It’s “D”-Day! Do rather than Don’t (parenthetically speaking)

D-Day is a military term indicating the day on which “a combat attack or operation is to be initiated“.  

I’m trying to decide if I should ATTACK the clutter in the garage or OPERATE on getting a better attitude about planning on cleaning the garage.

The latter seems like the better plan so I found a “Survival Kit”* to COMBAT (ahem) low motivation and procrastination (among other things) that bedevil me. I picked out the ones that will motivate me (and made sure there was “D” in them because today is “D“- Day!!!).

Words to ponder . . .

Words to ponder . . .

  1. Do rather than don’t.  (So far so good)
  2. Do give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve. (I fail to see any good coming out of fighting)
  3. When you’re in trouble, study the lives of those who’ve done great things. (Those people can afford to hire others to clean out their garages)
  4. “Poor me” is no help at all. (No “d“s but I probably need to hear this)
  5. Never say “I can’t.” It closes the door to potential development. (I CAN but I DON’T WANT to clean out the garage.  Does that mean I have potential?)
  6. There is art in any endeavor done well. (Art! I should draw pictures in honor of D-day – clean is a “C” word)
  7. Don’t hoard your knowledge, share it. (I’m not hoarding I’m preserving.  Maybe this means I should hold a garage sale . . .?)
  8. Try things against your grain to find out just what your grain really is. (Gluten free or whole wheat version of encouragement)
  9. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are idle. It comes when you have steeped yourself in work. (IF I get an inspiration while cleaning the garage it will be to stop cleaning and draw art)
  10. If what you have to say is from your deepest feelings, you’ll find an audience that responds. (I’ll post my address so you can come and declutter my garage)
  11. Aim high, beyond your capacity. (I’ll post my address so you can come and declutter my garage)

______________________________

*Irwin Greenberg was a painter and teacher.  He circulated a “Survival Kit” – 100 pieces of advice –  to his students at the High School of Art & Design and the Art Students League of New York. 

Here’s the link to all 100, some of them without a “D”.

 

 

 

Healthy OREO LASAGNA (parenthetically speaking)

There are so many recipes for Oreo Lasagna on the internet I taste-tested them all to make sure you, my loyal subscribers, had the healthiest.  Note: If you are allergic to chocolate substitute ingredients that aren’t chocolate.

Healthy OREO LASAGNA

Ingredients
2 packages Oreo cookies (One package to eat – for energy – while you are making the lasagna and the other for the recipe)
4 tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened (This is good as not only is it reduced fat but it’s softened so it won’t be hard in your arteries)
1/4 cup sugar (An excellent source of energy)
2 tbsp. skim milk (This is good as it’s a major food group)
12 oz fat-free cool whip (This is good as it is low-fat like the cream cheese.) 
6 Snack Pack Fat Free Chocolate Pudding cups  (This is good as there are preservatives in the pudding cups which will help the Oreo Lasagna from going bad before it hits your stomach

2 bags of mini chocolate chips (One bag to eat while you’re waiting for the lasagna to set in the refrigerator)

chocolate-lasagna-4

Instructions

1.  Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray (Do NOT use butter and add fat to the recipe)
2.  In a zip closed bag, crush the Oreo Cookies (Taste the crushed topping as you go to determine the proper consistency.  Do NOT use a food processor to crush the Oreo’s so you benefit from the exercise of pounding the cookies into submission)
3.  Set aside 1 cup of crushed Oreos for topping
4.  Combine remaining crushed Oreo’s with melted butter
5.  Press Oreo-butter mixture into the bottom of the dish
6.  In a small bowl whip the softened cream cheese using a handheld mixer until light and fluffy (Make sure it’s fluffy as air is a life force)
7.  Mix in sugar, milk and 1 1/4 cups of cool whip
8.  Spread cream cheese layer over the Oreo crust
9.  Layer chocolate pudding in an even layer over the cream cheese (or just mush it all together since it will eventually end up that way)
10.  Spoon remaining cool whip over pudding and gently smooth (It’s important that you are gentle so as not to agitate any existing fat molecules)
11.  Sprinkle on mini chocolate chips
12.  Refrigerate to chill for 4 hours (Eat the remaining chocolate chips while Lasagna is chilling)


