Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting New Knees!

Well, I may be incognito for a few days. I am going into the hospital for a total knee replacement. Am I nervous? Well, yes, a little, but I think it will be fine. My doctor says next to heart surgery this is the most life changing surgery - and lucky me gets to go through it twice in one summer! I weeded my garden this morning and really took notice of how much I use my legs when I garden or pull weeds - its going to be interesting to see how I manage this without using them and sitting on a little seat on a cart and using one of those grabbers to pull the weeds. Somehow I don't know that this will work well...but I am willing to try it.
This whole thing really makes me think about choices I made that got me into this mess. I didn't get very heavy until about fifteen years ago. I was overweight, but not like I am now. If only I had realized what I was doing to my body and how it would affect my knees, walking, standing etc., I'd like to think I would have been more careful of gaining weight. Its so easy to let things go and indulge in the things you like, but it comes with a price tag attached. One of my nieces had gotten a bit heavy and decided to do something about it. It has taken her a year, but she looks wonderful - and feels wonderful too. I look at young women who are as overweight as I am and I want to tell them what I know, but if I am honest, they won't listen any more than I did. When you are young you really can't grasp the idea of  of what will happen down the line. Some people choose to cause these injuries on purpose -football players, soccer players and other sports figures often have terrible arthritis as they get older. We certainly are foolish with what we have been given. I guess as in all things, moderation is the key!

I have lost about 8 lbs since I was told to get ready for the surgery. The key here is can I continue doing this so I can get my life back! Pray for me, I really need to be covered in prayer both for the surgery and the recovery phase. Thanks - see you all soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bring Back Modesty!

I saw in the Sunday papers this week an article about girls writing to Kendall Jenner, one of the Kardashian family about her decision to drop out of high school and also that she could be a much better role model for young girls by dressing modestly. These letters were written by girls from various walks of life and each one mentioned that she was a role model..."as a celebrity, you and your sisters need to understand that you are role models" and from another "You're not sending out a good message to young girls who are influenced by the things they see, by posting pictures of yourself topless or wearing risque clothing."

How sad is it that our young girls think they need to "show some skin" to be acceptable. I will admit that as a young woman there were a few outfits I had that I would now deem inappropriate...a direct result of the "freedom" of the 60's. But I was a woman, not a child! I look at some of the clothing for toddlers and young girls and cringe that it is okay to have them wear clothing that mimics adult wear. I hear moms tell their little girls to "shake their booty" - really? At that age they shouldn't even know what a booty is! What does that kind of behavior teach them? I have read awful articles about moms teaching their kids to "show themselves" so boys will like them and applaud them for selfies showing themselves in their underwear or less. I would be horrified if my daughters did this, and yet today it is rampant.

These moms who put their children in pageants and subject them to makeup, wigs, false teeth and skimpy outfits for their dances need to wake up. Even dance studios teach children moderately risque routines
all in the name of being contemporary. I know of several moms who have decided to bypass jazz or contemporary classes and stick with ballet to circumvent those routines and dress.

Why do we want our girls to walk around with words like juicy on their shirts? Or even worse, on their behinds! What is the message they are giving? Have you tried to find a bathing suit for your daughter that actually covers her rear end and doesn't have a super high cut and pelvic bones showing? Do they even make one pieces outside of competitions anymore? I remember when my girls were growing up, they had a rule at camp that girls needed one piece bathing suits, or they had to wear a t shirt over a two piece. I like that idea. Certainly while swimming with teenage boys it helped curb their imaginations. My daughter asked several guys in college if they liked the trend of girls wearing skimpier clothing. Their response? A resounding No!! They all felt they would rather see a girl modestly dressed with much left to the imagination rather than nothing left to the imagination! Some children's bathing suits are cut way too low as seen below. Again, people may think its cute, but it is only preparing her for more provocative bathing suits as she grow older.

