Category Archives: humour

THOUGHTS

THOUGHTS are very important to jot down, to remember, even immortalize for posterity. . .if you’re a writer or a poet or merely someone who simply want to remember and record those perfectly crafted words.

It’s especially important to capture those elusive moments of inspiration when it happens. In my case, this often happens between midnight and dawn–if it happens at all.

I keep my pen and notebook by my bedside table, handy to scribble my ideas on paper—in the dark–as the simple act of turning on the bedside lamp, usually breaks that fragile ribbon of reflective thought.

When the scribbles are examined in the morning, most times, the scrawls are indecipherable.

I admire people who can say things that are often remembered in books, speeches or wherever.

Confucius said, “Words are the voice of the heart.” I can relate to that. Here are a few more wise words from some well-known people and philosophers..

Marilyn Monroe was definitely not a dumb blonde. She has been quoted saying, “The sky is not the limit–your mind is.”

There’s always a bit of truth in oft repeated quotes. Winston Churchill had it pegged right when he addressed the epidemic of rumours during WW2: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” I liked the imagery.

As for gossip, Confucius had this to say, “The tongue must be heavy indeed because so few people can hold it.”

Winston Churchill could have been talking about our current pandemic instead of WW2: “Keep calm and carry on.”

And Barack Obama’s positive words could also apply to these difficult times: “A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.”

I do enjoy quotes involving chocolates, coffee and doughnuts. I didn’t think of this one but I wish I knew who the “Unknown Author” was who must have loved doughnuts. “You need to understand the difference between want and need. Like I want abs, but I need doughnuts.”

Oscar Wilde must have been eating a doughnut to make this observation: “The optimist sees the doughnut; the pessimist sees the hole.”

Another quote I wish I had written but “Unknown Author” beat me to it: “Man doesn’t live by coffee alone–have a doughnut.”

Witty Fran Drescher spoke the truth when she commented: “Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep.”

Amy Neftzger supports eating chocolates for she writes: “I’m pretty sure that eating chocolates keeps wrinkles away because I have ne ver seen a 10-year old with a Hershey bar and crow’s feet.”

Chocolate crosses all language barriers as Jann Bauer states: “When you don’t have the words, chocolate can speak volumes.”

Linda Grayson is best quoted for “There is nothing better than a friend unless it’s a friend with chocolates.”

Everyone has their own version of friendship and best friends. A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” explained it the only way he could: “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”

Heather Pryor wrote: “A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”

Walter Winchell was quoted as saying: “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

But Audrey Hepburn described it best: “True friends are families you can select”

Keep well and stay safe, my friends. Remember these words from Katherine Hepburn: “It’s not what you start in Life–it’s what you finish.” So keep jotting down your thoughts; maybe one day, I’ll be quoting you. . . .

HARD KNOCKS AND POSITIVE VIBES

Sometimes, Life suddenly hands you a few hard knocks landing you on your backside and wondering what just happened. I remembered my Grampa would shake his head, bend down to pick up his five-year old granddaughter, dust her off and say, “Remember to spit in Faith’s eye to make you stronger.”

I always wondered who the heck Faith was and how was she going to make me stronger. Years later, I found out Grampa said that to all his grandkids and he was referring to Fate, fickle Fate and not Faith.

After three days, the rain had finally stopped and there was actually a blue sky. And, if you stood on the right spot, the warmth of a February sun would hit your face. I wanted to push away for a short while thoughts of Covid-19; the plight of the homeless; the occasional confrontation of opinionated people who, under normal circumstances, would have better anger management control; local and world politics and the list goes on.

Armed with mask, hand-sanitizer and mindful of the 6 feet social distancing, I was on a mission to find positive things. Strolling down the street, the first thing I saw were the wonderful

painted rocks that still looked as freshly painted as they did last Summer.

A few houses down were the early signs of Spring—-clusters of Snowdrops nestled close to some Winter blooming Hellesbores.

I had passed a frisky Malti-poo and his owner, both cheerfully waving—the former with his tail and the latter with her gloved hand. I had also stepped aside for a ginormous Newfoundlander and his short owner.

