Archive | March 2018

Death in a Jar

As I poured myself a cup of coffee, a woman I know who is a dietitian walked up to the counter. Although I knew that most professionals hate being asked for curbside advice, I just couldn’t help myself. After giving her a friendly greeting I said, “I hear that coconut oil is the new wonder food. What do you think about that?”

My acquaintance didn’t seem to mind the question, but she did seem to have a major problem with coconut products. With a grimace she exclaimed, “Coconut oil is very bad for a person’s cholesterol. I don’t think a person should even eat coconut flakes in baked goods!”

I looked concerned and nodded. After exchanging a few pleasantries, we turned and went our separate ways.

What I hadn’t told my dietitian acquaintance, was that I’d recently seen a nutritionist who recommended that I start using coconut oil for baking. Being given two such opposing instructions is unnerving. Which one is right? Continue reading

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Gourmet Glorp

My brothers and I sat at their dinner table in the farmhouse’s sunny patio room. Warmed by the heated floor tiles, the sunshine and a glass of Casper’s homemade wine, our conversation flowed freely.

Billy jumped to his feet and went to the kitchen. A moment later he came back with a wedge of cheddar cheese. Dropping into his chair, he cut several slices for us to share. Savoring the creamy flavor of the cheese, then taking a sip of two-year-old plum wine, made me sigh with satisfaction.

Casper was telling funny stories about things that had happened to him while fishing with friends in Canada. The topic of foods they had brought with them somehow devolved into Mom’s attempts to feed oatmeal to Casper when he was a little boy.

He complained, “Most people call it oatmeal, but I call it vile glorp! Every time I opened my mouth, Mom would shove a spoonful of the stuff into my mouth.” To demonstrate how repulsed he felt just remembering this traumatic experience, my 78-year-old brother stuck out his tongue and gagged. Continue reading

Selective Shedding

I stood in the middle of the kitchen munching on apple slices and sipping a cup of tea. “This will have to do for my breakfast.” I told my daughter, Tammie. “I’m in a hurry because I didn’t allow enough time to get ready for my appointment.”

The sound of a cat pawing at the entry door prompted Tammie to get up from the dining room table to open the door. My sleek white and black cat Louie, slipped quickly into the room and made a bee-line toward me.

Taking one step backward, I said, “No. Louie, stay away…ach!” Although I didn’t want it to happen, Louie rubbed his entire silky body from nose to tail against my left leg. I looked down at my black slacks now half covered with white cat hair. He turned around to make a second swipe, this time against my right leg. I pushed him away.

Tammie said, “Mom, he’s just trying to tell you how much he loves you.”

“Yes, I know how much he loves me.” I snapped. “He loves me so much that he wants his scent to be all over me! My problem is that I’m leaving the house and don’t want to look like an unkempt fur-ball.” Continue reading

Cabin Fever

I opened my eyes and saw gray light filtering into the room. Pushing the blankets aside I walked to the window and lifted a curtain to peek out. My monochromic yard looked dreary. “The weatherman was wrong.” I grumbled. “The storm didn’t start at six am. Maybe he’ll also be wrong about it being icy. With any luck we’ll get nothing but snow.” I glared disdainfully at the black evergreen branches, gray tree trunks and white snow. The tracks in the snow were old and no longer interested me. I felt bored with this unchanging winter landscape.

Once a week I clean out my furnace’s ash pan. After dressing, I jogged down to the basement to shut the wood pellet burner off, the first step of the chore. Passing a window, I thought about how excited I am when I see new tracks in the snow around the house. Winter boredom, cabin fever, or whatever you want to call it, magnifies the mundane to an otherwise perfectly normal person. Continue reading