Apples and bananas have been fruits that my pregnant belly has been wanting. Over the summer in the earlier part of my pregnancy I wanted berries (specifically blackberries and raspberries). Now that we are easing into fall and berries are no longer local, I have wanted apples. Over the holiday weekend we decided to try this Apple Fries recipe. They were definitely delicious, but in my opinion have two flaws. They take too much time to make than they are worth AND they made the house smell for days. That does not mean it will happen to you, but currently our range does not actually ventilate outside and thus the smell permeated throughout our house. We had to open windows and light candles for a few days to get rid of the apple fry smell.
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
¼ cup Cornstarch
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan on high heat.
Toss apple wedges in cornstarch, coating both sides.
Place just enough of the coated apple wedges into the hot oil to make a single layer and fry on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. They should be just golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the apple wedges.
Transfer the cooked apples onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and drain for a few minutes.
Toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve.
Whip the heavy cream and vanilla to use as a dip. Yum!
Sometimes others remind us of someone from our past, maybe a family member, friend, or someone who we barely knew. This woman reminds me of my grandma (Granny Smith). She is 97 years old. My grandma was 94 when she died, and I have to say this woman not only looks amazing, but she is determined and has a spark that I think is lost in our elders. Especially her line: “I do what I please.” Often we are the ones that take that spark away.
I can remember when my brother, sister, and I had to have the conversation with my grandma that we no longer felt comfortable with her driving anymore. She was probably mostly fine, but what scared us the most was her defense mechanisms, they just were not as responsive as they were in her younger age. We feared for others on the road. Either it was because of her slower speeds, or that her car basically drove on its own. You barely had to tap the accelerator. It was a 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic, with less than 60,000 miles, which basically means she drove it about 2500 miles a year, or 48 miles a week. This was in the early 2000’s and her car was over 20 years old – and basically my age. We knew we had to have her stop driving and sell her car. A tough conversation with a woman who was extremely independent and had lived alone for the past 40 years after her husband had died.
This video reminds me how much more we can do to help those that are aging feel like they matter, that they can help others, and that as long as it is not dangerous to themselves or to others, we need to make sure they can continue to live and do the things they are capable of doing. Just remember we are all going to be old someday too, so maybe the Golden Rule needs to be applied in these cases. The video is part of a movement called: “I Like Giving.” Enjoy and be grateful for the elders in your life, the ones that can still boss you around, and those that may not be here, but have left you with memories.
I take two kinds of photos — people and odd objects. You know when you see that toothpick sticking out of the parking meter, or a bike is leaning oddly on its front tire and somehow holding up the weight of itself? Whatever the oddity, I find beauty in the common objects in life found in rare or strange places. At times, we find that a common object strikes a deep chord within us. It brings back memories that are strong and often vivid. Our own talisman of sorts.
Over the weekend we were at a local holiday artisan market that was nested within a new/used hardware store. I saw a few holiday trinkets that started a flowing thought process of the talismans in my life. I saw a bottle opener in the shape of pliers, vintage hammers, and a few construction-esque items that brought back memories of my dad’s plethora of tools meant to help him build, fix, and maintain the homes of many in my hometown. Beside the random fart greeting card, or joke about going bald, tools are often a talisman reminder of my dad. So are the moments when I wished I had watched him fix a pipe, build a deck, or the endless other projects I could have gained valuable and tangible knowledge to bring to my home today.
My other talismans? Pepsi and Daisies. Random, I know, but each remind me of my mom and grandma. My grandma’s daily drink was a Pepsi, and while I do not drink soda, from what I can remember my last 2-liter drinking of Pepsi was with her. It would probably taste nasty to me, like a syrup IV, but it will forever be my reminder of good ‘ole Granny Smith. I can also rarely pass by a daisy and not think of my mom. Sometimes to the point of having tears in my eyes. While I have not embraced, spoken to, or seen her for over twenty years, a daisy can bring back the strongest of memories. They are resilient, last forever, and are the simplest of flowers. While my mom did not last as long as she should have, she was one resilient and simple lady. Call my sappy, but the daisy is a quick reminder of her and her last words to me: “Be strong.”
It is amazing how you can be walking through a store, look up, and have a flashback of multiple experiences before your eyes. Almost when you accidentally click the button on an email that allows you to open all attachments at once. It is fast movement where window after window opens before you. A miasma of different experiences that cascade across the screen.
Mine happened with Alfred Dunner.
Who is that you might wonder? If you have ever gone shopping with your grandma you might have heard of the brand. From what I can remember it was one of the better “granny” clothing brands. My extensive (yes I can say that because they were often) shopping trips with my grandma spanned L.S. Ayres (now owned by Macy’s), JCPenney’s, and occasionally Sears. The main department stores in my small town, with the additional at-home shopping of Appleseeds, and a few other catalogs she would purchase from (such a big deal to her) but most of the time sent things back.
Granny Smith had great taste in clothes (well at least for a someone in her 80’s/90’s). If she found something, purchased it, and wore it that was a huge win. It meant a successful shopping trip. She was picky (maybe I get my pickiness from her). She knew what brands were crap, and what looked good on her. She did not ever want to look frumpy. Even if she was going to the grocery, she would make sure she looked nice, and church meant dressing even nicer. I have to agree on the frumpiness, although I am as frumpy as I want at home!
I am not a fan of shopping and would rather a stork showed up at my door with clothes that were perfect for me in the right fabrics, colors, and sizes. Yet, growing up in a small town meant there was not that much to do. So many Sundays after church my grandma and I would go to the mall, get a nice meal (her terms) and walk around the mall. It was a way to spend time and connect with her. It was something she felt comfortable doing, and it sure beat watching golf (her Sunday afternoon activity). Additionally, it also just might have meant a new item for me (not always but sometimes). What was not to like about that?
Alfred Dunner, I have never met you, but you gave me a heart moment to remember Granny Smith.
Yesterday a friend/co-worker shared with me a sweet story about a 24-year old college student, Marissa Plank, who lives in a retirement community. In exchange for free rent she gives monthly performances to the residents. She is a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and if you read this article about her you will find that she states she benefits more from it than she feels she gives. What poise and self-knowledge she already has in her life.
It reminds me so much of my grandma and how often I would hear her mutter: “Maybe I will be next.” I know it is a morbid comment, but at 93 most of her family and friends were gone, only a son and grandkids left. She got bored. A bit of a loaner, she was not one to join in with other individuals her own age. She lived alone for almost 50 years and did not want to change the way she lived. I can only imagine how she spent her days. Of course she saw others, different individuals would come and check in on her, but the interaction, play, and conversation (let alone music!) that someone her age would have experienced in a retirement community could have been perfect. Except that she was a bit of a loaner.
Which leads me to think back to almost 14 years ago when a good family friend started an adult day care center in Indianapolis, IN. The concept of an adult day care center was new to me, but over time I have continued to learn more and more about it. I am in awe of what Joy’s House does, and hope that communities all over the country follow suit and take care of their adults (as they are not always elderly). Joy’s House is a place that families can bring their adult family members for care during the day whether it be due to age, a certain diagnosis, or because they need a break in caring for them. Especially when they live with them at home. What a way to share a varied environment of activities in similar ways to a child day care center. I only wish I would have ever been able to encourage my Granny Smith to join. I would have lost that battle.
My hope: more Marissa Plank’s have opportunities to bless and bring life to older adults, whether that be with programs that offer the right individuals room and board in exchange for interaction with or through more adult day care centers like Joy’s House.