But it was the sight of the colourful Rooster that made me laugh.

This was such an unexpected sight that you couldn’t help laughing—especially when it was masked and socially distanced with his skiis.

I was already feeling optimistic and positive when I spotted the Bride and Groom Frogs.

This was definitely a sign of New Beginnings and Spring.

I continued on my circuitous route that would take me past a few interesting store fronts. By chance I came across this eye-catching entry to a physiotherapist’s office.

I liked this—after all, purple is a terrific colour.

I had wanted to photograph the entry nook to a new perfumery that occupied an older house.

It was too easy to miss from a mere stroll along the sidewalk. One had to pause to enjoy the serene setting.
I love the unexpected and this was at the beginning of a long driveway that —in the Summer, I expect there would be more greenery but even in the Winter, this still held an appeal.

And tipping the winter woolie hat to the upcoming Chinese New Year, I have to cheat and include this Chinese gong, taken last Summer at the Nursery.

I felt much better and had a sense of accomplishment. I had found my positive vibes and chased away any negative thoughts–if only for a short time. With the pandemic still occupying our day-to-day lives, it’s really up to all of us to grab those moments of cheer whenever and wherever we can.

Keep well, my Friends–stay calm, be safe and always keep some sunny thoughts close by.

Unmasking a Friend

This pandemic has brought out a few anomalies, but the one I marvel at most is when I can walk freely into a bank wearing my dark mask, my woolie hat and my big dark glasses without being stopped or having any eyebrows lifted. I marvel at this because only a year ago—pre-pandemic—the bank had a large sign at the entrance proclaiming that anyone entering had to remove their hat, their dark glasses and anything obscuring his/her face. What a difference a year made.

During this pandemic era—the talent we all acquire—to varying degrees, is the ability to recognize friends who are wearing masks. Eyes are very personable and are usually—note, I said usually –an identifying feature of good friends.

Laughing blue eyes danced above a mask with tiny black cats cavorting against a cream coloured background.

“Hello, my Dear Friend,” was the joyful greeting. “It’s been too long since I’ve seen you!”

“It certainly has been much too long,” I replied, at the same time thinking those eyes are familiar. Is that Betsy from my sing-along group?”

“Oh my, it’s been so long since I’ve seen anyone from our group. I feel like I’ve been let out of jail and this is my first day of freedom.” The merry blue eyes twinkled above her face mask as she carefully looked me over. A slightly puzzled look appeared briefly in her eyes and swiftly passed.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen anyone from our group,” I replied, desperately searching my memory for the name belonging to merry blue eyes who likes cats.

“There’s quite a few of us living in this area and I’m always surprised we don’t meet more of our group.”

“I’m only sorry we can’t enjoy a cup of coffee somewhere,” I replied regretfully.

“Me too. You know, I always thought our bird-watching group was safe. After all, we’re socially distanced and it’s all outdoors, so I couldn’t understand why this was all cancelled until futher notice.”

“Bird-watching? I’m sorry I’m not in your bird-watching group. I thought you were in my sing-along group!”

“You know, I thought there was something different about you, but I didn’t think it would be mistaken identity!” Merry-Blue-Eyes laughed.

“These darn masks makes it hard to recognize anyone including family,” was my amused answer. “Yesterday, I met my cousin for lunch. She was wearing her mask plus a new short haircut that was hard for me to recognize her. I was commenting on her “Audrey Hepburn” hair-do when I felt this tap on my shoulder and a familiar voice said, “Sorry, I’m late but parking is terrible here. Who’s your friend?” It was then I realized I had been chatting to a total stranger.

The blue-eyes were laughing when I told my “cousin” story. “Oh my,” she chuckled, “that is so funny. Now we both have another pandemic story to tell our friends and families.”

We exchanged names so that next time we saw each other in the Village, we would truly recognize a friend and recall her name. Margaret and I parted with a wave and a smile.

How did I know she was smiling? I knew because it’s all in the eyes. . .

To Lie or Not to Lie

“Next time I agree to do something that I don’t want to do, jump in and rescue me,” I told Hubby.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“Tell them something, so I don’t have to do it.”

