Thursday, October 20, 2011

A House Without Bananas?

A house without bananas sounds to me like a day without oxygen. Every morning after my exercises, I need some additional energy and it is the perfect food with no prepration required. I keep a fruit bowl filled with bananas and fruits from mangos to kiwi fruits and everything in between. My grandchildren know where to find the banana bowl for afternoon snacks when they visit.

As a preschool youngster, my family journeyed to the wake for a great aunt. There was a lot of food available, but my dad was aware of picky preschool food preferences and had brought along a large bunch of bananas. My brother and I ate those exclusively. Bananas are among the first solids for babies for very good reason. They are tasty and filling, nutritious and easy to digest. As I grew older, we made banana sandwiches with mayo on bread slices. We baked banana bread, banana puddings, banana muffins and we made banana shakes and ice cream banana splits. They are great for smoothies with strawberries and ice cream or yogurt. 


Curiosity led me to explore the history of my favorite fruit and I was surprised to learn that bananas have been available in the U.S. for less than 150 years. Due to the fragility of the fruit and the distance of the countries that commonly grow bananas, it was not transported to the U.S. It was introduced in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and sold for ten cents each. I'm glad they are readily available now. Today, our bananas are grown in tropical regions in the Central and South American countries.

I can't think of a more perfect food for any occasion--camping, auto travel, a day without electricity. It's like peanut butter as an all-purpose food. It is at the top of my shopping list of staples I buy at the food store. I've probably eaten a pathway through several "banana republics."  If we are what we eat, I must be at least one sixth banana and nutty as a fruitcake.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

September "Walkabout"

I take liberal literary license with that term "walkabout" because it is how I think of my life in September, post retirement. To me, it represents an escape from routine.


Retirement to me represents a special frame of mind that encourages impulses and flights of freedom, mentally and physically. It is like Christmas every day and dessert for every meal. When September comes each year, I give in to the impulse to celebrate my freedom because I retired from education. There were many days and ways to enjoy the profession and not a few frustrations. But I perservered for 32 years, getting up at 4:50 daily to make sure I was in the building before most teachers and students. The long hours and attention to the routine of the days, months, and years lead teachers to notice greatly when it no longer exists.  

So when September rolls around, I celebrate that I can go to a museum, a beach, or travel, or read all day and drink coffee until my feet bounce on my way to the bathroom attached to my office. Teachers know what I mean when I celebrate the freedom to race to the bathroom whenever I want and as often as I want during the day. It has been said on more than one occasion that teachers have the strongest bladders due to our need to limit bathroom breaks to one or two daily.


I celebrate that I can put off the laundry for another day and change my routine to accommodate a surprise trip out to lunch with friends or a quick trip to the casino. If there is rain, I declare a rain day, put up my feet and dive into the pile of library books that wait on my coffee table.

My main rule for September Walkabout is no rules. I do anything I want and nothing that I "should" do.

All photos were taken at the Delaware Art Museum.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

We went to our granddaughter's school for Grandparents' Day and they sang "You Are My Sunshine" to us. Twenty-two six-year-old voices are really adorable. They had practiced all day and had all of the words firmly in mind. I wanted to adopt the children who were in tears because their grandparents couldn't attend. The teacher was very sensitive and put  them in charge of the refreshments so they could feel important too.


The teacher had an art project for the students to produce and to present to the grandparents. It holds a place of honor on my refrigerator door with her other art projects. I always marvel at how much we worried about her and how far she has come in six years. She was a breech birth, emergency C-Section, near preemie. A few developmental problems seemed present for a few early years, but she seems to be doing very well now. She chats nonstop and uses some advanced words correctly which thrills me.


While we played on my computer last weekend, she asked me what I did with my time while she wasn't visiting. I told her that I love to read. I pointed to all the stacks of books in my office and said I loved reading all of them. I told her that I go to the public library as she does to check out more books every week. Later in the day, she showed me that she was reading a book on her mother's Nook. The new e-readers are a great developmental tool for children who are learning to read. I was amused to read the directions on the first grade wall directing new readers on how to learn to read.


I had not thought about the little song that the students sang to us in a very long time. It has greater importance to me today because my grandchildren are really my sunshine. However, even little rays of sunshine need a behavior chart in their classroom!