Each serving is 8 WW+ points (I’m not sure if this is short-hand for Weight Watchers or 8 out of 10 points on the Wowza Wowza scale)

Nutritional Info
Calories 309 Calories from Fat 127 Total Fat 14.1g Saturated Fat 7.0g Cholesterol 20 mg Sodium 265 mg Potassium 46 mg Carbohydrates 42.9g Dietary Fiber 1.0g Sugars 28.4 g Protein 3.5 g (Obviously a good source of protein – almost 4 grams)
Vitamin A 6% – Vitamin C 0% – Calcium 7% – Iron 6%  (This is good as it’s better to get your vitamins through food than pills)

Nutrition Grade – D (“D” as in DEEEEEElicious . . . of course)

 

 

Retirement history II – put me out to pasture and plow me under (parenthetically speaking)

Good news! I was neither eaten nor chloroformed to live another day and tell about Part II of the:

The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.

By MARY-LOU WEISMAN for the New York Times

PASTURE-IZING THE ELDERLY

“It was the world-renowned physician William Osler who laid the scientific foundations that, when combined with a compelling economic rationale, would eventually make retirement acceptable. In his 1905 valedictory address at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he had been physician-in-chief, Osler said it was a matter of fact that the years between 25 and 40 in a worker’s career are the ”15 golden years of plenty.” He called that span ”the anabolic or constructive period.” Workers between ages 40 and 60 were merely uncreative and therefore tolerable. He hated to say it, because he was getting on, but after age 60 the average worker was ”useless” and should be put out to pasture.” (I’m 70, that means put out to pasture . . .  and . . .  plowed under . . .  for the next crop)

THE BIG PAYOFF

By 1935, it became evident that the only way to get old people to stop working for pay was to pay them enough to stop working.  A Californian, (Of course California . . . where else . . . ) Francis Townsend, initiated a popular movement by proposing mandatory retirement at age 60. In exchange, the Government would pay pensions of up to $200 a month, an amount equivalent at the time to a full salary for a middle-income worker. Horrified at the prospect of Townsend’s radical generosity, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed the Social Security Act of 1935, which made workers pay (and pay and pay and pay) for their own old-age insurance.

LEISURE WEARING

“What used to mean going to bed suddenly meant banishment to an empty stage of life called ”retirement.” If people were not going to work, what were they going to do? Sit in a rocking chair? Eleanor Roosevelt thought so. ”Old people love their own things even more than young people do. It means so much to sit in the same chair you sat in for a great many years,”  she said in 1934. But she was wrong. (Yes, she was wrong. I sit because it’s too hard to get up) Most retired people wished they could work. (That’s because we are scared of being eaten or plowed under) The problem was still acute in 1951, when the Corning company convened a round table to figure out how to make retirement more popular. At that conference, Santha Rama Rau, an author and student of Eastern and Western cultures, complained that Americans did not have the capacity to enjoy doing nothing.” (the verdict is still out, I’ll let you know)

SENIORS ARE BORN

“The publication in 1955 of Senior Citizen magazine was the first widespread use of the euphemism (If Senior Citizen is an euphemism – “OLD-WOMAN” is a swear word) that, while intending to reconfer respect, instead made a senior citizen sound like an over-decorated captain in ”The Pirates of Penzance.” Its merely partial success may also be linked to the fact that there is something inherently suspicious about an age group that has to offer its potential members discounts to induce them to join.”

THE R WORD

In 1999, The American Association of Retired Persons, once the Welcome Wagon of retirement, dropped the word ”retired” from its name and became The American Association of R****** Persons. This change was effected in recognition of a basic reality — many of its members are not retired — and in anticipation of the baby boomers’ threat never to stop wearing Lycra, turn gray, stop carrying around bottled water or retire. (I have the Lycra, grey hair and bottled water  . . .  now to find me a job)

Part I of Retirement History

"I can't believe what she's saying"

“LYCRA!  I do not want to look”

My Retirement – be eaten or worshipped. Do I have a choice? (parenthetically speaking)

(Since this is the first time I’ve ever retired it’s important to understand what lies ahead . . . and behind.   I hope history doesn’t keep repeating itself even when I do.)

