Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

A Stitch in Time

Sue Donovan

I love hand sewing. Quilting, embroidery, cross stitch or simply mending are peaceful activities that relax the body and quiet the mind. Call it my time as a creative couch potato. Never at a loss for projects, my grandkids keep a constant stash of holey sweatpants and stuffed animals, convinced my needle and thread can bring anything back to life—if not to its prior glory, at least to a usable state. Favorite basketball socks with no toes, fancy tights with no knees, stuffed critters missing ears or tails, all rescued from the rag bag.

Not all mending projects are so easy. Such as “mending your ways.” It takes a lot of honesty to actually SEE the error of your ways, and a huge dollop of courage to mend them. When in doubt, there are usually lots of folks eager to give you a hand identifying your faults and suggesting ways to eliminate them. It’s advisable to choose one error at a time for mending. The one that irritates the most people is a good candidate. You’ll know you have made a successful repair when those same irritated people seem happier in your company.

If your ways have been fraying for a considerable time, or you lack evidence of a successful repair, it may be time to “mend your fences.” Depending on the severity of your offensive behavior and the sensitivity of the offended party, the mere but sincere promise of mending your ways may only provide a superficial patch on a torn relationship, not a lasting renewal. Mending fences requires reparation, reconciliation, mutual understanding and forgiveness. It is a two-person job. Fences must be mended on both sides to hold sturdy. Hard work, but far better than throwing old friends in the rag bag.

Daydreaming in the Heat

Barbara Schwartz

With the outside temperatures soaring above 110 degrees, I find myself, once again, quarantined, isolated, and locked into my house. The air conditioning is working overtime as are the ceiling fans. The combination of COVID and heat are very detrimental to my health.

So, I sit and tend to daydream. Just the other day, as I was sipping my ice-cold water—in an insulated cup and served with a slice of lemon and a metal straw to maintain the coldness—I was transformed into another world.

Suddenly I was Cleopatra swinging on a hammock being fanned with palm fronds by my man servants while eating peeled grapes. They will do anything to keep me happy.

Then I was the queen of some unknown country, being fanned by my ladies-in-waiting. They will do anything to keep me happy.

Then I was a person of power—what power, I do not know—and I was simply adored by my people. They will do anything to keep me happy!

Life could not have been any better at this moment in time.

Quarantines, the virus and heat were a world away!

Then I woke up.

Welcome back to reality.

The heat is still here and getting worse.

COVID-19 is still here and getting worse.

Isolation is still here and getting worse.

Hope I can fall asleep again soon. That world is much better than this one.

The Peel-a-bility of an Egg

George Stahl

Forget the question about the chicken or the egg. We have more important things to figure out. How many of us do not like a good hard-boiled egg for breakfast? Yeah, we can get them at Eastertime, with their fancy colors and wax pictures, and why does it seem that the eggs the Easter Bunny leaves peel easier than those you cook in the morning the rest of the year?

Are we dealing with faulty eggs? Not when we have to pay a day’s wage for a dozen we’re not! Are we boiling them too long? Not long enough? What is happening to the eggs in our pots? It could be some sort of conspiracy against the farmers. Maybe it’s some sort of revolt on behalf of the laying hens. Did they hear about that deal the Kentucky Fried chickens got with the Colonel for roomier pens? Are the layers unionizing and we’re paying the price with sabotaged eggs? The layers are banking on the fact that we’ll get tired of the blotchy way the shells tear at the whites and we’ll stop buying them. When they get their penthouse style hen houses with yards and exercise spaces, the eggs will be peelable again.

Or maybe, and more likely, we are doing something wrong. Well, let’s see. We can make a few things in the kitchen without the aid of a recipe. Things like ice, coffee, and a cup of tea. Boiling water used to be on that list. There seem to be way too many methods of peeling an egg. According to the Internet anyway. Everything from running the hardboiled egg under cold water to immersing them in a tub of ice is how they all start. After they have cooled, more steps come into play. Tap both ends of the egg on a countertop, popping an air pocket that forms during boiling, or crush the wide end, breaking the air pocket, then roll the egg with your palm across the counter. This loosens the shell from the whites. Or you can break the egg with a tablespoon, then peel away the shell using your thumb, tapping the egg on something hard as you peel in a downward motion. On Wikipedia alone, there are at least 10 different ways to peel an egg. Similar to more than one way to skin a cat. (Wow! Now that’s a disgusting saying!)

Maybe the secret to a perfectly peeled boiled egg is in the boiling. Sometimes if something starts out not so good, it ends up that way. Take a sauce pan (a small pot) and place two or three eggs in it. The eggs should not be less than seven days old. How do you know how old your eggs are? Yeah, there is a sell by date on the carton, but how do we know when they were laid and when they were packed and when they arrived at the store? Is there a method to tell how old an egg is, other than noticing a bad color on the shell and a really nasty odor coming from the egg? If it smells like natural gas, don’t eat it. (Actually, natural gas is odorless, the rotten egg smell is an additive.)

Okay, we have our seven-day-old eggs in the pot. Now, add water. Let it fill the pot until the eggs are covered by about an inch of water. Put the pot, uncovered, on the stove. Add a pinch of salt or even some bicarbonate of soda, which you just happen to have sitting around the pantry. Bring that to a boil, as if you are doing anything to make it boil, and then let it go for 16 minutes. Bubbling and steaming. Time’s up! Place the pot under the faucet and run cold water. Quickly, so as not to go over your water use limit and risk a fine from the water company for overuse. Being the drought-sensitive person you are, you finish cooling the eggs with a large supply of ice in the pot.

Okay, once the eggs are cold, damp them dry with a paper towel, and now, in a moment of triumphal cheers, peel that egg! Use one of the methods mentioned above. The shell should easily come away from the whites, begin flaking off in large pieces and should leave all of the whites underneath beautifully intact and looking perfectly peeled.

What?! No! Huge chunks of white are missing! The egg looks like something that could use a year supply of Pro Active. What could have possibly happened? You did everything perfectly. This is not your fault! This is a conspiracy! If it is, this is scary. Can chickens have this much control? Should they?

Maybe it’s time to rethink breakfast. How’s an omelet sound? Bon appetit!