they were supposed to purchase lettuce. His silence indicated to me that he was either engrossed in thought or wondered whether I'd lost another of my already too few faculties. I tried to elaborate.

"I'm fairly certain that I've heard of people before who made this mistake and have brought home a cabbage when they were supposed to buy lettuce. You know, back in the day when there was only iceberg lettuce and not as many exotic varieties of vegetables and people weren't as informed about them?" I rambled on without stopping for a breath assuming this was now perfectly clear.

I was desperately seeking some form of affirmation.

"Where did that come from," he asked even though by now, I thought he'd be used to my random trains of thought.

I tried unsuccessfully to explain about a question about my past from our recent visitors and how it connected to a younger me.

"When I was five, and we lived on the island up north, I was sent to the small grocery store in town. Mom asked me to get a head of lettuce. I braved the bears and assorted wildlife, trudged through the woods and proudly went to the in town store all by myself. I picked up the ridiculously heavy head from the produce aisle, paid, and with some struggle schlept it home. When I got there, I was told that it wasn't a lettuce but a cabbage and how was mom going to make a salad for our company now?" (I guess being European, they hadn't heard of coleslaw)

I was a failure. I feel as though I can't be the only one to have ever done this but received no positive response from my spouse. He chuckled and told me to write a book.

I suppose  that the crazy cabbage caper isn't the worst thing in the world, but nonetheless, I remember it and it affected me. If I had the opportunity, would I erase it? Probably not, after all, I wouldn't have been able to write this blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Cataract Adventures Part 1

A friend related that she knows the exact date when she became old. Whereas I'm not that precise, I do know the exact month. I became old in February 2014. Has anyone else noticed that people behave more like an old person once any one of their senses is compromised?

In my particular case, my vision  became weaker. It took me longer to do things and I had difficulty functioning at times. I misplaced things and couldn't find what was in front of my face. Who puts white items on a white shelf anyhow? I became aware of unusual behaviours that I didn't have before. Sometimes, I felt out of if looking at myself  from an outsider's perspective. Yes indeed, I was now old.

 Realizing that something was amiss, I visited the eye doctor in February. I was told that there would be a cost and was reminded that I had been there less than a year earlier. I knew all that and didn't care. I needed help to determine why my once 20/10 distance vision had suddenly deteriorated.

After a brief examination, the lovely young doctor at the optometric clinic announced, "I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that your visit will be covered by OHIP. The bad news is....cataracts."

I was shocked.  Cataracts? Isn't that what old people get? I was told that surgery would be required once it became bad enough. A mere six months later, it became bad enough. Unusual, With my right eye shut, I could clearly see a white blob obstructing my vision in the left eye Not only that, contrast was hard to see and I needed to wear sun glasses to view anything outdoors. I was told that cataracts commonly develop more slowly and occur in people once they reach  their 70's and 80's and yet, here I was.

My instincts and a recommendation told me I ought to go for a free Bochner Eye Institute evaluation. My eye doctor suggested an Oshawa doc who works out of Bowmanville Hospital. I was nervous and knowing nothing about the surgery, weighed the options. Should I go where the Blue Jays baseball players go, or should I go to a small town hospital? I decided to check out both.

The Bochner preliminary appointment went well. The office was bright and cheery and the appointment was on schedule and informative. I felt a little less squeamish after hearing the details. There were options available and I was given a brochure of the choices and price ranges. I accepted a follow up appointment.

Meanwhile, I heard from a number of sources that the Oshawa doctors were quite skilled and that the facilities in Bowmanville were state of the art. I called to confirm my appointment early in September and was told it would be two hours in duration on September 16th. I was to bring my reading glasses and my medications.

My appointment day arrived. I was there in plenty of time. The office, in a lovely old house, was crowded with people and I waited patiently for the receptionist to acknowledge me. After giving my name, I was told I had no appointment. I explained that I had even called but was once again told, "No appointment". Since I had travelled a bit of a distance, I asked about my 11:15 a.m. appointment, whereupon the disgusted looking receptionist announced, "It was cancelled on September 10th".  I was shaken and upset.

 "I didn't cancel it. In fact, I phoned to confirm."

"It was cancelled September 10th."

Not knowing what to do I began to leave. My eyes became visibly moist as I turned back. "What should I do? Do I need another referral?" I asked.

"Well...I would have given you a cancellation," announced the receptionist. "Here! October 15th". She thrust an appointment card at me. I put it in my shirt pocket and descended the stairs in tears.

So that's where it stands. My appointment has been rescheduled to October 15th...a full month later. It occurred to me to phone every day between now and then just to make sure the appointment still exists. Besides that, I feel justified in being annoying, but I think I'll call once, just once, the day before.

I am now writing my blog with my left eye closed because I am better able to focus. The computer screen is a bit bright as I have not yet figured out if there's an adjustment for contrast.

As the saga of the cataracts continues, I will write more.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cobourg Street Pianos - Year 2

Last year, I wrote a blog and shared photos of our street pianos (May 20, 2013  Street Pianos - Cobourg). Well, they're here for another year. Downtown Cobourg has pianos available for the enjoyment of its citizens. This year, they returned, fewer in number but nonetheless imposing in their beauty. The artists have once again outdone themselves in the re-furbishing of these instruments

Not only that, one of our locals has made quite the youtube splash with close to 200,000 views. Last night, Michael Mcnamara was even featured on one of the news channels which hubby often watches.