But there are some lovely suits to be found online that are much more appropriate for little girls.
Don't these two look cute and comfortable in their suits? I know I probably sound like an old fogey to some, but if we older people don't take the lead to let this younger generation of moms know where these lead, it will just get worse.  Luckily, there are now websites devoted to modest clothing so you don't have to go crazy looking for things -the t shirts are longer, pants waists a little higher and tops and dresses are modern, but modest. Some design based on retro looks similar to the clothing worn ins the 1950's. That idea is actually pretty hot today. You can see Katy Perry and Taylor Swift wearing these styles. The only difference is some of them are cut pretty short, but on these new websites they are cut modestly. A few nice websites are and If you type modest fashion in the search at, you will find lots of beautiful clothing and websites to explore.

Lets not forget our little boys either. While there is not a direct problem with modesty, there are still people who chose to dress their boys (and girls) as "gangstas"which opens up a whole new can of worms.

I sincerely doubt that when babies are born, their moms and dads think; oh I hope they grow up to be ganagstas or streetwalkers! Yet I believe that by dressing their kids like this, they are sending them a message that will lead to more and more young people dressing inappropriately and feeling their worth is in their bodies.  Please don't do this to your children. They are precious gifts and it is the parent's job to empower them by providing a good education, strong values and a sense of self worth attached to a moral base.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sharing Memories: Favorite Books of Childhood

Oh gosh - what were my favorite child books? I was an avid reader, often going to our little library and taking out seven books and a week later returning for another seven. I always said I should have become a librarian - other than the music/art rooms at school, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the library. I could live in a library and never leave and I would be perfectly happy. My local librarians always look to see what I am reading because they find my tastes interesting! That being said, it's childhood I am thinking about today.

I honestly don't remember which series of books I read first, but my guess is that is was either The Bobbsey Twins or The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.I think I enjoyed the Blyton books because they took place in England and that intrigued me. I remember in one of the books they talked about Puffins and I have had an ongoing interest in them since. I even tried to talk my daughter into going to Puffin Island while she was living in Scotland, but alas, it did not happen. I recently read two of her books just to see if I still found them interesting and I thought, I wish I could give them to each of my grandchildren!

 From there is was pretty easy to segue into my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys phase - I am guessing I read every book in all these series; one of my obsessions I suppose. Next I read Betsy, Tacy and Tib
- another series I would love my granddaughters to read. I bought one at a yard sale not long ago and they stand the test of time as well.  I think what I love about these books is the inherent innocence of a lost time. Everything children read today seems to have lost that. Its about monsters, chillers and thrillers, geeky kids...I guess there are some nice ones - surely some of the Caldecott winners  are really good books, but I remember fighting with our local elementary school to get classics into the reading program instead of books like Bunnicula and Judy Blume books. They kept telling me kids didn't like classics any more - we are talking about Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Jonathan Swift, Hans Christian Anderson; how could that be?? If you don't try them, how are you to know? Argh...this is s a pet peeve of mine and just one of the reasons we decided to home school our children.

At any rate, getting back on track here, I also loved The Five Little Peppers books, another series with good values and a timeless message. I have this small collection in my
attic of many of these books - they just hold such a dear place in my heart - they were like my friends. In truth, like many readers, they transported me to another time and place and I could see myself playing with these children and being a part of their families. Crazy?? I don't think so, I think that is the joy we receive when we read -as a child, we believe what we read and want to emulate the things seen in books - how many kids have built a raft after reading Tom Sawyer or gone into nursing because they read the Cherry Ames series?? How many directors could visualize what they read and as  they grew older made use of movie cameras to make litttle black and white movies of the dreams they had when they read The Prisoner of Zenda or The Three Musketeers? I think I could safely say many people who have gone on to do great things, had reading play a large part in their dreams and goals.

My girlfriend Vivian and I share a love of the Beany Malone Books. Beany was from a big family that had big hearts. I wanted to make the 15 egg white Lady Eleanor cake that was made for special occasions and be friends with her and her friend Dulcie! I also was intrigued with Norbett, the guy she was always trying to impress! My friends and I shared these books back and forth and all loved them! When I first met Vivian through a theater group, we started talking about books we loved - she mentioned Beany Malone and I couldn't believe I found someone who remembered her! Many years later, when the internet became available, I tracked down the book and sent it to her as a gift

How can I forget Lousia May Alcott - I loved Little Women, Little Men, An Old Fashioned Girl, Jo's Boys, Under the Lilacs and Eight Cousins. I was madly in love with Laurie from Little Women and remember writing in my autograph book in sixth grade as Laurie - beyond weird as I look back, but that just tells you a little more about me!