The History of Retirement, From Early Man to A.A.R.P.

By MARY-LOU WEISMAN for the New York Times
 IN THE BEGINNING

“In the beginning, there was no retirement. There were no old people. (Very true – in the beginning I was much younger) In the Stone Age, everyone was fully employed until age 20, by which time nearly everyone was dead, usually of unnatural causes. Any early man who lived long enough to develop crow’s-feet was either worshiped or eaten as a sign of respect.” (I’ll take the worship and pass on being respected)

“Even in Biblical times, when a fair number of people made it into old age, retirement still had not been invented and respect for old people remained high.  In those days, it was customary to carry on until you dropped, regardless of your age group — no shuffleboard, no Airstream trailer. When a patriarch could no longer farm, herd cattle or pitch a tent, he opted for more specialized, less labor-intensive work, like prophesying and handing down commandments Or he moved in with his kids.” (I have no kids to hand down my commandments to so I’ll concentration on prophesying)

ELDER HOSTILE

“As the centuries passed, the elderly population increased. (Very true – as time has passed I’ve increasingly gotten more elderly) By early medieval times, their numbers had reached critical mass.  It was no longer just a matter of respecting the occasional white-bearded patriarch. Old people were everywhere, giving advice, repeating themselves (I’ve always repeated myself, my occupation has been giving advice that is worth repeating), complaining about rheumatism, trying to help, getting in the way and making younger people feel guilty.”

Hanging on

Hanging on

“Plus they tended to hang on to their wealth (I hang on to the fantasy of being wealthy) and property.  This made them very unpopular with their middle-aged sons, who were driven to earn their inheritances the old-fashioned way, by committing patricide. (. . . a few benefits to having no wealth) Even as late as the mid-18th century, there was a spate of such killings in France. In 1882, Anthony Trollope wrote a futuristic novel, ”The Fixed Period,” in which he foresaw retiring large numbers of old men to a place where they would be encouraged to enjoy a year of contemplation, followed by a peaceful chloroforming. (ANYTHING peaceful at my age is appealing) But this was hardly an acceptable long-term strategy.”

 . . . to be continued . . . if I live long enough . . .

Part II of Retirement History

Death by SUGAR! (parenthetically speaking)

“What happens if you need to catch your own dinner, but you’re just not fast enough? (send out for pizza delivery . . . ) If you’re a slow-moving cone snail with a yen for sushi, you drug a bunch of fish.”

“The tropical sluggard kills by overdosing fish with a toxic cloud containing insulin, (the last toxic cloud of insulin I overdosed on was  Ben & Jerry’s Totally Toxic Delight – a blend of the finest refined sugar and high fat cream) . . .  Plummeting blood sugar levels throw the victims into a stupor.” (I know that feeling)

Cone Snail

Cone Snail (resembles Carmel Delight) Photo by Design Pics Inc.

“Cone snails are notorious for stinging scuba divers tempted to pick up their beautiful shells. But the geographic cone snail —the most venomous cone snail of all, with several human deaths under its belt (which is a variation of Ben & Jerry’s taking credit for expanding belts)—takes its practice of poisoning to a whole new level.”

Once the fish are in a sugar coma, the cone snail reaches out with what’s called a false mouth—it looks like it’s throwing a cape over its prey—and drags a stupefied animal into its mouth. The snail then stings the fish with another set of toxins, just to make sure its victim is completely paralyzed.”

Want to watch?  Click her for a sped-up video: Toxic Snail Puts Fish in a Sugar Coma, Then Eats Them.

