It’s That Time…

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Last weekend I went out to dinner. My table was still set with the orange napkins they used for Halloween. On the windowsill next to me a gaudy, red and green Xmas decoration peeked over onto my place setting.

Considering it was the second week of November in New York and it was still in the 60’s, I can’t help but wonder why I couldn’t, instead, have enjoyed a little dressed-up Mr. Turkey or some cornucopia.

Is it too much to ask for a little equal time for Thanksgiving celebrating? Since when does Xmas begin right after Halloween? Doesn’t ‘Santa’ usually appear at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

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Running Me Ragged

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Today I saw a young mother outside chasing after her toddler. She said, “stay on the grass,” so, naturally, the child ran toward the street instead. I thought, “well, at least she’ll get that baby weight off faster.”

Now that my own kids are grown, I have no incentive to run around and lose weight. Oh yeah. I forgot. Of course I do. It’s called constantly-running-errands-for-my-parents. Don’t get me wrong… I exercise for a few hours every day anyway. Of my own free will. I always have… (and when I say always, I mean since having children).

If it wasn’t so time consuming I’d say it was almost funny – how, as soon as I return home from running their errands, my parents remember something else I need to get for them. And, for those errands that are so close by that it’s almost easier to not have to drive and then park my car, I generally just walk. So, technically, I’m still being run ragged – although, now, I get to choose when and where I’ll lose those extra few pounds!

*** 3 simple ways to lose weight without really trying:

  1. Eat less (try eating dinner on a dessert plate rather than on a much larger and more gluttonous dinner plate)
  2. Move more (drive less, if possible – the planet will thank you)
  3. Repeat (or, if you’re young and in love, have more children – that’ll keep you on your feet)*

*4 out of 5 dentists recommend it… (and, why wouldn’t they? They stand to make even more money!)

What’s The Difference?

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What’s the difference between helping and enabling? That’s a tricky question. It’s one that I’ve been battling with myself over for some time now.

The dictionary defines ‘help’ as doing something to make it easier for someone… to aid or assist someone. ‘Enable’ is defined as making something possible or easy. But isn’t that essentially the same thing? At least in literal terms, it sounds like a positive action. So how come I constantly feel like I’m doing my parents an injustice?

Here are some examples:

1) The Mail – getting it saves my parents time and a trip down the elevator. Saving my parents a trip down the elevator keeps them from leaving their home and from having something to do to break up the day.

2) The Store – going to the pharmacy or picking up dinner saves my parents from having to do these chores themselves. Doing these chores for my parents keeps them from leaving their home, having something to do and from socializing with other people.

3) The TV – turning on the tv, taping programs and checking the guide saves my parents from ever having to learn how to operate the remote. Operating the remote myself, instead of insisting they learn how to do it themselves, keeps them reliant on me, doesn’t challenge their brains, keeps them (basically) in the Stone Age and out of touch with technology and the resources of the 21st century.

What’s the difference between HelPing and eNABling? BN HAP (being happy)!

All For One

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My parents and I are getting quite proficient at living together. I wouldn’t say we’re at that ‘finishing-each-others-sentences’ stage but we are becoming rather skillful at saving both time and money.

Case in point… the three of us can go out to dinner for less than $20 and still manage to take home enough food for another meal. Here’s how:

Mom and I usually split one meal so we fill up on the salad bar and add what’s leftover to our take-home container. Then we split the entree in half – she eats like a bird, anyway, so I just fill up on the fries (or rice or baked potato) and that leaves about half the main course for home.

Dad eats pretty much everything in sight – and that includes a few helpings from the salad bar, too. But he’s definitely part of the equation because we use a ‘buy-one-get-one-half-off’ deal. So he plays an integral part in our musings.

Now here’s where the time saved comes in. Mom’s really starting to hate cooking so, with a good enough deal on the table, she’s more than willing to go out to eat for two reasons:

1. No cooking today
2. No cooking (just reheating) tomorrow.

That’s because, as I previously mentioned, Mom eats like a bird – a featherlight bird – and can get by with a yogurt or some PB crackers for dinner. Dad’s the one that’ll inevitably scarf down the take-home meal. So… Win. Win. One for all and all for one!

Blue Plate Special

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If you look up the word ‘BLUE’ in the dictionary, some of the synonyms listed are:

  • lewd
  • obscene
  • impure
  • locker-room

Really? Yet, when our elders eat a less expensive dinner at an earlier hour than most of the population, it’s called a ‘blue plate special.’ When an elderly woman dyes the gray out of her hair, it’s described as being ‘blue hair.’ And if you live in some states where they have county fairs and your pie or your jam wins a ‘blue ribbon,’ that’s considered a good thing, right?

So what’s with all the negativity? 

If asked what your favorite color is, a large majority of pollees will respond: “blue.” After all, the sky appears to us in a myriad of beautiful shades of blue. Certain bodies of water have also been described as such. How is it, then, that when you’re not at your absolute best, you’re ‘feeling blue?’

My solution is this: don’t be ‘green with envy.’ Be ‘tickled pink’ and always strive for that ‘red-carpet treatment!’

Crock Pot Capers

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Today I’m using my limited cooking skills to prepare a pot roast dinner for my parents. All I have to do is:

  • Put in the meat
  • Pour on the sauce
  • Cover and Turn on

Voila! Dinner is served. Well, almost… Now I have two choices to make:

1) Cook on high for 4 hours OR

2) Cook on low for 8 hours

If it was up to me I would choose the former. But parents of a certain age and from a certain generation have different ideas about modern cooking techniques. For instance, “what if it gets too hot?” I’m pretty sure these pots are pretested so that they don’t catch on fire or blow up or anything. Also, “is it safe to leave the pot plugged in when I’m not at home?” Considering I was planning on turning the pot on before I left for work so that it would be finished cooking and ready to serve by the time I returned home, I guess I understand their concern. However, did I mention that my parents would be home during the entire cooking process? So, really, the whole dilemma is pretty much moot, right?

Also, it says right on the front of the bag: JUST ADD BEEF.

So, why am I being asked if I added potatoes and carrots to the pot? If the bag instructed me to: ADD BEEF, POTATOES AND CARROTS, I suppose I would have done just that. But it didn’t. So I didn’t. Now we have a brand new dilemma. My solution would be to bake some potatoes in the oven or boil them on top of the stove along with a bag of pre-cut carrots. But that would mean I’d have to come home from work and start cooking all over again and that’s SO NOT what I had in mind.

Instead, I told Mom to feel free to wash and bake the potatoes and cut and peel some carrots and boil them while the meat is cooking. “Nah. That’s okay,” she told me. She’s perfectly happy to let me do the cooking, my way – just as long as I remember to add the potatoes and the carrots to the crock pot so they come out all cooked and flavorful from the meat. Ugh. 

Next time I decide to make a simple dinner for my parents, I’ll do it the old fashioned way… I’ll have it delivered!