Fandango’s Friday Flashback – December 27

This post inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback – December 27

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?..Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post is from December 27, 2018 in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt.

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This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Corpulent

Corpulent

Corpulent

“My doctor says I’m too heavy.”

“I feel so huge.”

“I just hate this roll of fat on my hips.”

“I’ve always been on the big side.”

“I’m just a little overweight.”

“When I was a kid, I was considered chunky.”

I was a registered dietitian for many years, providing one-to-one diet counseling at hospitals and clinics. Doctors referred patients for weight loss diets…for a variety of reasons. Blood lipids too high. Blood pressure too high. Blood sugar too high. Joints wearing away.

Or…”to be more healthy.”
As if it was that simple…

I met with a young woman who cried with the shame of being criticized by her mother growing up. Because she was overweight.

A man whose parents belittled him at the dinner table when he served himself a second helping of potatoes.

A teenage boy who needed to be weighed on the hospital wheelchair scale. Bullied at school. Dropped out. Working on his GED.

A young man whose wife would put a box of chocolates in his bureau drawer to tempt him. She was chubby too.

Countless women – of all ages – were embarrassed to be sitting across from me, as if they had committed a sin.

To be fat. Corpulent. Obese. Chunky. Chubby. Portly. Overweight. Whatever you name it…is to be branded less than. Ostracized in our first world society.

Often facing an exhausting lifetime battle with food.
How much. When. Where. Why.
Most doctors don’t realize that food is just one piece of this puzzle.

You don’t have to do this, I’d say when calling to set up an appointment…if I sensed reluctance.

But the doctor said I have to.

It is your decision no matter what the doctor says.

There would be a pause in the conversation.

Really?

Yes. It’s up to you. If you aren’t ready, we can wait.

Most of the time, the appointment was made.
The patient showed up. Often wary.
And we’d talk. About goals. Typical meals.
Eating history. Likes. Dislikes.

Sometimes there was crying. Or almost crying.
Stories of shunning. Lost opportunities. Self-hatred.

So much emotional pain.
Because a body is large…
Soothed for years
With foods that comfort.

Only to face doctor’s orders
to take those foods away.

I often asked myself…
Is it worth it?

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Pupil

Inspiration: Ragtag Daily Prompt: Pupil

 

5th grade
Public School Fifth Grade
New Jersey
1964

I rarely hear the term pupil anymore. At least as it applies to schoolchildren.

However, back in the olden days – the 1960s – I was a pupil. One of many pupils in my 5th grade class. A large class by today’s standards…after all we were the babyboomers.  Schools would be scrambling to accommodate us for years to come.

Bizarre at it sounds, I still recognize those classmates – and can name almost all of them. Perhaps not always for the best reasons.

Fifth grade – when I turned 11 – remains sharp in my memory.  There is Andy, twin brother of Ellen, who I had a mad crush on. Probably because he complimented me on my kickball skills at recess. Debby…whose house I visited to play games and sleep over. Patti Ann, Judy and Dianne…the mean girl trio who took turns making my life miserable. Except when they didn’t and I thought we were friends. Kathy…the girl who was taller than me…a rare occurrence. Johnny…whose science experiment once blew up. Meredith…bullied because she was overweight. Eric…the boy who I think had a crush on me…although I was as clueless as they came. So who knows.

The only dress code of sorts applied to girls. We had to wear dresses or skirts. Except on once-a-week gym days. My favorite day of the week…pants!…sneakers!

Boys could wear whatever they wanted. Neckties only came out on school picture day.

In addition to Math, Science, Reading, etc., we were also graded on Penmanship, Behavior and Effort. Girls had gym and health class separate from the boys. Often a pupil…like me…stood in front of her class and gave the Spelling tests. And missed Social Studies to correct them for the teacher.

I wonder what happened to those kids. Now in their 60’s. The mean girls do not look as mean as I remember. I see no angry faces…or narrowed eyes…or…evidence of what happened. I also look happier than I was. It’s an odd perspective.