(I do not currently have a sped-up video of me eating Ben & Jerry’s)

“Other compounds in cone snail venom produce similar results, says Helen Safavi-Hemami, who studies the toxins at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Victims become dazed and confused, leading researchers to call this group of toxins, including the insulin, the nirvana cabal.” (Ahhhhh, sugar NIRVANA, I know it well)

“But no other animal that researchers know of—except perhaps people (Jane J. Lee’s words, not mine)—uses insulin to kill like this, lead study author Safavi-Hemami says. A sensational case in the early 1980s involved a husband accused of trying to kill his very rich wife using insulin injections.” (It would have been less suspicious if he had taken her to an all-you-can-eat ice cream parlor)

“How brilliant is this,” says Meyer, who has observed a close cousin of the geographic cone snail—named Conus tulipa—hunting and killing fish in the same way in Guam. The fish almost look like they’re passed out drunk, he says, and now we know why.” Article by Jane J. LeeNational Geographic 

Me, slipping into a coma of  toxic delight

Me, looking like a fish almost passed out drunk.

 

Criticism is good when it’s feedback (parenthetically speaking)

This comes under the heading of “If I knew then what I know now”.  

After years of hearing from Daru Maer, my friend and colleague, about how wonderful, creative and incredibly accomplished her daughter Jenn Maer was I finally got to verify that myself when I met Jenn last year.

I’m sharing Jenn’s article that appeared in the San Francisco Egotist because it is timely.  During the holidays we are particularly sensitive to other’s expectations, needs, wants and their “feedback”.  Jenn’s realization that feedback, most of the time, is given for precisely the reasons she identifies is spot-on.  I wish I knew that when I was Jenn’s age.

(Sorry Jenn, I couldn’t resist the parenthetical feedback) 

_________________

What I Learned in 2014: Jenn Maer, Design Director, IDEO

“This was the year I finally learned to take feedback.”

“Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been “addressing” feedback for my entire career. Early on, I mastered the art of smiling whenever somebody eviscerated my work—nodding thoughtfully while saying, “Hmm. Interesting. Let me have a think on that.” But until recently, I never truly meant it. Feedback was something to be dodged, outsmarted, and begrudgingly incorporated when pressed to do so.”

“I realize this makes me sound like a world-class a_ _ _ _ _ _ (Feedback: Sorry for the edit, Jen, but this is a PG 13 rated blog and your description is not appropriate for those of us emotionally under the age of consent). But I don’t think that’s the case: I love (and insist on) working collaboratively, I always look for opportunities to help other people shine, and I’m pretty easy-going all around. I think I just hated the feeling that I hadn’t done something perfectly right off the bat.”

“Then, after having a really enlightening conversation with a mentor of mine, something shifted in me. I would get a piece of feedback and listen to it. I mean, really listen to it. Like the kind of listening a therapist does, when you say, “I hate the color blue” and they hear you say, “I’ve got deep-seeded issues with my mother.” (Feedback:  Sorry Jen, your mother IS a therapist – how could you NOT have deep-seeded issues with her?)  (Sorry Daru, but since you are a therapist you know that all things lead back to the mother . . .)

“I stopped being so quietly, inwardly defensive, and realized that each piece of feedback is delivered in service of making things better. Now, with every comment or red-Sharpied suggestion, I ask myself, what’s behind the issue that’s being raised? How can I use this as a chance to make my work clearer, tighter, smarter, funnier…whatever it needs to be?”

“I’m not saying I’ve got this new skill down pat. There are certainly still moments when people make inane, counter-productive comments that make me want to bash their heads in with the Polycom. (Sorry Jen, but I don’t know what a Polycom is so if you want to bash in my head I hope it’s soft . . . ). But you know what? I’m learning to hear what’s beneath those comments, too. It’s usually something like, “I need to feel important here.” (Sorry Jenn, I am important here – it’s MY blog) Or, “I don’t know what’s happening and I’m freaked out about it.” And with a little bit of empathy, I can help them through those issues, as well.”  (Sorry Jen, if you don’t want to help me with my issue of compulsively commenting, maybe your Mom can?)

(ALL things are ultimately the mother’s fault –  You are one smart, insightful daughter)

Read more at San Francisco Egoist