Mrs. Lauderback 2
“Mrs. Lauderback at the Opera” Terra Cotta sculpture by KSR

It’s a fact that we grow older every day. I have had a great ambition not to be a cranky old battle-axe, but then I never wanted to be boring either. I’m trying to make a bigtime play at being old and interesting. If you’re going to be halfway interesting you can’t go around moaning abut your aches and pains. Do you think that’s easy?

You might tell yourself defensively that you aren’t boring you’re just focused. Pain can do that to you. When you develop a body part which doesn’t seem to work properly, it becomes the most interesting and important thing in the universe. Sort of like potty training when your kids were babies and it’s all you could talk about. I do understand that, we all did it.

Pain is different though. You begin listening to people discussing their aches and pains, and you think “Gosh, I have that too. What’s the big deal?” Do they think everyone wants to listen to that? On the other hand shared pain is a conversation starter. You meet all kinds of interesting people and begin to acquire illnesses you never heard of.

But there’s no denying that the discussion of pain is a real downer, and it’s contagious. You begin by feeling sorry for the other person, and end up feeling sorry for yourself. It leads to making excuses for poor performance.

On the other hand, it does absolutely no good for someone who feels like they’re ready to run a marathon to try to pep up the situation. In fact, it may lead to the end of a perfect friendship. Sometimes it feels good to just wallow in your own miserablness, but be forewarned—don’t do it.

Years ago my daughter was caught in a storm which ripped out the road in front of her mountain home. To get out, she had to scramble down a ravine with her two small boys before she could get to relative safety at our home. I was in bed with flu at the time, feeling like death warmed over, but my ever-cheerful husband took me in hand and told me not to make them feel any worse than they do. “No one wants to see your pitiful face.” And you know, he was right. They appeared at our door muddy and disheveled and hungry, and in trying to remedy their situation, I found that I forgot about the flu bug.

On another occasion when I was down with another flu bug, a second daughter in her “previous” life announced that she wanted to get married in a month.

At home.

That may be the fastest I ever jumped out of bed in my life. But again, thinking of someone else instead of yourself was the cure. There’s only so much room in your brain, and it’s truly uncreative to fill it with yourself.

Every month or so I have lunch with a group of my high school friends, all of whom claim to be 86 years old. There are a few canes in evidence, but they all live alone and drive to where we have decided to eat. I am the youngest by a year, and I am the only one fortunate to still have a husband. These are vibrant, interesting women with varied interests. We have made it a rule to begin each meeting by asking if there are any new health problems they need to discuss. If not, the rule is to forget them all for the duration of the lunch. It’s a good rule because everyone has something.


Dr. Advice and I have spent the past four days in bed. Oh, not having a jolly good time, as you may think, but being host to an unwelcome and unappreciative guest of the dreaded Flu Bug. However today
I dragged myself to my computer and found from Cheri’s blog that she is tooling along the lonely highway 50 eating chocolate chip cookies and taking beautiful pictures. Two other blogers are raving about their chocolate chip cookies, and the local newspaper ran half a page on recipes for them.
What on earth is wrong with the humble oatmeal cookie? I made dozens of cookies of all kinds for lunchboxes when my children were growing up, and dozens of them were oatmeal cookies. I think even Cheri may have eaten some. They were called Cape Cod Oatmeal cookies from the Betty Crocker cookbook someone gave me for a wedding present. I forget who.
And then some years ago my daughter came up with another recipe which is not only better than mine, but to add insult to injury it is called “Better Than Mom’s Oatmeal Cookies”.
Well, after sleeping and not eating for a few days, the thought of cookies was too much for my weak will and I absolutely had to have a cookie. Therefore:

Preheat oven to 350 and put either parchment or a Silpat on cookie sheet
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Cream well in electric mixer, then add
2 large eggs , 2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix thoroughly and then in separate bowl mix
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda (yes, 1/8 tsp.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
With mixer running gradually add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
Fold in 3 cups oatmeal, uncooked,
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans,
1 cup yellow raisins or dried cranberries chopped
Drop by tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheet, flatening each mound slightly.
Bake 8-10 min. for a soft cookie, 12 min. for a crunchy one.
And I have to say I added a handful of chocolate chips to the batter as well, so there!

Then with a handful of warm cokies and a cold glass of milk, I returned to my book and my bed. Sad to say that Dr. Advice never even missed me.