I first saw this clip on Facebook. It was posted by the proprieter of a nearby restaurant  a week ago. I was so fascinated that I asked when the next performance was going to take place. I hope I'll be able to catch one in the upcoming days and that Mr. Mcnamara won't have already been snatched away by Ellen or booked by another of the many daytime talk shows.

In case the video doesn't work, here's the link.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Car Shopping and Dealer Loyalty

There were a number of years in the late 80's when I was a struggling single mom. It was always necessary to be very enterprising in order to get those little 'extras' to help feed and entertain my family. Fortunately, we lived in an expanding suburban neighbourhood where there were frequent opportunities. The local newspaper was extremely helpful with their advertisements and articles describing weekly giveaways and promotions. One gas station opening provided free hamburgers while allowing people to spin a wheel and win a prize. A newly built bank served a *** coin cake which reminded me of some childhood birthday parties. We each had our slice and the children dutifully handed over the cash for mom to clean off and pocket. Despite not owning a pool or having any intention of purchasing one, we went to a swimming pool store anniversary celebration where we consumed hot dogs and fished in a makeshift pond for our new pet, a goldfish.

When a Ford dealership, Marigold Ford, in a neighbouring town advertised Toronto Argo tickets to anyone who test drove one of their new cars I jumped at the chance. The date of the game happened to coincide with my son's birthday. I loaded up the kids in my 10 year old LTD and headed for the dealership. I suppose I had some kind of a desperate or perhaps deceptive look as I entered the dealership...tired woman, two small children attached at the hip. A kindly salesperson asked whether I was actually in the market for a car or whether I just wanted the football tickets. I answered honestly. He handed over 4 tickets and said, "Remember us when you are ready for a new vehicle". I did.

My first 'very own' car purchase from Marigold was a Ford Escort. It was a bottom of the line, Pacific green, standard shift, no air conditioning, crank window model that I bought on Christmas Eve 1997. The ad line "I love my Escort" certainly became the case for me. It was a reliable, comfortable car, served my needs and the price was right.

My next vehicle came from the very same dealer. At this point, I was older, more financially secure and interested in comfort. Since the clutch on the Escort was starting to protest and I had no desire to replace it, I selected my car from the lot as I drove past one day. I had seen it before. It was beautiful. I wanted that sage green, sun/moon roofed, spoiler, power everything, air conditioned Focus, and I got it. This turned out to be the best car I had ever owned.

I hated to part with the Focus when I gave it to my daughter so that she might get to school, athletic activities and to work just over four years ago. Currently, it's sitting in our driveway having recently returned from an educational journey to Champaign, Illinois. It's making some sounds of protest, but who amongst us as we age don't?  Hopefully, a few tweaks, a bit of oil and some inexpensive replacement parts and it will be good to keep for a bit longer.

The Focus has seen a lot, done a lot, and travelled a lot. It gave me much joy and reminds me of the dealership that had nothing to gain when they were once so willing to give me tickets to a football game. On the other hand, what they eventually gained, was a loyal and thankful customer.

***Coin cakes were the highlight of birthday parties when I was a kid. They were cakes with money baked into them and you were always assured of getting some in your slice. Of course, pieces had to be eaten with care. Now that I think about it more carefully, ewwwww, yuck.....I wonder if the money was laundered first.

Monday, September 1, 2014

When I'm Sixty Four

When he was sixteen years old, Paul McCartney wrote the song, "When I'm Sixty Four". I find  it  interesting how he viewed a sixty four year old. To me, many of the lyrics suggest a teen having difficulty imagining himself in a sixty four year old body. What do you think? I've added my personal commentary. I feel qualified since I am currently of this particular age.

When I get older losing my hair (a touchy subject so no comment)
 Many years from now (I wish) 
Will you still be sending me a valentine (if you ever did)
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine? (can't drink...interferes with my medication)
If I'd been out till quarter to three (at 64?  I'm assuming he means 3 in the afternoon)
Would you lock the door? (only if I can see the keyhole and not shake too much to lock it)
Will you still need me, will you still feed me (hope you like mashed bananas)
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too  (ya' think?)
And if you say the word  
I could stay with you (no thanks, too much extra work...mashing bananas)

I could be handy, mending a fuse (I'm guessing there were no breaker switches when Paul Mc was 16)
When your lights have gone (the lights are on but nobody's home?)
You can knit a sweater by the fireside (yeah right...what if I were arthritic and couldn't see by the flickering flames?)
Sunday mornings go for a ride (on a bike, in a car, bus, wheelchair?)
Doing the garden, digging the weeds (never ending fun)
Who could ask for more? (Nobody. Don't need more weeds)
Will you still need me, will you still feed me (See first chorus...or, try to feed me and you'll be wearing it)
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it's not too dear (How about a luxurious cruise instead?)
We shall scrimp and save (for our old age?)
Grandchildren on your knee (kind of crowded causing the need for knee replacement)
Vera, Chuck & Dave (Why not call them Up, Chuck & Di ? Oh...I guess it doesn't rhyme)

Send me a postcard, drop me a line (can't afford the postage anymore)
Stating point of view (you got it right here)
Indicate precisely what you mean to say (I filters left at this age)
Yours sincerely, wasting away (or getting fatter, pick one)
Give me your answer, fill in a form (can't see the form until after cataract surgery)
Mine for evermore (Quoth the raven...evermore)
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?
Ho! (Who you calling a ho?)