Being Egged On

I hope you watch the video first. I’ve lost count of how many sure fire tricks are guaranteed to make peeling a hard-boiled egg easy. NONE OF THEM WORKS! Mr. T has resorted to buying already-peeled eggs at Costco.

There’s the baking soda, the ice cubes, the little fake egg that sends signals, the running under cold water, the bring-to-boil from cold water and the bring to boil from hot tap water methods. Nope.

There’s boiling eggs after checking dates and spinning them and saying 3 Our Fathers. Nope.

 So—I was excited to experiment with this new strategy. I got 2 fresh eggs, measured out the 2″ of water over the eggs using a ruler and set timers for each step.

Egg #1–I think I took off too much shell at each end. I know my mouth was touching the egg in the shell and that’s gross if anyone else is going to eat the egg. It also left a ring of lipstick on the shell. I blew and I blew and did not blow the house down. NADA.

Egg #2–This time I chipped off a small bit of shell from the top of the boiled egg and a smallish bit of shell from the bottom. And then I commenced to blowin’……. NOTHING.

Well, there was something. Women past a certain age do not have quite the sphincter control they once had and blowing hard into a hard-boiled egg certainly had an unintended consequence. I did, however, feel the egg loosen up inside the shell and it peeled very easily.

I still don’t think it’s sanitary. And it still left a big smudge of lipstick on the outside.

I’ll wait for the next great kitchen tip.

P.S.  The lipstick is NYC 415

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Is There A Target On Our Backs?

I can’t say excuse the interruption in posting since lately this blog has been more interruption than post, but 2015 is not going that well. I have had pneumonia yet again and in 2 weeks am facing thumb joint rebuilding surgery; Mr. T got into poison oak and it morphed into a systemic skin infection; and the very worst of all–our sweet labradoodle was diagnosed with end stage bone cancer. The straw that broke the humans’ hearts.
In the meantime, while we come to terms, here is a better blog than this one.

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Like a Bad Penny

Yes, dear 12 loyal rew stuck on grotto walladers–I am still here. I don’t post often as you may have noticed–my sense of humor is still missing in action. But then, when I least expected it, I was collapsed with a laughing fit of ironic comprehension.

AOL or some other really relevant internet site ran an article about CURING one’s arthritis! This was of immediate interest so I clicked and read. It seems the Magic Formula is to soak golden raisins in juniper berries gin for one week. Then, one consumes NINE of these little shriveled grapes a day. The article stressed it must be NINE, not 3, not 12, but NINE to give relief.

(Here is a sign of the aging process: I went out three times to get the ingredients. Each time out, the stores were out of golden raisins but I still got a bottle of gin. No further comment.)

Tangueray bottle

As a last resort, I stopped in our little market here in SeniorLand. As soon as I asked for golden raisins, the manager threw back her head and laughed as she called out, “You’re going for the arthritis cure!”

How did she know? I was intrigued.

She personally took me to the shelf where the raisins are kept and verily, there was a gaping space next to the better-known dark raisins. It seems she can’t keep golden raisins on the shelves raisin boxsince that article came out. I asked her if she has had a similar run on gin and she whispered to me that the market sold more 1) booze and 2) ice cream than anything else put together. However, she had noticed a slight uptick in gin lately. Perhaps Ben and Jerry should take the hint and start making gin-soaked raisin ice cream.

This struck me as hilarious. Of course all the Seniors would flock to a gin-soaked raisin remedy for arthritis! I was told that folks were even putting them on their morning corn flakes. Then, in a conspiratorial tone, I was told to be at the market first thing on Monday morning when she was expecting her next delivery of golden raisins.