“I can’t lie,” Hubby said horrified.

“It’s not really lying—it’s a little white lie and they don’t count.”

“Lying is lying,” Hubby stubbornly insisted. “I can’t tell a lie.”

White lies are not lies,” I insisted. “They’re just a teensy untruth that doesn’t hurt anyone and. . and. . .,” I stumbled, quickly thinking, “not exactly lying because it saves face,” I finished triumphantly.

“Save face?” Hubby echoed. “Isn’t that what my Grandmother use to say when we were kids and did something not acceptable and. . .”

“Yep–my Grandma said the same thing. I think it had something to do with family honour and looking good.”

“If I remember correctly, Grandmother did tell some untruths which she reminded my brother and I that that wasn’t lying. I’m still not sure why when she does it, it’s a grownup thing and when we do it, it’s a lie.”

“That may be,” I argued, but we’re grown-ups now and we can do whatever.”

Hubby’s eyebrows rose to the ceiling and he sighed, “That is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard. We maybe grown-ups, but a lie is a lie.”

“Okay, picture this scenario. You’re at work and your boss calls you into his office. He knows someone is pilfering the doughnut supply. He wants you to nail the culprit and post his picture on the Wall of Shame. You know who the culprit is and you don’t want to do this. You tell the boss you suspect there was a break-in and the thief was hungry. That’s why there were 1/2 dozen doughnuts missing.”

Hubby looked resigned because he knew where this was going.

“My question is—were you lying about the doughnut thief or would you classified this as a little white lie?” Pausing a bit, I pushed my point forward. “Little white lies are a necessity to keep a balance, a kind of peace, a bit of forgiveness to save face, producing a serene kharma, to. . .” I sputtered to a stop.

“I think this is more a matter of saving one’s dignity. Sometimes it’s a matter of diplomacy. If you asked me which dress looked better on you, I would be diplomatic with my answer. I wouldn’t resort to any little white lies.”

“If one dress made me look a sickly yellow and the other made me look like a ‘hooker’, you don’t feel you need to sugar-coat your answer?”

“No, because I know you would never contemplate a mustard yellow dress or pick an indecently trashy one.”

“If I wore a loose top that made me look 8 months pregnant, would you tell me?”

“Are you trying to tell me something?”

“Unless it’s an immaculate conception, a “mini-you’ is not happening. But you would tell me if I look okay before stepping out of the house?”

“Yes, I would. And because you’re my wife whom I love dearly, I won’t sugar-coat the fact that you look terrible. On the other hand, I would tell you if you look totally awesome.”

“Okay,” I said, adding softly, “I love you my Hubby. And, that isn’t a white lie but the absolute truth.”

“Okay then,” he replied, giving me his affectionate bear hug. In my heart of hearts, I knew that was the absolute truth, too.

A Wannabe Techie’s Daily War

I think I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my computer. As I learned the intricacies of navigating the daily tight-rope of techie-ville, the techie path changed again.

I don’t think it’s all Me because I swear my computer has a mind of its own whenever it decides to have its snitty-fit at the same time I need it to be working well.

I know it’s not Me but my computer, who detests changes of any kind. This is especially obvious whenever Microsoft does its regular routine updates.

I had a wonderful desktop page with the ever changing balloon theme. These were huge balloons that held passengers and each scene was over a different locale. I had all my “shortcut” programs on the page and it was great to just tap a shortcut and bing, you were in that program. Email? In it. Internet? In it. Word? Yep, in it.

Then one day, after a Microsoft update, my Balloon page disappeared and with it, all my shortcuts.

What did I do? I painstakingly put the programs I use the most–their handy-dandy shortcuts–on my taskbar. AND please don’t tell me that is not the thing to do. At the moment, it is working well for me.

I tried to tell Microsoft that I didn’t need all their updates because all I have is my desk-top—no laptops, no notebooks, no smartphones, no anything else that needs to have all my programs shared among them. Besides, I am one of the rare breed that doesn’t want or need to be kept on an electronic leash.

