Archive for June, 2012

HOW I KICKED THE HABIT
June 29, 2012

I’ve written about my happy childhood. Missed one dread childhood disease-religion-but caught another. My generation was brain-washed into believing it necessary to see the doctor if it skinned a knee. I almost worshipped doctors. I was devout.  Doctors  were good guys. Nice guys. They loved little kids.

Fast forward to some of the wonderful adventures Bill and I had living it up as ugly Americans. Then the return to suburbia USA.  We came back to Hawaii relatively affluent. Brought home some beautiful things we’d collected. Bill had a good job and then- disaster- I had three major surgeries and our oldest daughter was in the hospital for six months. We had no health insurance. We hadn’t needed it when we lived abroad and we were innocents. We came out of that thousands of dollars in debt. We paid off every penny. Bill worked three jobs. I got a job. The kids sold  newspapers on the corner. All of us came out healthy so that was a plus

The financial recovery was stressful and difficult. I came down with something-forgot what-and of course, ran to the doctor and sat, it seemed, for hours in the waiting room. Finally two enormous bean counters came out and embarrassed me in front of all the other patients, “You can see the doctor if you  pay for the visit.” I had no money. I went home figuring I’d better lean how to get well and stay well.

That’s when I first ‘met’ Adelle Davis. Let’s Get Well became my bible. Linus Pauling and his take on vitamin C became my creed.  I ignored the disclaimers about the pair.  Dug in. I must have read a zillion books about health and nutrition. Still have them. It’s a very complicated discipline, but I got lucky. I discovered what worked for me.

I learned that each of us has different needs. What keeps me healthy won’t be the same thing that keeps you healthy and our own needs change as the situation changes. There are times when your body needs more C. I take 10 grams a day, ala Linus. It’s water-soluble. Your body discards what it doesn’t need. I found  I probably needed more  B to stay prime and learned never to take one B. It’s a complex. Brewer’s Yeast  is a natural source of all the B’s. Once again, as it’s water -soluble, your body takes what it needs and discards the rest. Dumb doctors say, if they examine your urine, “You have very expensive urine.” Beats very expensive drugs and there are no side effects.

I created what I called magic juice and magic soup using Brewer’s Yeast. I’ll share them with you.

Orange juice, pineapple, a banana, honey, a big scoop of Brewer’s yeast, a dollop of olive oil, blend and drink.Make it  suit  your taste. Takes some getting used to.

I make a tomato base- I love tomato soup- veggie and chicken broth, spices, olive oil, sometimes I do an egg drop thing, and Brewer’s Yeast.

I respond to every symptom. Go on a health food kick. Figure if they last more than two weeks, I better see a doctor. Hasn’t happened in over thirty years and that’s how I kicked the habit.

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KAMADO KUB 82
June 21, 2012

Recalling the green peanut butter cookies is only the start.

In Manila we lived in the Carmelence Villa, 450 Lamayan, Sta. Ana, on the Pasig. Carmen Melencio,  General Aginaldo’s daughter, owned three homes stylish behind tall iron gates with a gateman. He lived there  24/7 in a guard-house. Her home, which we rented, her daughter’s home across our very own two lane drive with overhead lighting, and the Thai Ambassador’s residence at the end of the drive settled serenely into an exotic orchid strewn garden. It had a 24/7 yard boy who kept it groomed. I could use him here.

I have pictures of my staff at the front door. Most prominent was our cook, Josie-with a black eye-and three amahas, one holding one of our precious Siamese cats. I bring this up because, on our flight back to Hawaii, on one of Pan Am’s first jets, as we  sighted Oahu and prepared to land, Billy, our youngest son, began to cry.

“What is it?” I queried.

“.. who’s gonna be cooker?” He managed to blubber through his tears. Billy knew I couldn’t cook and he’d worried about this sad state off affairs all the way across the Pacific.