My family moved to another town when I started sixth grade.

I never saw those kids again.

My First Car

Inspiration: Ragtag Daily Prompt – Memory

 

My First Car
(A slant six engine will last forever!)

 

Fresh out of college in 1976, I was hot on a search for the perfect car.
My first car.

The budget: under $4000.

The dream: a shiny, new, reliable, 4-door ORANGE set of wheels (this was the ‘70s after all). It needed to hold all my stuff; which remarkably – back then – fit completely inside a car.

I found just what I wanted at a Plymouth dealership in Nanuet, NY one blistering June day.

A bright orange Volaré complete with its famous slant six engine, real vinyl seats and AM/FM radio. It practically had my name on it. And it was under budget.

Sold!

Picture2

I signed up for a “how to take care of your car” class. I learned how to change the air filter, spark plugs and fuses. I waxed it until it practically glowed, even in the dark. It was easy to locate in a parking lot.

My Volaré lasted 12 years and over 106,000 miles. It took me to my first hospital job. From the church to my wedding reception. To Chicago for my college roommate’s wedding. Home from the hospital with my newborn daughter safely secured in her first car seat.

I even won a free sunroof in a radio contest in 1986.

In 1988 it was time for a new car. The evils of rust were starting to win the battle. After I negotiated a fair price on a Corsica at the local Chevy dealership, the salesman mentioned that I could probably get $400 wholesale for my Volaré. He also mentioned the slant six engine.

Good idea!

The next day I returned to the dealership. Late afternoon, around 4pm. My son and 6 year old daughter came with me. She waited patiently in the showroom with a book. My 6-month-old son, balanced on my left hip, accompanied me to the car lot to meet with the salesman…

Who no longer thought $400 was fair.

He called for the sales manager to join us.

Sales Mgr: I’ll give you $100 towards the new car.

Me: It has a slant six engine. Those last forever! Please take it for a drive! I was told it’s worth $400.

The manager drove it around the lot.

Mgr: Okay, $200. Look at the mileage!

Me: Maybe I don’t need a new car after all. This one runs great. It even has a sunroof.

Manager walked around it again. Salesman stood behind him.
Mgr: Alright…$300

At this point my son was getting more and more squirmy. He looked straight at the manager. And blew really loud raspberries.

Me: See! We both know this is a great car!

The salesman and manager went inside to talk to The Senior Manager. They both came out and walked around the car again. Went back inside the showroom. My son and I followed.

The sales manager finally returned…to where I waited with 2 hungry and cranky children. He shook his head, looked at me…okay $400.

Me: You’ve got yourself a deal!

As I was signing the paperwork, I heard a voice call my name. It was the Senior Manager sitting behind his big elevated-on-a-riser desk. In the middle of the showroom.  I looked in his direction…as he continued…

“Hey! Anytime you need a job, just call.”

Bread

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

Bread…the often maligned staff of life. A slice of evil carbs. The heaven-sent envelope for melted cheese.

I didn’t give it much thought on a personal level until 10 years ago. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease. And reluctantly began my adventures into the murky depths of the gluten-free diet.

Full disclosure: I worked my entire professional life as a registered dietitian, so I knew what celiac disease was. And what a gluten-free diet was.  My least favorite diet to teach someone about. Challenging to say the least.

It was not without great irony, that I embarked upon this new personal life chapter.

Returning to the subject of bread…

“Back in the day” as we baby boomers say, gluten-free (GF) bread was akin to extra thick cardboard…at best. Available only by mail order. Or at a lonely booth at the annual dietetics convention. Samples piled high as dietitians rushed past the company table. Towards the latest low fat potato chips on display further down the crowded aisle.

GF bread was oh so very dry. Like chewing on a rug pad. Sandy when crumbled. Taste? A junior high science experiment gone wrong.

