What do Old Bay Seasoning, Judaism, and Italians have in common?

Cooking is a fun part of retirement.  I am a native Marylander, always looking for recipes that use Old Bay Seasoning.

Here is a recipe I found in one of my readings this morning (source is at the end).  It is for the observance of Jewish holiday Shavuot on June 3 to 5.  This recipe celebrates Judaism and Italian Life and uses Old Bay!


Baked Sea Bass with Artichokes, Mozzarella, and Old Bay Seasoning

Baked Sea Bass with Artichokes, Mozzarella, and Old Bay Seasoning
Recipe courtesy of Marcia Friedman from Meatballs and Matzah Balls: Recipes and Reflections from a Jewish and Italian Life

Note: If you need a substitute for sea bass, a good option is sablefish.

1 3/4 to 2 pounds sea bass, skinned and deboned, rinsed, dried, and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch-cubes (see note)
2 cans (14 ounces each) artichoke hearts packed in water, well drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of about 1 fresh lime)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 1/2 to 3 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
2 1/2 cups shredded part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the fish and artichokes with the melted butter and lime juice in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a good layer of Old Bay Seasoning. Bake until fish is done (it should flake easily with a fork and be opaque all the way through), 12 to 18 minutes.

Remove from oven. Turn the broiler on high. Top the fish and artichokes evenly with mozzarella and provolone. Broil the casserole until the cheese is melted and just lightly browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Makes approximately 6 servings

Find this story online: http://www.tabletmag.com/recipes-2/172836/baked-sea-bass-with-artichokes-mozzarella-and-old-bay-seasoning

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Community Events

When I was working I would receive notices from historical societies, environmental groups, libraries….alerting me to speakers on a wide range of potentially interesting subjects.  I could never find any time to allocate to any of these, even those that might be of personal interest.  One of the ways I found I can spend some of my newly available retirement hours is to actually go. The other bonus is I often learn about things I would never have thought to study in detail.

Last night the South Coastal Library hosted the South Bethany Historical Society.  The speaker for the evening was Tom Ryan, local historian and author, speaking on Delaware During the Civil War.  Mr. Ryan spoke on the political, economic, and military issues impacting Delaware during the months prior to and during the Civil War. He told the story of the Civil War through local personalities who played important roles during that period.  I initially thought there would be only a small role for such a tiny state.  It was small but very important.

Delaware was one of five border slave states that remained in the Union but bordered states that joined the Confederacy. Delaware produced 40% of the gun powder for the Union Army.  It was a state sharply divided between those who wanted to secede from the union and those who for political and economic reasons supported the union.  By the early 1860s only a small number of slaves existed in Delaware.  Another major role for the State was to house prisoners from the Confederacy, up to 35,000.  There were no battles of record that took place in Delaware.  Tom Ryan has published “Essays on Delaware during the Civil War” and in the summer of 2014 will publish “Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign.”  www.tomtysn-civilwar.com

As I looked around the room, it was clear most of the folks attending were retired.  Many responded that they had travelled to Gettysburg and throughout the historic buildings within Delaware associated with the Civil War period.  The level of engagement of the group was

Other books related to the role of Delaware and its people during the Civil War include:

The Brandywine Home Front during the Civil War. Wilmington, Delaware: Kaumagraph Company, 1966. Norman B. Wilkinson.  Wilkinson’s volume uses du Pont family correspondence, DuPont Company records, and other primary sources to document the mill villages along the lower reach of Brandywine Creek during the Civil War. An essential part of Delaware’s “uneasy home front,” the creekside mills in Brandywine and Christiana Hundreds provided textiles, machinery, and gunpowder to the Union armies. One–third to one–half of the gunpowder used by the Union was produced by the DuPont mills in Delaware.

Campaigns of a Non–Combatant and his Romaunt Abroad during the War. New York: Blelock & Co., 1866.

Native Delawarean George Alfred Townsend (1841–1914) was one of the Union’s youngest correspondents covering the Civil War, and his reports on the Lincoln assassination and battles such as Sheridan’s victory at the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, garnered him considerable praise and recognition. Townsend’s reflections on the Civil War and his two year journey in Europe during the war were collected in Campaigns of a Non–Combatant and his Romaunt Abroad during the War (1866). This first edition of the volume bears an owner’s signature.

Source:  http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/lincolndelcivilwar/

The cost of war

While we honor those who have fought for this country, let’s remember the words of President Eisenhower:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Target Shooting as a hobby

Part of the aging process includes shifting some of your hobbies away from a high level of physicality to hobbies that are compatible with your physical stamina, dexterity, shifting interests, and strength.  When I was younger I preferred running, racket ball, sailing, vigorous hiking, dancing, bridge, needlepoint, and golf.  Through the years I had several significant foot surgeries, shoulder surgery, unrepairable bicep tendon tear, cervical neck fusions, and increasing osteoporosis.

Out of necessity, retirement requires some rethinking.  Now that the time is finally available to pursue hobbies, the range of options sometimes must shift.  It has taken me a while to identify other interests but I am now enjoying different leisure activities.  These include blogging, reading, writing, travel, pistol target shooting, kayaking, walking, ping-pong, birding, deck container gardening, and some photography of interest probably only to me.

I bought a small Ruger SR22 and took it target shooting this week for the first time.  Where I live there are only outdoor ranges so waiting for the weather to be comfortable is part of the process.  When you get to the range, you have to buy your targets and pay a fee.  Usually you are directed to the area for the specific type of shooting you will be doing. The rules are reviewed and the targets hung.  While I have to use two hands, I found it fun to learn to deal with the mechanics of the pistol, the safety, the loading of the magazine, and learning to fire.  Target shooting is mostly a competition with your own self over time.  How can I improve my accuracy and remember how to manage the mechanics with less and less instruction.  Here is my first ever target!  20140520_113451

Where you retire…counts.

