It's been a dispiriting week. Pretty much everyone in print, on the internets (including me) and on the teevee has had entirely too much to say about the Tucson massacre without arriving at a consensus or even anything constructive.
I think we could all use some calm and ordinariness. So today, I'm going to talk about what else is going on at Chez Bennett – the daily life of an old woman who, nearly six years ago, was forced into retirement against her will.
Since I had never much considered retiring, it was fortunate that this blog was already well under way by then so I wasn't suddenly thrown into inactivity without a plan. It is the centerpiece of my days, as work had been for the 50 previous years.
Apples are a big crop here in Oregon. Markets are filled with a wide variety of them and I've rediscovered apple crisp, something I don't suppose I've made in two or three decades. It's easy to do and it's an almost healthy treat. I'm baking a batch about once a week.
You probably know how to do this, but since last time I mentioned cooking someone ask for the recipe, here is this one. I'm guessing at amounts because – well, that's how I do it. It's hard to get it wrong.
5-6 apples, peeled and sliced
½ C brown sugar
½ C all-purpose flour
½ C uncooked oats
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg
5 T butter or margarine, room temperature
Mix together sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until all ingredients are moist. Slice apples into a 9-inch by 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle topping mixture over apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
Except for Tuesday afternoon when small pieces of actual ice were pouring down from the sky, I walk for 30 minutes or so most days. It's not nearly as interesting as walking the streets of Greenwich Village, but the scientific evidence is overwhelming that even such mild exercise as this, done regularly, helps keep elders healthy in mind and body. So I make myself do it even when I'd rather not.
Some of you have asked about Ollie the cat. Here's a photo:
Hah! Gotcha! You were expecting a kitty photo, weren't you? But that lump IS Ollie under the covers where he spends some afternoons - his life isn't any more interesting than mine. Here he is in one of his other sleeping places:
Did anyone else receive the new Mark Twain autobiography for Christmas? At nearly three inches thick, it's quite a doorstop and the print is so tiny, I need to buy some magnifying reading glasses before I tackle it.
Meanwhile, I'm having a fine old time reading Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, by Jane Brox. It's a survey of human lighting from the first stone lamps to the latest CFLs and upcoming LEDs.
I doubt that book is a best-seller, but it's a long-time interest of mine – the history of ordinary things. I have also enjoyed Salt: A World History and Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, all from Mark Kurlansky.
These are of a piece with one of my favorite documentaries, Concrete, which I discovered on television a few years ago when I couldn't sleep one night.
Did you know concrete was invented by the ancient Romans and that the formula for the modern version hardly differs from theirs? Also, the concrete in Hoover Dam is still curing.
Mostly, of course, I work on TGB. In times like this week, that can be difficult. Like so many others must be, I'm disturbed and distracted. Dinner with my brother a couple of nights ago was a nice way to take the edge off. We didn't mention Tucson once.
Good grief; your life couldn't possibly be as boring as mine. But I like it this way at this age. I used to jump on planes at a moment's notice, travel the world for my job, I worked on the earliest incarnations of the world wide web. I had a terrific career and now I am equally happy with this life.
Be sure to tune in here tomorrow for the next video conversation with The TGB Geriatrician, Bill Thomas, that we recorded on Tuesday.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joanne Zimmerman: Seeds<p>I am on an overnight trip to Astoria and although there is a list of posts I want to write, most require research or reporting. It's a question of time. <p>Writing yesterday's post, I reminded of this TGB golden oldie from 2007, slightly updated, that some of you may remember, but it could be fun to reprise.</p>
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Joanne Zimmerman: Seeds