For now, I’m navigating a very convoluted route to access my Word program so I can access my various documents. Did I mention that there is now a newer Word and that the older version is no longer supported by Microsoft’s helpful elves?

And to make matters worse—for a non-techie, like me—my phone server that provides the email service, will be doing a “changeover” to Google because Google provides a smoother access for all the devices a person can own.

But that’s not me. I only have a desk-top.

Wait–I do have my very basic cell phone that the man at the phone store called a “senior phone..” It has a flip-top; only sends and receives phone calls; receives text messages but takes forever to type back a reply. It takes forever because my cell phone doesn’t have a proper keyboard to type out a reply—just the phone pad. But my senior phone does have a decent camera as that’s what I’ve been using to record what I see on my power-walks.

I was assured that the changeover will provide me with a gazillion gigabytes plus whatever goes beyond that. I won’t be using this mega jumbo-power.

I’m not a “gamer.” I watch my movies on my TV screen. I play my music on my stereo. However, I have used my computer to play my CDs when I finally found my music again after Microsoft did one of its updates. My basic cellphone serves its purpose of being a phone—not used for internet or games.

But I guess, like a number of us, slightly-out-of-step with the rest of the with-it generations, we will always be slightly-ot-of-step. I/m sure my grandkids view me the same way I use to look at my grandparents. My grandparents lived through a lot of changes: from the “party-lines” on a wall-phone that was “cranked-up” to get an outside line to a desk phone with a private line; automobiles that no longer needed to be cranked-up to be started; the arrival of television for home entertainment in addition to the familiar radio. In her lifetime, my Grandma did witness space travel to the moon.

I do have a toe dipped in the ever-changing techie world. Yes, I am a “dinosaur” when it comes to techie-power on my basic equipment. I would love to have the option of keeping to the basics and not being super-sized when I don’t need it or want it.

I do welcome changes but please, not now when I have a finicky computer who loves to throw tantrums.

The Good Points

The pandemic is both good and bad. The bad part–we are all aware of and know how to protect ourselves against the results. The good parts are where we find out what kind of person we are to cope. Does that make sense?

I find that under stress conditions, I bake. I can cook too but if I ever went into the profession, I’d be the one who produces the desserts and baked goods. My sister is the true cook. She can make anything— I mean anything taste great and that probably includes sprouts and old boots. But back to the good points of this pandemic.

Google search makes available a number of very interesting recipes with fascinating stories behind them. And reading mysteries, murder and mayhem, there are often baked goods I never heard of. One such pastry originates from Poitou-Clarentes, now a part of Novelle-Aquitaine. Broye du Poitou is a buttery shortbread-like ginormous cookie. The dough is rolled or pressed into a 1/2 inch thick circle, brushed with a beaten egg, sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked on a cookie sheet. When this pastry is ready to be served, the honoured guest is the one who thumps his fist into the centre so the Broye du Poitou is broken into different size pieces. Here is the website https://www.tarasmulticulturaltable.com/broye-du-poitou-poitiers There is another version that calls for Apricot Brandy https://fortheloveofbutter.blog/2020/08/30/broye-du-poitou

Because most of my doughnut sources had temporarily closed due to you-know-what, I felt I had conquered my doughnut addiction. Not true. One of the coffee bars down the street from me had continued with their window service of fresh roasted coffee and one day, provided the delectable Yonni’s doughnuts. There is nothing worse than flaunting Yonni’s in the showcase window. It is impossible for a doughnut addict to not kook in the window when passing by. It is even a worst fate to read in the mysteries, murder and mayhem books about “Castagnole.” What is that, you may ask. Castagnole is an Italian fritter made especially at Carnival time. By the time I had finished reading this book, Yonni’s was forgotten as my brain had fixated on Castagnoles. Here’s a recipe for the delectable little fried round balls that reminded me of upscale doughnut holes. https://www.recipesonthego.com/recipe/castagnole

One final delicious “treasure.” This one was mentioned briefly in a radio interview and prompted me to do a search. “King Arthur’s Almond Flour Brownies” is a delicious gluten-free recipe with the most chocolate-y flavour. To a full-fledged chocoholic, this recipe was one that will forever be part of my chocolate recipe collection. I wasn’t sure if almond flour was the same as ground almonds because this was what I used. The brownies turned out to be a dark chocolate, light as a feather, moist cake-like brownie. (https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/almond-flour-brownies-recipe) However, if you’re looking for a dark chocolate brownie that’s more dense, this recipe isn’t for you. For the final decadent touch, I scattered a few mini-Lindt dark chocolate pieces on top of the brownie as it cooled on the rack—spread when melted. Try not to devour the entire pan and remember to share with those in your safe bubble.