When I moved at the end of sixth grade, I met a girl in my new neighborhood who introduced me to the Cherry Ames nursing series
I am pretty sure I spent the entire summer wrapped up in this series. I wanted to be a nurse! I loved the books because they introduced you to all types of nursing - Visiting Nurse, Flight Nurse, Army Nurse - you get the idea. There was always a little romance mixed in which for a 12 year old who was just a tad boy crazy, was just about perfect. I never did become a nurse, but did go on to work for a doctor and in hospitals - does that count?? Maybe I was trying to relieve what was captured in those books.

The next series that caught me was the Penny Parrish series. I have my friend Pauline to thank for that. Now I was sure I knew what I wanted to do - I wanted to be an actress!! I came closer to that than anything else, spending years in community theater, dinner theater, singing and performing at many places and being a part of Up With People right out of high school. I think those books and my eighth grade English 
teacher who took me to my first Broadway show, sealed the deal for me!

What books were your favorites? I also read Trixie Belden, most of Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, all of the Books of Knowledge encyclopedia (yes, I was that dorky), Hans Brinker, Black Beauty, Son of a Hundred Kings (which was really an adult book, but I loved it) and oh so many more.

What I did not read was Little House on the Prairie, Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, The Hobbit (until after I was married and then became a huge Lord of the Rings fan) or The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe. I still haven't them (except LWATW) as I read other stories to my kids and my husband did the Little House books with our daughters and Winnie the Pooh with our son!

I cannot leave without mentioning my absolute favorite series for all time - Anne of Greene Gables. One of my friend's moms was Canadian and introduced me to these when I was around 8 or 9. Oh, I was taken in by Anne instantly. I have read all the Anne books over and over, even as recently as two years ago and I still love them. I still cry when Matthew dies and root for Gilbert and Anne to fall in love. I have enjoyed the PBS series done with Megan Follows, but it still pales next to the books. When my mother in law (who was Canadian and an Anne fan) heard I loved Anne, she gave me her first printing of Anne Of Ingleside as a gift. It definitely cemented the great relationship we had. To this day, when spring arrives and the trees on Main Street are all white - my husband knows I will look at him and say "White way of delight" - I can't help it!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rainbow Surprise

Its summertime! Well its supposed to be summertime; here in New York its a balmy 69 degrees and raining like the dickens! I have been thinking about making a frozen salad for those dog days in July, so I started looking into old recipe books from the 50's to see if I could either update a recipe or use one as a jumping off point. I found three interesting recipes, but each one had several things I did not want to use - like unflavored jello, mayonnaise - things like that. So I used them as my basis for an idea. This is a very creamy frozen fruit salad that also could be used as a dessert. I like recipes that do double duty!

Rainbow Surprise
1 large package Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup of Del Monte Pineapple Chunks (in pineapple juice) cut in half and drained
1/2 cup of Del Monte Mandarin oranges (no sugar added) drained
1 cup fresh blueberries (you can also use frozen if you wash off and drain)
1/2 cup cut kiwi - seeded, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
3 TBSP sugar
1 2/3 cup whipped cream
1 TBSP lemon juice

Cream the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice. Gently add fruits and marshmallows.Then fold in the whipped cream, gently incorporating it into the fruit mixture.

Pour into loaf pan (or jello mold or any type of Tupperware container that can be held under hot water to release the salad)

Freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight (keeps well in the frozen state for at least a week)

To serve, gently put pan into sink full of hot water for a minute to help it melt a little to release. As I said, I used a loaf pan, but think in the long run Tupperware or flexible jello mold might work better.

Invert onto serving dish and garnish with 3 blueberries surrounded by 4 mandarin orange slices to make a flower design.

You can use other fruits including bananas (although I would increase the lemon juice to 2 TBSP)