Meanwhile, I have scored some golden raisins. I faithfully poured the gin in the bowl until they were just covered and settled down to waiting a week for the raisins to become engorged. Imagine my surprise when the next morning all the raisins were quite plump and the gin was gone! Did it evaporate? Did Mr. T drink it? The recipe did not address these concerns.

bowl of raisins So, of course, I poured more gin into the bowl to cover the raisins. Day #2 I checked the raisins and again, the gin was gone. Okay–this could get expensive so I began consuming my 9 gin-soaked raisins. I’ll just say upfront:  I don’t think they taste so hot. But, I would like to get my hands to hurt just a little less. So, with that noble attitude I have been eating 9 hoochy raisins each morning for the last 3 days. My hands still hurt. This is not my first rodeo–tomorrow we up the raisin portion to 12 and damn the recipe–full healing ahead! !

(P.S.  The raisins are starting to taste pretty good.)

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Most Interesting Footnote

My 12 Gentle Readers will remember the anguish that rocked our household when we said good-bye to the Mason & Hamlin grand and replaced it with a dull upright piano. While I enjoyed having a real living room there was still a big hole in my heart as well as the room. I tried filling it with new living room furniture–it didn’t help. I moved the furniture around–nuh-uh.

Then, out of the blue, whilst perusing Craig’s List, I made contact with a generous man who gave me his old family Mason & Hamlin pump organ. It was built in 1892 and it mostly worked. One year later, after 2 harrowing trips hauling the thing to San Francisco in a U-Haul trailor, paying a mover for 2 more moves, we have a lovely novelty organ squeezed into our dining room. Our neighbor said she thought the Salvation Army had taken up residence but I belt out a few Gospel hymns now and again.

(Since then a free harpsichord has found its way to our house and now the living room furniture is all scrunched up again the way it should be. One more instrument and we get rid of the dining room table! More on the harpsichord later.)

I was looking for organ music for manuals when I ran across one of the most eyebrow-raising footnotes I’ve ever read. How could I not share it with you all? I offer it to you for your entertainment. Meanwhile, I’m limiting my repertoire to “When We All Get To Heaven.”

Old English Organ Music for Manuals
* From this point to the Adagio, a gradual crescendo can be made by using the swell pedal. The new “swelling organ”, as it was called, was introduced in 1712 by Abraham Jordan at the church of St. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. In his “Present State of Music in France and Italy”, Burney complains of finding no swell organs in 1770. Three stops were placed in a swell-box in the organ of St. Michael’s church, Hamburg, but with so little effect that Burney, who heard the organ in 1762, says that if he had not been told there was a swell he would not have noticed it.

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The Multiverse

DM filters Mothers DayIs it possible to find humor in dementia? What if the person is your own mother? I confess it, gentle readers, but the answer is YES! The alternative is to cry so I will try and bring you into the world of dealing with a 91 year old mother who has been on the downward slide for 20 years now.

The Adult Beverage Caper.

The entire family was gathered for one of those Big Family Dinner events. I always make a flourish about fixing a bourbon and water for DM(Dah Mama for new readers). It’s mostly ice and water with enough Canadian Club to give it some color. DM can’t remember to drink it but she holds onto it and feels in a party mode. I was drinking a very nice chardonnay with a golden color. I should say I was intending to drink the wine—DM requires quite a bit of attention so I had not yet had a taste. After one quick trip to the kitchen to fetch something for the table I finally got to settle down to eat and enjoy the wine. I slugged down a pretty hefty gulp and nearly sprayed the entire table with the libation. It was not just chardonnay—in that brief moment DM had managed to pour her watered down bourbon and water into my wine glass! It was not a good blend. Of course DM denied having done such a grievous thing despite the evidence of her empty glass and my taste test. As I dumped the contents of a very full wine glass down the sink I made a note to put this in the column of things labeled “One Day You’ll Laugh About This.”

I’ve found it easiest to enter whatever world DM is in at the moment. Generally in her world we are both 16 and living in Barstow and getting ready to go climb “B” Hill. That works for me. She’s pretty good on anything before 1950 but one has to roll with the flow for Real Time. On Mother’s Day I gave her her Mother’s Day card to read in the car. She was so pleased and got teary from the verses and then put it on her lap. Five minutes later she was puzzled about the pink envelope and opened it up. She was delighted all over again, thanked me profusely and wiped away tears. And put it back on her lap. We only live 15 minutes apart but she got to open the card and be surprised all over again 4 times by the time we pulled in the driveway. What a great investment—I wonder if I can get the card back and just use it next year?