I grew up in a house that had a huge kitchen. Family, food and friends were always a huge part of it. As adults, it is no surprise that our family and friends still gather in the kitchen. During this time of pandemic, things change but we humans adapt. Eventually we will return to a life before Covid-19. For now, we’ll cocoon and stay safe in our small social bubble—a bubble that allows us to enjoy the Broye du Poitou, Castagnoles, King Arthur Almond Flour Brownies and whatever other tasty treats that pops up in books we read, things we hear or unfamiliar pastries we see on our screens.

THE GOLDEN YEARS

Harry Goldman and Walter Young carefully carried their big mugs of dark roasted coffee to Charlie Swanson’s corner table, already covered with sections of the daily newspapers. Charlie hastily pushed the newspapers into a wobbly pile to make room for his coffee-mates.

“Well, you two are early today,” he greeted them with a smile.

“I just came from a visit to my doctor and decided I needed a large cup of caffeine,” declared Henry.

“Uh-oh,” Charlie commiserated. “Was this the visit where you found out you had to stop eating whatever it was you enjoyed and eat more of whatever it was you detested?”

“Not quite, Charlie, but very close,” Henry sighed.

“I noticed you only got coffee this morning and skipped your Apple Danish,” Walter added sympathetically.

“Is that why you refrained from getting your Almond Croissant?” Henry smiled. At that moment, Muriel Long and Charlotte Pickles plonked their cups of cappuccino along with a side plate containing two dark chocolate fudge brownies beside Henry. The ladies each pulled up a chair from an empty adjacent table and made themselves comfortable.

“Would anyone like a piece of our fudge brownies?” Muriel offered. Henry reluctantly shook his head. Walter sipped his coffee and eyed the brownies, then slowly shook his head as well.

“Charlotte and I just finished our energetic class of Golden Zumba at the rec centre. Our instructor is someone my granddaughter’s age and very good at getting all the senior ladies revved up and moving!”

“That’s why Muriel and I are building up our sugar reserve since we danced it all off in the class!” Charlotte laughed as she took a bite of her brownie. “More for us to enjoy since all of you refused our generous offer.

“Henry was telling us about his doctor’s appointment this morning,” Charlie explained.

“Oh no,” the ladies chorused in sympathy. “Is this where you get that dreaded news that you have to stop eating. . .” Muriel began, but was interrupted by Henry’s huge sigh.

“I always thought that ‘retirement’ was our Golden Years, you know, like those cheezy commercials we use to see when we were still working,” Walter commented.

“I know what you mean Walter,” Charlotte agreed. “I bet far too many retirees end up with health problems that takes care of the rosy picture of a carefree retirement life.”

“So, my friend, what joys do you have to cut to prolong your life?” Walter bluntly asked. Before Henry could spew forth the list, Muriel interrupted.

“Is this a low salt/no-salt diet? Or is it no red meat and no breads and no. . . .”

“Oh my god,” Charlotte exclaimed, “what’s left to eat that’s palatable?”

“Not much” Henry said glumly.

“Now, it’s not that bad,” Charlie pointed out. “The best thing to happen would be you’d lose a few pounds which is always good for the heart. A visit to a reputable dietician would set you on the right path with the kind of herbs and seasoning you can use that’s not salt and other sources of protein that doesn’t have to be red meat. But you have to remember one thing. Cutting back on certain foods doesn’t mean never eating them again. It just means you eat it occasionally like once a week instead of every day. You’ll probably notice a drop in your grocery bill as well as a boost in energy but you’ll be too busy to worry about snacks and bad eating habits.”

