Home Cooking Demise

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With all the new cooking shows currently on TV, you’d think any person watching would be like ‘a child in a candy store.’ But, if that person happened to be me, you’d be sadly mistaken.

I was never a great cook but the meals I prepared were pretty good. I certainly never poisoned anyone. But I also, for instance, never learned how to make a turkey. Why should I? Mom always had that particular honor (still does) and, ‘if it ain’t broken, why fix it?’

My parents now get meals-on-wheels a few days a week because even Mom doesn’t feel like cooking anymore. And, when visiting friends, why bake a dessert to bring over when they make exceptional ones in your average, local supermarket? I just don’t see the point.

So, if I can get away with buying already-prepared food from any other source (as long as it’s reasonably priced), I’m doing it!*

 

*In full disclosure… I DID bake cookies and cupcakes for my kids’ bake sales and classroom celebrations for years.

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Every Second Counts

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This statement can be taken in two completely different ways:

Don’t waste a ‘second’ of the time you have left.
Castoffs and reduced price ‘seconds’ never go out of style.

Some people get hung up on labels. They won’t take generic pills or eat store brand foods or wear anything but designer clothing. What a waste of your hard earned money.

Time and time again we’re seeing that you don’t always get what you paid for. I saw an interesting report this morning about sunglasses. Several pairs (from high-priced name brands to dollar store rip offs) were put to a test. All reportedly gave the consumer 100% UV protection. So why would anyone buy the pricier brand?

Medicines are so expensive that we’ve grown accustomed to the generic brands that the pharmacies dispense. We don’t even question it anymore. We’re just happy to pay less for the same exact thing.

If you’re vain enough or it’s imperative that you show off to your friends and family, then continue paying outrageous prices for the same items that the rest of us happily engage discounts. At the end of the day, those ‘seconds’ will have saved us enough money for a second pair!

At The Mall

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I love going to the mall (except around this time of the year).* There, I’ve said it. The very best time to go is first thing in the morning. There are no teenagers skulking about, no loud music coming from the stores** and no lines. The most you will see are the velour-clad mall walkers and the new moms pushing baby carriages.

But all that changed when I decided to take my Dad along with me. First, we needed to find the bathroom (which we needed to do several more times during our venture). Then we needed to avoid every single crying or whining child. Finally, of all the many and varied types of delicious, multi-cultured food found in the food court, we needed to get… a Nathan’s hot dog. I kid you not.

So, next time I think about going to the mall I will slip out, unnoticed, and bring back some small token as a ‘thank you’ for allowing me to have my day at the mall!

*I try to get all my holiday shopping done before the end of October. No sales? Oh well. It’s worth it to avoid the holiday frenzy.

**I’ll take any other loud music over Xmas music, any day – you know, that stuff that plays on endless loops for months before the actual ‘day’ that it’s supposed to represent. And that’s why you’ll never see me in a store (even the grocery store), from now until the middle of January, without my handy-dandy, sanity-preserving earbuds.

 

Sell By Date

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Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

Piece Of Mind

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Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!

Self-Serve Checkout

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I am just as guilty as the next person of sighing when there’s a ‘newbie’ at the checkout. I know they’re learning and I realize it’s to make them better at their job once they’re on their own but, seriously, every time and on every line I choose to stand on… what are the odds?

Now that it seems like I’m constantly on line buying groceries (I used to just pick up what I needed when I needed it) and picking up prescription renewals (I’m sure it would kill the insurance companies to have all the meds be due on the same day), I thought it was time to ‘check out’ the quick checkout (usually referred to as self-serve or self-check).

By virtue of its very name, I assumed it was a quick way to help myself out of the store during the busy shopping hours. But you know what they say about people who assume…

First obstacle: There is no SELF in self checkout because almost every time you weigh an item, the machine tells you to wait for assistance. Call me crazy but, if I thought I was going to need assistance, I could have stayed on line.

Second obstacle: Every item in the store is not necessarily marked and, if there’s no price or store sku, you’ll again need assistance.

Third obstacle: Just because there’s a price or sku doesn’t mean the machine can read it and… yup, here we go again.

Fourth obstacle: When it’s time to pay, oftentimes the machine won’t accept your credit card/cash/other payment. So, why did you choose this method of self-serve checkout?

Oh yeah. You were in a hurry. Or you didn’t want to stand on line. Or you’re just a glutton for punishment. Whichever the case, assume you, once again, made an ASS out of U and ME!

Get Up, Go

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(Unknown Author)

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my get up and go has got up and went.
But in spite of it all I am able to grin
When I think of the places my get up has been.

Old age is golden, so I’ve heard said
But sometimes I wonder, as I get into bed.
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
And my eyes on the table until I wake up.

Ere sleep dims my eyes I say to myself
“Is there anything else I can put on the shelf?”
And I’m happy to say as I close the door
“My friends are the same, perhaps even more.”

When I was a young thing my slippers were red
I could kick my heels high as my head.
Then when I was older, my slippers were blue
But still I could walk the whole day through.

Now I’m still older, my slippers are black
I walk to the store and puff my way back.
The reason I know my youth is all spent
My get up and go has got up and went.

But really, I don’t mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my get up has been.
Since I have retired from life’s competition
I busy myself with complete repetition.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Pick up the paper and read the ‘obits.’
If my name is missing I know I’m not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.