Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

June 15, 2013

We’re all entitled to change our minds

After so many (guess) years of living in the world we live in, a person’s gotta think a little differently about life than she used to. Even if you don’t agree with my new way of seeing things, at least it’s an interesting change.

Take thumbs, for instance. I hate to admit it, but I never before thought of thumbs as romantic. Guess I was wrong, because they’re all over the place nowadays in romance novels. Here are some recent ones: “He wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs.” “He used his thumb to smooth away her frown.” “He wiped off the paint on her forehead with the pad of his thumb.” I’m looking at my thumb right now, and believe me, it’s not that sexy. Sort of fat, actually. And being wrinkled doesn’t help either.

Well, maybe you don’t read the same novels I do. I hate the explicit ones. I’d still rather live in the days when a series of dots like these . . . . . stopped sex scenes in their tracks, before they got too ripe. So I guess somebody had to come up with new, fairly innocent symbols of hanky-panky these days. And apparently, thumbs are it. So, thumbs up on that one.

I do not like S’mores any more. Actually, I was never a big fan of S’mores, but, come on, up to, say, the age of 70, anything made up of two kinds of candy and a crisp sweet cracker is bound to win the day. Not anymore. I still like chocolate, marshmallows not so much, and graham crackers, once a year on December 23 at 9 p.m., when I’m making my famous recipe of Christmas cookies. But any other time — ugh!

Now, with this next one, I’m worried about my readers, because I don’t want to confuse them. A while ago, I wrote that I really hated hair on men’s faces, expecially the new skimpy chin and jaw hair that seems to be all that some young men can muster up these days. But I’m learning to like it! Stick with me and I may even like full-scale beards

One reason is that I have a very favorite nephew by marriage who is one of the nicest guys in the world. (He lives out of town and and luckily doesn’t read this column) He has facial hair like Robinson Crusoe after the third year. Sometimes you have to reach blindly into this thicket of fur for his shoulders before you know where to look for his eyes. If he had a habit of walking on his hands I would be stumped.

But I am getting used to him.

Actually, he can get away with it, because 1. He is so nice, and 2. He has so very obviously made the choice. The ones I used to be tired of are the ones who look like they just forgot to shave that day — or, worse yet, looked at their schedule and saw I was on it. Either way, they didn’t shave, and I used to think they looked seedy. Now I’ve kind of gotten used to it and concede that there is a nerdy attraction to them, though I’d still prefer them cleaned up a bit more. But then, I matured in the 50s, the wonderful, long-gone era of naked faces and gentle men.

I used to think that stopping hiccups was a mere matter of holding my breath or drinking water. It took me years to realize that those things never worked. Let me share with you what does work, at least for me. I have never had a failure. When I start to get the hiccups, I immediately take a breath, hold it, and concentrate on NOT LETTING ANOTHER HICCUP PAST MY THROAT. (Well, one’s okay.) Granted it gets a little traumatic there for a few seconds, and your friends are apt to call 911 — but it works!

I used to like cooking shows, but the more I watch them, the less I like their emphasis on getting things done in a set time period. I will venture to imagine that not one famous chef, of this time or any other, was ever demoted from his position because he came in two seconds late on a designated menu. I think time is irrelevant and has nothing to do with whether some one is a good cook or not.

Of course, the fact is that, for the watching TV audience, there is no other reliable method of comparison between one cook and another, Until someone figures out how to deliver a taste of each chef’s dish to each viewer, they have to go with the absolutely artificial time judgment. Come on, this is 2013. Surely some genius out there can figure out how to get taste to the viewing audience — and I’ll watch cooking shows again.

Yesterday I read that the cicadas have possibly called the whole thing off in W. Maryland. Don’t cry; it’s not a sure thing yet, but these is a distinct possibility that I will have to change my expectations for this summer and get along without them. I know you are just as disappointed as I am. Hang in there; they may yet show up. We ( some of us) can only hope.

Cherish this column. I do not change my mind very often, even when it’s warranted. Still, that may change too, as I get older. Or not.

Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears in the Times-News on alternate Sundays.

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Maude McDaniel - Living
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    July 27, 2014

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    •In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m., regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 a.m. all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.

    July 13, 2014

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    But don’t think they haven’t tried.

    June 28, 2014

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    June 15, 2014

  • Signs of aging and what comes with it

    It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?

    June 1, 2014

  • Torn between failing in two different fields

    Which do I like better, singing or writing?
    That's a tough question to answer.
    Singing's got it all over writing as far as when I started (at about 5 in the church choir) but writing is certainly a close second. I have somewhere a collection of poems that I wrote from about eight on and I have the feeling that they are lost for a reason! As I remember, they were pretty awful, not at all the kind of effort an aspiring writer would be proud to quote 75 years later!

    May 19, 2014

  • Bad habits are hard to eliminate — but try

    Somebody mentioned smoking on these pages recently, so I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the subject. I started smoking in college, during exam week. The problem was that I was too busy during the rest of the year ever to stop and study for my courses — at least that is what I told myself — because I worked almost every night on the college newspaper. So when exam time kicked in, I threw some all-nighters for study. And the best way to stay awake all night (especially if you don't regularly smoke) is to, well, smoke.

    May 4, 2014

  • Trivial questions you don’t have to answer

    Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia

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    March 22, 2014

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