“Even I can live with that,” Muriel murmured. Charlotte and Walter both nodded their heads in agreement. Henry thought about Charlie’s wise words and voiced his opinion. “It’s the thought of giving up so much of what I enjoy, but small amounts rather than an excess is a good start. I like the idea of consulting with a dietician as that would steer me along the right food paths.”

“Nikki can walk you three times a day,” Walter grinned mischievously–Nikki being the Goldman’s energetic cockapoo.

“Oh my, Henry–you’ll be a healthier, thinner person in a few months,” Muriel encouraged cheerfully.

“I read this article in the Huffington Post about all these people who switched to a healthier lifestyle and after six months were able to reduce the amount of meds they had to take daily. That alone would be a great incentive to live healthier,” Charlotte reported to her coffee-mates.

“Well, we’re all here to cheer you on, Henry.” All his coffee friends lifted their cups in a toasting motion, sipped the last drops of their coffee and made moves to gather their things to leave. Charlie packed up the sections of his newspapers he wanted to keep and bundled them into his shopping bag. He paused and spoke, “Retirement is still fun but who said it would be easy? Life moves along its own mysterious path with its usual bumps and pitfalls. I suspect it’s to ensure a person enjoys what he/she has and not get too complacent about it.”

Giving them a jaunty wave, he gave his usual parting, “Enjoy your day, my friends,” then added impishly, “remember to ease up on the red meat, the salt, the pastries and all the other good stuff. . . . .”

                            ” Good coffee is a pleasure.  Good friends are a treasure.”—-Anonymous

It’s Good For You

Some people thrive on exercise. You know, the hard physical sweat of toting those bales and lifting those sacks. Being the 21st century, this is equivalent to the various metal monster gym machines that tests your physical abilities to the max.  Me? I’m the gal that loves anything stimulating the mind. If I can find an exercise that’s fun, stimulates the mind and gives a good work-out, you’ll find me there.

I’ve signed up for Jazzercise, Line-dancing, Golden Zumba, Burlesque-fit, Hawaiian dancing, Taoist tai-chi and the latest dance trend, Nuline dancing. All of these choices were fun and not at all like a dreaded exercise class.  I really enjoyed my “work-outs” as it also tested your memory in remembering the sequence of moves. They were all challenging and entertaining.

Recently, I signed up for the Yang style of tai-chi—learning 22 moves in 6 sessions. The lady registering me typed the last digit wrong and I found myself in a Qui Gong class instead. The brochure described Qui Gong as “These gentle, flowing movements combine breathing, movement and concentration to increase strength, flexibility and endurance while relieving stress.” Participants were further informed that Qui Gong was similar to tai chi, but easier to master as the movements were simpler. Well, here I was and I decided to give it my best efforts.

Glancing around the room, I noted there were 30 adults/seniors ranging anywhere from 55-80 years. I decided to stand near the oldest person in the room. This strategy would supposedly make me look more co-ordinated, especially if the elderly senior looked as if a puff of wind would knock him over. We chatted and his name was Ben. Ben was 82 and loved Qui Gong.

At first, the breathing exercises, movement of the arms and shifting of body weight did feel like tai-chi, even reminiscent of a hint of Hawaiian dancing. As the simple moves and holds progressed to more serious moves, Qui Gong felt like isometric core exercises with a dash of yoga thrown in.  If done correctly, it was like a “stretching” workout. Ben was doing it fluidly and effortlessly.

The instructor came over to assist me.

“I’ll support your arms above your head while you relax your body.”

Sighing, I stood straight. raised my arms above my head, bent my knees into a comfortable “sitting” position, relaxed my midriff by breathing through my belly button, tucked my chin onto my chest while fiercely concentrating on remaining loose and pliable. Then still gently supporting my arms straight above my head, the instructor whispered in my ear, “And don’t fall on me.”

Well  for goodness sakes, who can  hold that pose without laughing? I went home and glumly told my Hubby, “I will never make it as a monk.”

And he replied, “I hate to tell you this but women can’t be.”  Thank goodness. . .