One of the more unexpected issues, when moving away from city life and relocating to a remote area in retirement, is trying to get anywhere.  We moved to Ocean City, Maryland.  The full-time resident population according to the 2010 census, indicates Ocean City has 7,102 citizens (http://ococean.com/media/) . The weekend population varies but at the height of the summer tourist season the numbers are about 325,000 per weekend/ 8 million visitors annually on a strip of land equivalent to 4.5 square miles with ten miles of beach.

During summer season which begins with Cruisin’ Weekend (usually mid-May) the traffic makes driving, shopping, the noise level, and eating out next to impossible. Check the latest Ocean Dispatch article, http://mdcoastdispatch.com/, and the comments of the locals on the weekend are quite clear: “Throughout the course of the weekend and early part of the week, Ocean City residents vented on social media their frustrations over massive traffic backups, infrastructure damage to roads caused by the thousands of classic cars in town spinning out and the massive amounts of litter left behind by irresponsible visitors. In fact, one long-time Ocean City resident described the event in a letter to the editor as “broken” and in need of massive changes before the town hosts it again.”

Now, we are waiting for the Memorial Day weekend and the June Bugs (high school graduates).


What If You or a Loved One Needs Care?

Many individuals in their ’40s and ’50s think planning for long-term living options will be necessary only in the far, far future.  In any case, just about everyone I talked with when I was younger assumed they would live in their own home with minimal care at whatever point the issue of independence became a problem.  Many folks presumed living with their children would certainly be an option in the long run, although most indicated they would never want that option as a reality for them.

The first time I really gave any thought to not living in my own home when I began to age was when I finally realized my parents were getting older and less independent.  My parents lived next door to my family from 1982 until 1999; they were a tremendous help to me in raising my children and supervising them.  I frequently shared our meals with them for dinner since my mother had several minor strokes, but they seemed fine taking care of their financial and home-management needs.

One night when I came home in 1997 my mother called and said my dad had fallen off a ladder in the basement and had a significant head injury.  He had refused care but when I came over to check on him, I realized he needed stitches.  He had fifteen stitches and refused to go from the emergency care center to the hospital for additional care.  At that time he was 86 years old.  He never functioned very well after that point.

My parents and I sold both of our homes in 1999 and we moved into adjoining condominiums.  At first this seemed like a manageable solution for everyone.  My mother had some limitations with mobility, but the nature of condo living and the limited responsibilities for both of them worked well.  Increasingly though my dad was unable to drive, began to forget many things, and suffered from increasing paranoia.  My mother’s health deteriorated and I realized my dad needed more care than my mom could provide.  I was working full-time, teaching graduate school in the evenings, and was raising three teenagers; I could not manage any more either.

We moved my dad to the next level of care—adult day care.  Over the next several years both of my parents needed a variety of different types and levels of care prior to their deaths in 2014 and 2015.

None of my friends and family (mostly all in their ’60s to ’80s) have any long-term care options for themselves.  It is amazing to me since most of their parents are deceased. In fact, many of them seem unable to adequately process their own aging or planning for eventual physical or cognitive limitations.

In the hopes of helping retirees to begin the conversation, I will cover over the next couple weeks the characteristics, planning needs, and financial issues of adult day care, assisted living (several types), home care, rehabilitative care and sub-acute after hospital care, long-term care, acute care, and hospice care.

Medical Appointments

One of the increasing and time consuming responsibilities as the aging process continues is the need for medical care, both preventive and intervention for acute care issues.  This morning, we are off for the annual eye check up.  Now, I have had extreme dry eye my adult life which was exacerbated by cataract surgery.  I see the doctor every 6 months for treatment anyway.  But, I still have to go for the annual exam which to me is redundant almost torture.  Having the eyes dilated requires someone else to drive home and very efficient sunglasses.  Frequently I refuse the “service” and must endure the lecture related to the many predictive values of this process.

Volunteering in the Community

While Retirement presents many opportunities, none is more varied or demanding on your “free” time perhaps than community service.  It can take the form of volunteering in soup kitchens, local animal shelters, schools, or whatever else that requires well-intentioned people and an inexpensive pair of hands (usually many of them).  Another option, especially for retirees that are not in their communities on a regular basis, is to work with organizations.

In my case, I am on the Board of Directors of our condominium association.  As with all Boards, there are advantages, such as knowledge of how decisions are made that impact your finances and your community life. It is the Board which makes the budget decisions, including association dues, assessments for improvements and maintenance, amenities available, and the schedule for projects in the development.  The Board, however, can be impacted by the relationships within the building/community including owner cliques, professional rivalries, differences in social interests, and “pet projects” of one group or another.  The Board may also become the complaint department for every gripe anyone has.  The key is to have the complainers affiliate with the Board mission and become active in the fixing of problems.

Remember though that volunteering can absorb your time to the point of a full-time job.  It is important to balance these opportunities with the reality of how you initially wanted to spend your retirement time.

After the Storm

Sunset after heavy rainOne of the advantages of retiring to a location where you have a view, is…the view.  Yesterday Ocean City had heavy rain and fog.  Late in the evening just before dark, this beautiful sunset appeared.


Traveling with A Pet

One of the major challenges after retirement to a flexible travel schedule is what to do with your beloved pet.  Several options are available for in-country travel but overseas travel involves more planning.  Finding good friends with their own dogs and room is the best solution.  Usually a several week absence is involved.  If you are able,  this is safe and the kindest approach.  Dogs tend to live in the moment and joyfully embrace loving caretakers and fellow for legged friends. Sadie,  our Snoodle, is off to visit with Barb and Bob, along with Jack and Katie,  for  spring camp experience.