Archive | October 2015

Am I grateful? You bet I am!

photo by Susan Kauffmann

photo by Susan Kauffmann

It’s Thanksgiving time in Canada, and it comes soon in the States. This has always been a favorite time of year for me and it has nothing to do with turkey. I have so much to be grateful for — beloved family and friends, the adventure of life and the privilege of living long enough to appreciate it.

When my children were young I liked giving them paper and pencil at our Thanksgiving dinners so they could write down and share what they were grateful for. Amongst my treasured papers, I still have some of those lists, one which son Rafi wrote when he was about seven.

Son Rafi, his beautiful Chandra and me. They keep teaching me....

Son Rafi and his beautiful Chandra. They keep teaching me….

As for children? Where to begin? I’ve learned more from my children than they could ever learn from me — and they continue to teach me. I appreciate their intelligence and insight and at times, their honesty. I’m grateful for their continued love and forgiveness for the times I goof, and goodness knows I do. Parenting is no easy task. I believe we all fail in one way or another during the process.

I am grateful for this blog and to daughter Susan, who realized before I did how much I’d enjoy it. I’d never have been able to get it going without her, and she continues as unpaid trouble shooter. I am also grateful to each of you who take the time to read it, and delight in the fact you live in 73 countries, many of which I’ve never visited. Kudos too to son Rafi, who takes time out of his own busy life to help mom when she creates difficulties in her tenuous relationship with this computer, which I’m convinced doesn’t like me. Then there are the lovely

Grandson Remy, who makes being a grandma a real pleasure

Grandson Remy, a real pleasure

people these two have married, and my dear grandson Remy, all of whom accept and love me no matter what. I love them all back.

Now the real miracle — those who just ‘choose’ to love me, and

Robert and Jenna's twins, Eliana and Noah, extra treats in my life

Robert and Jenna’s Eliana and Noah

whom I love as if they were my very own — Amy, Rebecca and Brian, plus Robert and Jenna. How to explain these things? How lucky can you be? It’s gratifying to be loved by your own children, but to be given so much warmth, love and caring from others is a blessing beyond understanding.

My daughter Susan, me and my special additiional 'daughter' Amy

Daughter Susan, me, and my other special ‘daughter’ Amy

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I am grateful to have spent my life in countries in which I have never had to live with war first hand. That’s a real biggie. I was a little girl during WWII and had I lived in Europe, probably would never have survived under Nazism. Not many humans have been so fortunate.

As a woman, I feel lucky NOT to have been born in a country where women have no freedom. Things may not have been fair for females during my working days, nor are they yet, still I know things could be much worse.

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Susan's gift that keeps ongiving, my own little lilac tree

Susan’s gift that keeps on giving, my own little lilac tree

No one could have derived more pleasure from home ownership than I did. I would do a little walkabout in our garden each morning before leaving for work, marveling at each new leaf or promise of another blossom. Today, I live in an apartment I like, in a neighborhood and city I love. And on my balcony, I have a little lilac tree of my own which daughter Susan gave me years ago. It keeps blooming each year.

I am grateful for those in my book club and especially books, and still being able to read them. (Thank you Brian!) I am grateful for friendships and interesting conversations over coffee. I am grateful for those doctors who truly seem to care about me, and for kind strangers. I am grateful I can still take baths, which I love. I keep thinking of other things to list here, but I’d better stop. I can go on forever. Better just to say I am indeed grateful.

Advertisements

Whatever happened to my cast iron stomach?

photo by Susan Kauffmann

photo by Susan Kauffmann

I like lobster, but don’t have the courage to kill them, so I only eat it out.

I like lobster, but don't have the courage to kill one

I like lobster, but don’t have the courage to kill one

Years ago, after reacting badly to lobster dinners three times in a row, a friend suggested an allergy. I said I had a cast iron stomach, but finally accepted her idea. I’ve since learned it wasn’t the lobster. Now that I know more about our food supply and the many chemicals added to what we eat, it isn’t surprising that more of us are becoming ill as a result – including me.

Later, I began experiencing sensitivity to fish too — usually after eating it out. I decided my allergy had expanded to anything that lived in water. I consumed no fish or seafood for 15 years, but still often became ill after eating. Things were getting out of control — and scary. I asked to see an allergist.

Tests showed I’m not allergic to fish or shellfish at all, but to sulphites, the preservative seafood is often bathed in when frozen or shipped. It also keeps potatoes white, maintains the color and texture of frozen foods, and is used so often today, it would be impossible to give you a list of foods to avoid. (The allergist warned it was a ‘minefield’ out there.)

It isn’t easy to eat out and have a sulphite-free meal. I ask bewildered servers about preservatives and they look at me with blank expressions. They work in an industry where foods are laden with chemicals and have no training or understanding of what I’m talking about. As for fast food outlets, forget it.

As for fast foods, forget it.

As for fast foods, forget it.

It is almost impossible to find unadulterated foods in our grocery stores either. I read labels when provided, however often the listing of ingredients is not required and there’s no way to know what’s in foods we buy. One chemical or pesticide by itself may be safe enough, but a cocktail of more than one can be deadly.

You can tell when chickens are dizzy, they only have two legs like we do

You can tell when chickens are dizzy, they only have two legs like we do

Hens react to chemicals much as we do. Studies have shown when hens were fed two chemicals in their food, they lost weight, developed diarrhea, shortness of breath, weakness, stumbling and tremors. Exposure to combinations of three caused even more illness, paralysis and death. Tests showed nervous system damage in those birds. (Discover Magazine, August, 1997 — and we’ve done nothing to stop it yet.)

I am concerned by the long list of additives and chemicals I see listed on the food labels I read so carefully — and they don’t even tell us which pesticides were sprayed on the wheat used to make the flour or to keep down bug infestations while the flour is being stored, nor what bakeries are using in their environment. If we add all the pesticides, additives and preservatives we consume in foods we place on our plates, we come up with a potentially harmful or even deadly combination we were never meant to ingest.

These are added to make a longer shelf life possible. Manufacturers and food processors make more money — and we get sick. Is it any wonder we have an epidemic of children suffering with Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asthma and Allergies? That so many people are now suffering with Vestibular Disorders? And I, of the ‘cast-iron stomach’, now struggle with allergies?

I remember when bread got moldy if it wasn’t consumed quickly. Cookies got stale, didn’t taste right

The cookies my generation gave our babies now contains preservatives

The cookies my generation gave our babies now contain preservatives

and had to be tossed. The same cookies my generation fed our babies now have preservatives in them. (I checked.) They can stay ‘fresh’ forever. Read the labels……

Do we value money more than our own children?

**Check labels for sulphites as: sodium metabisulphite, potassium metabisulphite, sodium bisulphite, potassium bisulphite, sodium sulphite, sodium dithionite, sulphurous acid, and Sulphur dioxide – and this is only part of the story……

My grandson Remy when he was little. More treasured than any amount of money

My grandson Remy when he was little. More treasured than any amount of money