 

Another Birthday

Birthdays are like jelly-beans—they’re colourful, fun, numerous and tasty. When we were younger, birthdays meant a happy day filled with laughter, family, friends and food–especially cake. Being young, we would anxiously count the years to 16 and our driver’s license; 19 and a chance to cast a vote; 21 and finally considered an “adult.”

Being older, we begin to look at birthdays a little differently. There’s a bit of tension when the 30s, 40s and 50s pass. Suddenly, you find yourself in the 60s and 70s. Where did the years go?

I have a different perspective. My mantra is “You’re only as old as you feel.” And, I feel like I’m still in my 40s–well, okay, maybe some days early 50s. It really depends whether I had a good night’s sleep and my nibble of dark chocolate.

Birthdays are an event that comes around every 365 days; 366 days if it’s a leap year and this year happens to be one. Who decided that we are older each 365/366 days? Why are we supposed to age? Whatever happened to being “young at heart?”  Hey, as long as one has good health, financially stable, a happy outlook and knowing you can do anything you want, (as long as it’s legal)–what more can a person need or want?

There’s so many things to tackle and not enough years to do it all. So far I have tried Jazzercise, Hawaiian Dancing. Burlesque-Fit, Line Dancing, Zumba, Nuline Dancing, Ukulele and Guitar–all of which trains the memory as one moves to music or play the music. It’s been fun and still is as a number the dance classes are social events as well as fun classes.

I firmly believe that we reach a stage in our life where you must enjoy what you have while you can. But one thing for sure, you have to keep moving, no matter what. I intend to keep exercising my body and mind; enjoying my family and friends; relishing every moment of being alive and knowing there’s more good stuff around the next bend. Remember birthdays are only a number and if you’re feeling younger than what the number says, then for goodness sakes, celebrate and enjoy!

It’s been a blast for me the last two weeks as I embrace another birthday and thankful I have family and friends to share the moment. Happy Birthday to all my January friends–keep moving and dive into that bucket list now!

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Challenge

I had this sudden yen for peanut butter cookies—a plain, simple, home-made peanut butter cookie.

So I dug out my collection of cookie cookbooks and did some quick research. Some books didn’t even have a plain, old-fashion peanut butter cookie, but they did have the cookie dressed up with chocolate chips, orange peel, extra roasted peanuts and all other combinations using chocolate, dried fruit and crunchy nuts.

The first recipe used up most of the jar of Adams Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter. It was a jar I bought by mistake as  I had reached for the Adams Creamy. The drawback with Adams peanut butter is that it requires mixing the peanut oil back into the peanut butter before it can be used. The recipe also called for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, but I decided to mix some whole-wheat, ground flax and wheat germ into the mixture as well. I was able to scoop spoonfuls of dough into a ball and flatten with a fork. When this batch of cookies cooled enough to sample, I noted it was a solid cookie that would travel well in a deep pocket, along with a bag of trail mix—perfect for a few hours of hiking or a power walk. It also needed more peanut butter as it barely tasted like a peanut had rolled through.

After looking over more recipes, I decided to add a bit here, omit a bit there and increase the peanut butter. Hubby doesn’t eat this kind of cookie and I had to eat whatever I made so it had to be super tasty.

The next recipe I found had fine coconut and dried cranberries which I omitted. I also generously increased the amount of peanut butter from its original 1/2 cup to a full cup. The results were a slightly softer cookie, tasted like it had peanut butter in it and was addictive–not because it was tasty, which it was, but because the size and shape felt good in my hand and with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee, it was almost perfect.

Today, I tried one more recipe and this is the one I’ll return to next time I get the urge for a good peanut butter cookie. These cookies spread big, were crispy on the edges and slightly soft in the centre. There was a distinctive taste of peanut butter and when these cookies were baking, the kitchen smelled like roasting peanuts. And the amazing thing was there were no dark chocolate chips or chunky chocolate in these cookies—simply a generous addition of a creamy-style peanut butter.  To burn off those darn calories and the extra five pounds of “research”, I now power walk twice a day but it was worth every single bite of those 50+ peanut butter cookies.  What we must do to scratch a yen. . . . .’til the next time.