The Perfect Combination

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Certain foods just seem to go together – Burger and fries; Mac and cheese; Chips and dip. The same can be said for some of our activities – A movie and popcorn; A ballgame and hot dogs; A concert and wine/beer. 

You might partake in any of these on a special occasion or even on a daily basis but… is one person’s perfect combo meal another’s as well?

I have some favorites that may or may not appeal to anyone else:

  • Salmon, brown rice and steamed broccoli 
  • Grilled Swiss cheese and avocado
  • Chocolate brownie with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge 

My Dad prefers:

  • Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes
  • Meat loaf and mashed potatoes
  • Hamburger and mashed potatoes 

Maybe our palates are set as children – depending on such things as: if you grew up during the Depression or if you bought daily school lunches. Who knows? But as long as your health isn’t affected and it makes you happy… To each, his/her own!

 

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High School Reunions

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Reunions are a great time to take stock of how fortunate you really are. A lot of people use these occasions to see how well (or not) their ‘friends’ fared. We take pride in looking thinner (women), hairier (men) and less wrinkled (both) than our contemporaries. It doesn’t matter the circumstances that brought them to that state – we’re always quick to ‘judge a book by its cover.’

Abraham Lincoln wrote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Elderly people understand this sentiment. The rest of us, sorry to say, do not. Or at least not yet…

Older people rarely regret things they did. They only regret things they didn’t do. When you’re younger you feel invincible and think there will always be tomorrow. But, sadly, sometimes tomorrow never comes. What then?

You try to live each day as if it’s your last, you try to be kind and compassionate toward others and you never, ever (as my grandmother always said) go out without first applying lipstick and a little blush!

 

FYI… my Mom is the dark-haired beauty in the back row, second from the left!

Three Magic Words

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Once upon a time… you fell in love, you got married, you had some kids and you lived happily ever after. At least that’s how all the fairytales went. Now, however, families come in all colors and genders; they sometimes have the kids before the marriage; and the story often does not have a happy ending. Oh well – that’s life.

That might sound kind of harsh but it’s realistic. For some. We don’t always get what we want out of life. Sometimes, when we expect to hear those three little words: “I Love You,” they come out sounding more like “fool me once…”

We’ve come to expect a certain amount of sentimentality and even magic in our relationships. We watch too many movies and read too many trendy novels to the point where we actually start believing that they represent reality. The secret to their success, sadly, is that they’re so far from what life is really like that they have become our fantasy escape. We envy what those characters have and they’re not even real. 

I know money can’t buy happiness (although sometimes it may ‘buy love’) but it certainly can give off that illusion!

Hurry… Slow Down!

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We’re in such a hurry all the time. We eat fast food, we get instant messages – we place too much emphasis on instant gratification… we do everything at top speeds from driving to speaking to shopping. Why can’t we slow down anymore?

Where’s the fire in our lives?

From the time we’re little we’re in this giant hurry to grow up. Then, when we’re grown, we wonder where all the time went. We have indigestion yet we eat some of our meals while driving to and from work or while standing in line waiting to catch a train.

My mother always used to say: “A watched pot never boils.” Sounds profound but, seriously, it ‘always’ boils. In truth, it only seems to take longer because we’re focused on it and, now that we’re all multi-taskers, who’s sitting around watching water boil?

So, give yourself a break. You don’t have to make every single moment count. Don’t go directly from one activity to another. When eating, don’t forget to chew and (maybe) even savor your meal… There will be plenty of time to rush when you’re done!

Quit While Ahead

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Ever since my Mom realized that I could tape her programs for her, she now happily goes to bed at a more reasonable hour. Because of football and baseball games running overtime on prime time tv channels, her favorite shows are oftentimes delayed by thirty to sixty minutes.

The problem is, now that I’ve made her life easier, I’ve simultaneously made mine more difficult. As many times as I’ve shown her how to operate the remote (and also written out perfectly clear instructions), she still insists that I do it for her. And, because the tv’s ‘guide’ only lists shows on the hour and half-hour, these tapings usually run ‘part-way’ through two consecutive programs. That makes it even more complicated.

So, while I constantly try to find new ways to improve my parents’ quality of life, I inevitably discover even more ways to complicate mine!

 

Health And Fitness

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I probably climb these stairs between four and six times a day. It’s a fairly good workout (except for my poor knees) but it’s honestly brought about not so much from my need to stay fit as it is because I’m tired of waiting for the elevator to arrive.

Like most conscientious people, I try to eat right and exercise. Of course, my idea of eating right may be very different from yours. I tend to eat mostly salmon or chicken with brown rice and broccoli, cauliflower or edemame. Sounds healthy, right? It would be if I left it at that. However, I have a terrible sweet tooth and must end every meal with chocolate. Dark chocolate but chocolate nonetheless. And even though I break my chocolate bars into pieces, I haven’t quite mastered the skill of eating just one piece at a time.

So, back to those stairs… I have no problem using the stairs instead of the elevator and, when I drive my car someplace, I try to park as far away from the entrance as possible (again, in full disclosure, it’s as much about my car not getting hit by a shopping cart or by another car’s door). Even without trying, I probably walk a few thousand steps each day. And that helps make the chocolate all the sweeter!

Round Of Applause

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While reminiscing with my son a few weeks ago, I recalled various moments from his childhood that I realized he, sadly, had no recollection of. As young parents, we clap for and record and retell all our friends and family about every single accomplishment in our child’s life.

Some people use the New Year as an excuse to send out letters to their friends describing events that took place within their family in the previous year. It’s sort of like a ‘highlight reel’ but on paper.

I’ve listened to so many of my Dad’s dream sequences in the last year that I could write an entire 4 hour movie script and still have enough material left over to pen several sequels. The problem is, while he’s seeking an eager ear to listen to all his rantings, I’m looking for an escape route back to reality.

It’s one thing to create and recount memories but it’s a whole other thing to expect others to respond positively or enthusiastically about someone else’s life (or dreams – events that never even occurred).

So, feel free to clap every time a toddler blows a kiss or shows you how big he is… SOOO BIG. And, by all means, clap at your teenager’s school concert – even though some kids are singing or playing instruments out of tune. But don’t wait for that elusive round of applause after your latest rendition of dream works!

Agree To Disagree

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Have you ever stepped outside a place like Sloan Kettering and noticed a doctor, wearing scrubs, taking a cigarette break? Ever hear a doctor (weighing in at around 300 pounds) say, “you really need to watch your cholesterol?”

It’s hard to take advise from someone, no matter how educated they are, when their own stupidity is staring you right in the face. And what about politicians? Our next big election is less than a year away and, yet, social media is constantly inundated with one ignorant message or ideal after another. How is that possible?

We are a nation of opinionated citizens. If you don’t believe it, just ask us. Most of us were taught to question things instead of just accepting them. And, yet, we’re also a nation of followers – as if we’re too busy (or too lazy) to even wonder about the state of our state or its very laws.

Some people can’t handle those of us who have opinions. Some outspoken people get criticized while others are just plain ignored. Regardless of which side you fall on, never be afraid to agree to disagree!