Saturday, December 17, 2016
My pleasures have changed as I've gotten older. And older. We'll not discuss anything that might make you blush (Oh damn! you're thinking). But when I was a boy, my pleasures were mostly physical ones--riding a bike, playing baseball, running around with our dog, Sooner, and inventing adventures for us. Yes, there were some more sedentary ones--reading the funny pages in the newspaper and, a bit later, the sports pages.
I liked Cheerios, Coca-Cola, Snickers, Popsicles (orange was--and is--my favorite), hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream (vanilla), cake (yellow with chocolate frosting), oyster crackers (a fondness that became deadly as the decades rolled on), mashed potatoes, cherry pie (especially the ones my mom made), applesauce (especially my mom's), oatmeal (on cold days), brown sugar, OJ, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, my mom's cherry cake, and on and on.
Later, I added basketball (my career ended, quickly, in college). Tennis. I played on our Hiram College team for four years and was fortunate our team was pretty (very?) bad, allowing me plenty of opportunities to play. And lose. I would continue playing at a local racquet club, early in the morning, but by the time I was in my forties, my knees and elbows and ankles were issuing dire (Dyer) warnings about continuing.
In 1978 I began jogging and was soon doing 4-6 miles/day, a habit I continued up into the late 1990s, at which time the Dyer Warnings (which I'd tried to ignore) bore some dark fruit in my bones and relevant tissue, and I can run no more.
(Add to this the delights of vertigo, a recent foul companion, and running becomes even more impossible, as if something could be more than impossible?!?)
In the 1990s I began riding an exercise bike (an Airdyne), an activity that is boring but burning (of calories). But soon my jogging- and hiking-weakened left knee said No more! So I've found another bicycle-like machine I "ride" now, one that does not put so much stress on that left knee. And I walk fairly brisk laps around an indoor track.
By the time I was in college, I'd become a Big Reader, a habit that has rather accelerated than diminished over the years. I'm one of those people who read multiple books simultaneously. I often have up to ten books I'm reading at any one time--not counting the one I'm reviewing that week for Kirkus Reviews (I've done nearly 1400 for them since 1999, when I began the gig).
I read several newspapers (hard copies) every day--the Plain Dealer, the New York Times, the Akron Beacon-Journal.
My eating habits have changed--dramatically since youthful days when my metabolism resembled that of a volcano. (Now it's more like a cold, very dead stone--which gets me thinking of Cold Stone Creamery, two blocks from our house, a place I go only to be, you know, cordial and sociable to visitors and family.)
Breakfast: a homemade scone (zero cholesterol); my favorites--maple-pecan, cherry-walnut, apricot-walnut); we've had a handyman working here a couple of days the past two weeks, and he's taken to calling this the Scone Place (I was baking one day when he was here), and in addition to his salary he includes a warm scone, rapidly consumed.
Lunch: a piece of homemade sourdough bread, toasted, with local jam; a cup of vanilla non-fat yogurt with some fruit (usually blueberries & strawberries); 8 oz of pomegranate juice (good for guys with prostate issues)
Supper: 1 apple; 1 banana; chicken or fish; rice, couscous, or baked potato--no toppings; veggie (I love peas, corn, carrots); a piece of warm homemade sourdough bread, sans toppings.
No desserts, though Joyce has recently introduced me to the pleasures of diet Popsicles. I'll have a couple in the evening. Otherwise, no seconds or snacks. Not that I don't want them, mind you, but I'm on a long-term med (Lupron), among whose most delightful side-effects is its insistence on my gaining weight if I so much as sniff a donut or think about a Snickers. So far I've been on it a few years, and I've managed to keep my weight from ballooning. (Add to that the Fat Gene that flourishes on the Dyer Chromosomes, and I have a life-long battle on my hands!) Another treat courtesy of Lupron: I have far less energy that before, so riding the exercise bike, walking laps, etc. becomes ever more odious, even depressing.
Well, this is a long way 'round Robin Hood's barn to get to the main point, which, obviously, I'm going to have to explore in a subsequent post (this one is already way too long)--viz., that among my later-life pleasures has been baking ...
To be continued ...