Actually it wasn’t quite that bad, I could make grilled cheese sandwiches, but very quickly I had to learn how to shop and how to cook what I bought, for four kids me and a hungry husband.  I never got good at it and I never enjoyed it, but we ate. I discovered I was pretty good at making chili. We ate a lot of chili. For breakfast lunch and dinner. Interspersed, on special occasions, with grilled cheese sandwiches.

What Bill said he loved best about my chlii was that it never tasted the same twice.  That’s because I never measured, I just tossed stuff-mostly kidney beans and tomatoes-in a pot and served it hot or cold in pretty white porcelain bowls I’d brought home. I graduated to broiled chicken, steak, lamb and baked potatoes. Plus a tossed salad. I even managed to invent an egg dish for breakfast which, I learned later, all the kids hated. I thought it was cute. It was grilled toast with a hole in the middle into which I broke an egg and fried.

When Bill was ill I prepared exotic health food and fed the left overs to me and the dogs and cats.

After Bill died,  it was microwave all the way. Twenty seven years. Garnished with a swig of wine or orange juice and cup of tea or coffee, the best I can say is: I got here.

Which gets us, quickly, to the wonderful 82 and all my new and wonderful friends. Kimo Rosen offered to do a Bar-b-que thing,  so I bought, from Frontgate, the KAMADO KUB  grill. Too darling. Small black clay cooking pot with a heavy easy lift lid and hard wood side flaps that go up and down. It goes well with my wrought iron and sits proudly regal smack in the middle of  a round white stone table with benches.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to fire it up and cook stuff on it. The instructions say it bakes, grills, and smokes. Holy moly.

THE CLEANING FRENZY
June 21, 2012

So where have I been for the past two weeks? On a cleaning frenzy.

I will admit that I am not a clean freak. I am not even a good housekeeper. And it shows. I’d rather be out in the barn with a pitchfork or out in the lush green jungle with all the living things. Nevertheless, one has to clean a house sometime or else one has to burn it down. This year I came very close to striking the match.

This goes along with my theory that we are nothing more than a product of our past. My mother wasn’t a good housekeeper and she never taught me any of the homely arts. That’s what I thought of then, anyway. Homely. Once as a little girl I tried to bake some peanut butter cookies but they turned green. Not a healthy green, either, I don’t  know why, and it put me off. For the rest of my life. I don’t like to cook,  but I’m working on that one. I mean I can’t learn to cook any younger now can I?

When I married for the first time, as a new bride I moved to Quito, Ecuador. My groom and I dwelt with grand aristocracy  in a great white mansion on Los Compos Eliseos. It had a very large three-story foyer with a circular staircase and a glass ceiling which leaked when the fabulous storms in the Andes roared and ranted. There were two major bedroom suites with glass panels that leaked, big time, in the bathroom ceiling. I don’t think it had a skylight in the kitchen, I was only in it once, in the middle of the night when I felt a snack coming on, but I couldn’t find the light switch so that temptation did not get delivered. I had to wait for the cook to get up the next morning so the upstairs maid could deliver me a heavenly scented brew in the Italian marble tub.

Life today, in the USA, is very different. I’ve never worked as hard, physically, as I do now and a cleaning frenzy around here is a major gymnastic feat. I’m up in the rafters. I’m under the sinks and counters. I’m in hidden hidy holes I forget even existed. I’ve already worn out three brooms. I dislike vacuum cleaners, I aways get tangled in the cords. Once I fell off a ladder clambering clumsy footed  down after scrubbing the skylight in the living room. It now looks its age but it doesn’t leak and an artist friend thought it a beautiful piece of green flecked marble.

I must also tell you this about my house, it was never finished, probably never will be, and it’s wide open to the elements and the animals and the greenery that slithers in on silent stalks and leaves that whisper nothings in my ear. Birds also flutter  in and out. Not always welcome, but the red cardinals flash gorgeous and the thrush tweet and twitter sweet.

Why the furor of the frenzy? Because I’m hosting a happy 82 in August. If I survive.