When I was diagnosed in 2009, a hopeful light had started to appear at the end of the gluten-free diet tunnel. A few companies were starting to manufacture decent gluten-free mixes, cookies, cakes…and some breads. The marketing strategy was not so much aimed at those of us with celiac disease (we are only 1% of the US population), but for those with gluten intolerance as well.

However, the real economic driver for the cascade of GF foods on the grocery store shelves? The tidal wave of consumers who believe a gluten-free diet is a healthier diet overall (it isn’t, don’t get me started…).

All the attention is fine with me though. I benefit from more choices that actually taste…almost as good…as their “real” counterparts.

I tried making GF bread from a mix the old fashioned way. Letting it rise and all of that. There were a number of disasters until I found a mix that turned out okay…

gf bread 2011

…but the texture? meh… Taste? better than a GF loaf off the shelf. Still way too much work.

In 2011 my 2 adult children took pity on me and gifted me a bread machine at Christmas. Along with several bags of GF bread mix.

“It’s easy Mom. Just put it all in the machine and push the gluten free setting button!”
They were well acquainted with my aversion for recipes with more than 6 ingredients and a few steps.

They were right. It was easy. The bread tasted even better. And did I say it was easy?

The magic bread mix plus bread machine did equal a quality loaf of gluten-free bread. Not quite like the old days of hearty wheat and bran bread, but a definite improvement…

GF bread 2012

No more cardboard bread. The taste and texture acceptable. But still not…well…normal.

gf bread cutJPG

However…since I pride myself on reading directions – no matter what they are for – I also studied the recipe book that came with the bread machine.

I found a gluten-free bread recipe listing:

5  different flours plus
9 other ingredients
and 15 steps…

…I thought maybe I could make an even better GF bread. Worth the time to assemble. With so…many…ingredients. And the bread machine…

My curiosity got the better of me. As often happens.

I tweaked the recipe with:

1. What I had learned since my diagnosis (which includes: forget all you ever knew about baking bread)
2. Old Food Science class info nuggets pried from my memory bank circa 1976 (science is science after all).
3. Let’s try somehow to increase the fiber so eating white bread doesn’t feel so wrong.

It worked.
Excellent tasting gluten-free bread.

Which I know I have a photo of somewhere.
And when I find it, I will add it to this post!

One thing for sure: samples would go fast at the convention….

Egg

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt

A timely prompt…egg…as it is almost Easter.

In our house, while raising our children, coloring hard boiled eggs was an Easter tradition.

As it was when I was growing up…

easter-eggs.jpg

At the kitchen table.
The smell of vinegar in the air.

Easter as a child: the anticipation…first the eggs. Then the wait for Easter morning and the hunt for hidden baskets. Chocolate bunnies! Jelly beans! Marshmallow Peeps!

The same wire holders. Newspapers spread out to catch the inevitable drips.

Tiny color pellets – one for each custard cup (in my childhood) – teacup (for my kids). Dissolving into what seemed like magical colors. Dip the egg in quick or let it soak. Or maybe dip in halfway. Turn it over and try a different color for the other half. This took practice.

Mastering the balancing act…without dropping the egg on the floor…an Easter rite of passage…

My daughter and son…each at 3 years old…experts!

 

easter eggs1992
Ages 10 and 4 – Go Team!

 

Last year around this time, I wrote a post about Easter.
I described my favorite book from childhood…featuring Easter eggs and the Easter bunny…who overslept.
The sweetest story…
And the illustrations…sigh.
Well worth mentioning again.
If you want to check it out…Almost Easter 2018

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Color of Your Choice

Cee’s Challenge topic this week is Color of your Choice

This time of year I am more than ready for bright colors…
Reddish orange
Bright blue
With just a touch of black and white…

IMG_0982
“Origins”  by Mark di Suvero

 

This majestic sculpture, created by Mark di Suvero, greets visitors at the entrance to the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.

This view – from the ground looking up – captures just a portion of its 36 foot height…

On a perfect summer day.

 

RDP – COLOR