Yesterday I tried to take her shopping. She’s always loved that and a new outfit generally lifts a girl’s spirits. I think I’m the one in denial—I way underestimated how difficult it would be to get her out of the car, into the wheelchair, get through a carpeted store, and change clothes a few times. And of course there was the de rigeur trip to the bathroom. On the rush bathroom trip it was just impossible to push the wheelchair through the rounders of clothing and down the narrow passageway to the facilities without running over a hinge on the floor. The clang of hitting the metal made DM jump and she yelled out, “Don’t Shoot!!!” Quickly masking their worried expressions, the assistants behind the counter began to laugh and complimented DM on her quick sense of humor. I decided I didn’t need to explain that “Don’t Shoot” is a regular response to any loud noise. We returned to the dressing room—rather like maneuvering a cruise ship in Glacier Bay—and I left her just for a moment to get a top in a smaller size. I heard this animated conversation coming from the dressing room, punctuated by gales of laughter. I dashed back to see what was going on and realized DM was seeing numerous reflections of herself in the triple mirrors. She thought she was in a room full of people and she was trying to converse with all of them. She didn’t recognize herself but apparently had decided she might as well party. It really was kind of funny–and I realized it would be our last shopping trip together. In kinder times we would have been high-fiving each other over the great sale and the good bargains we had scored. She had totally forgotten the shopping by the time I got her back to the Jeep. I was starting to wheeze and was rummaging through my purse for the purple inhaler and DM was even more exhausted.  Meanwhile, DM had returned to her world and was worried she was going to get in trouble for being gone without getting permission. Sometimes it’s best to just throw in the towel. Maybe the clothes we got will fit me. For now, it was a bit of a relief to go where I could be 16 again.

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w Demon rock face


Christos Anesti!  (Christ is risen)

Alithos Anesti!(truly He is risen)

Holy Saturday I attended the secular funeral of a friend. At the golf course. There could be no greater contrast between that gathering and the Easter Vigil.

At the memorial, a speaker assured the gathering that she was not religious when she said she had been ‘blessed’ to know my friend. Various people spoke and the consensus was that everyone hoped my friend was now “somewhere” reunited with her dog. There were no prayers–just a ‘moment of silence’. For what?

It was a stark contrast to the liturgies of Holy Week. The funeral seemed the perfect icon of Holy Saturday. The death on Good Friday is past; there is no resurrection on Saturday. It is a state of perpetual in-betweeness.

But what is this in-between for non-believers? What is the source of this deep need to want there to be more–even if it is just being together once more with a beloved pet?   One mourner told a story of my friend going back to visit her grandmother’s house when she was an adult. The house had long since been sold to strangers and the grandmother was deceased. She knocked on the door and, to her delight, was warmly welcomed by strangers. They opened their home to her, let her go through the rooms and let her reconnect with those special grandma memories many of us are lucky to have.

Is this what we’re hoping for? The allure of “Grandma’s House?” Is this the best our unconverted hearts can come up with?  Is the darkness so total that there is nowhere for the unshadowed light to be poured? Such darkness that there is not even awareness of eternity?

If old age isn’t for sissies, neither is Faith. There’s so much evidence against it. But on some level the soul is still hoping to return to Grandma’s house. What a conflicted prayer that would make. ” If you’re there, whoever you are, please let someone be there to open the door at Grandma’s.”

I think I’ve accepted a better offer. I like to think of Grandma’s house with no door–it’s already flung open–and it’s Jesus who will greet me and not a stranger. My room will be waiting. The words that began the Vigil stated it best.

Christ be our Light

Shine in our hearts

Shine in the darkness.

The Light of Christ!

Thanks be to God!

Only a few hours separated the memorial and the Vigil. I moved from the wine bar to the flame of the Baptismal candle and the greatest Promise ever made. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Hope in the Most Unlikely Place

Cemetery grave marker in ghost town of Rhyolite, NV. Rhyolite rock cross

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