Just for a Moment

Just for a moment
I saw you in dreams
Alive and awake
Breathing and laughing

Regaling me with stories of your escapades
Of baseball
And spelunking
Getting covered in mud
On your dirt bike

That you had to sell
To accelerate
Toward a new life
Just for a moment

Just for a moment
I watched your videos in my dreams
Reel to reel projected
An epic featuring the two-man wheel
Giggling its way across the sand
The tale of countless hours spent with friends
Building a plywood jump
That launched only laughter
Collapse and more laughter

Just for a moment
I saw you in those goofy blue
Max Headroom glasses
Holding a mouse
The white rapper
Vested and invested
Charisma so powerful
Attracting moths to a flame
Just for a moment

Oh, that laugh
So expectant that somehow
You’d step from behind the veil
Cameras pointed
Audience aghast
It was only a dream

Just for a moment

Treasure in the Kitchen

 

Not long ago, I opened one of my mother’s often used Culinary Art Institute’s Encyclopedic Cookbook. In it are plenty of recipes that our family enjoyed over the years, some with hand-written modifications of measurements or ingredients that made a recipe either more palatable or economical to make. A handful of duds which failed to please anyone secured notes in the margins like “Yuk!” or “Too spicy.”

The cookbook includes a number of my favorites that I’ll have to hunt for when conjuring up ideas for meals that I’ve forgotten I liked.

The treasure exists in the meal planning section.

Weekly meal plans delineated by age group stun by today’s standards. Looking at them now brings me to hysterics.

I’m talking the sort of laughter that can be described as hearty guffaws, tears-streaming-down-the-face, side aching, belly laughing, gasping for air, wheezing and unable to breathe for fifteen minutes solid. I cannot imagine trying to tempt today’s preschool child with Thursday’s menu.

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So how did we collectively drift so far away from eating the variety of foods that help our bodies to be well-nourished? Why were we asleep at the wheel as food production morphed from fresh, locally sourced meats, legumes, and fruits into prepackaged, processed globs served up in rectangular containers?

Our quest for variety caused us to stretch globally, so much so that the local sources once well-known to us became replaced by barely identifiable, sugared, salted, genetically altered food, covered in corn syrup and poisoned with insecticides, or as Stick Chick once put it:

What the hell happened to my watermelon seeds?

Where are the vibrant red tomatoes in sizes varying from a child’s fist to a softball, dripping with juices and meaty, sweet and delicious even without refrigeration?  Why, in stores the size of football fields can one locate scant selections of high-priced organic, non-GMO foods where biodegradable package designs trump the standard?

The drift began sometime during the late 1960s and early 1970s. I think it coincided with the change and expansion of women’s roles; those who added “career in industry or business” to their list of accomplishments along with raising children, cooking, cleaning and coordinating all of the things that make a home function successfully. Some women felt their skills and intelligence were underutilized and held aspirations beyond the home. Most were disproportionately dependent on men for financial support.

I don’t see the changes as places upon which to assign blame; rather they resulted in unintended consequences and probably hastened innovation.

With television finding mainstream popularity, TV dinners allowed people to enjoy complete meals. Cooked and served in divided pewter trays, the dinners allowed a convenient way for people to take food directly from freezer to oven and to have a hot meal on the table in short order.

As it became more the norm for women to work outside the home, the food industry responded accordingly. Convenience compensated for lost meal preparation time. The introduction of the kitchen microwave dramatically reduced meal cooking time and “they” assured that microwave operation (with certain caveats) posed no danger to us.

Metals such as tin foil create a fire hazard (to wit, another story but I’ll not digress) and potential for electrical short, so the introduction of plastics provided an alternative. The average user  never questioned the use of plastic, or if they did, their inquiries were either dismissed or squelched in favor of convenience.

If the collective “we” had given it serious thought, we might have asked whether off gasses from heated plastics might create new  hazards in our homes each and every day. To shed a little light on any complex subject, I look to a simplistic description. I learned that a 1951 innovation, the creation of polypropylene and polyethylene AKA plastic, changed the world as I knew it.

According to www.reachoutmichigan.org, the route taken in the petroleum-to-plastics process goes like this:

Petroleum -> refined -> ethane and propane -> apply high temp -> ethylene and propylene -> combine with catalyst resulting in “fluff,” a powdered polymer -> additives -> extruded and melted -> cooled and made into pellets -> shipped to manufacturers -> produce plastic products using processes such as extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, etc.

There are so many variables within this process that it seems impossible and implausible to definitively declare all plastics “safe” for human use.

While I’ll shy from venturing wild guesses, it would not surprise me in the least if “we” found at least some causality in cases of autism, cancer or other physical ills. I’d be curious to know if anyone ever studied whether the increased incidences of any of these diseases in the general population coincide with microwave use specifically as it relates to plastics when compared with persons who have little or no access to them (assuming there were few enough variables to isolate them as potential causes.)

Anyway, if (and this is a BIG if) we gradually shifted to a diet of only homemade meals from menus like those included in the cookbook in order to achieve a conversion to a permanent diet of unprocessed, home-cooked meals instead of processed chicken nuggets, corn syrup laden breads, high sodium microwave meals, and iceberg lettuce salads, would we be better served?

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If you can successfully convince any 4-year-old that you know to have Tuesday’s Liver and Potato Pie, well, please accept my deepest of curtsies and hat’s off to you.

Refuse Mediocrity

Forcing thoughts from within
Childlike pout awaits clarity
Formless and helpless
Spirit filled
Eternal wisps tease synapses
Hints of mint-scented ions
Barely perceptible

Cultivated talent
Pushes to improve
Challenges stagnation
Refuses mediocrity
Opens minds to enlightened conversation
Insists on challenge
Insists on change
Insists on cooperation
and portent and rage and
Blind faith
Supports violent improvement
Lives purposefully

©50Figment ~ All Rights Reserved.

Photo Courtesy: Caters News Agency, Martin Rietze, photographer
Photo Courtesy: Caters News Agency, Martin Rietze, photographer

Wild World

I strolled through the market
Glancing at random for treasure

A summer breeze lilted
Coaxed Hollywood style
By a shoulder high
Wind maker

Lost in knick knacks
Hand-crocheted doilies
Paperback books
Brick-a-brack
Old postcards and Coca Cola memorabilia
That beckoned me
To buy

The shop keeper placed
Tea for the Tillerman
On the turntable
With a click and spin
Wild World
Drifted in waves over shelves full
Of antique toys
Old license plates
And furniture that once
Held someone else’s junk

dock kids

And it’s breakin’ my heart you’re leavin’
Baby, I’m grievin’

Turned corners and wound through
Dream catchers and feather boas
Reflected from framed
Prints depicting long forgotten
Scenes in black and white

It’s hard to get by just upon a smile

Melancholy overwhelmed me
I remembered a love letter
Corny and romantic all at once

Plagiarized words
Designed to steal my heart
But it was already stolen

But just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world

*Italicized lyrics ~ Cat Stevens
©50Figment 2016 ~ Kimberly Kratz