So Far, So Good: Cubicles

by H. L. Kayston

The other morning I heard Mo Rocca, a feature contributor to the CBS Morning News program, broadcast that this was the 50th anniversary of the creation of the office cubicle, the boxlike, separated enclosure that delineated working space for individuals in offices.

I am currently the inhabitant (resident) of one such space.  My cubicle walls are covered with memos, phone numbers, company contact sheets, pictures of our Halloween costumes (an absolute requirement in this office), as well as Mardi Gras beads and masks, pictures of grandchildren in various stages of growth, a photograph taken years ago of the Ponte Vecchio, that famous bridge crossing the Arno River in Florence, Italy, a piece of Australian Aboriginal art, a current Notary Public license, as well as a computer, screen, phone and printer on the desk.  These items are only the flotsam and fragments of my office life.

Other parts of our lives are also divided into compartments (a synonym for cubicle, though not necessarily the one designated for partition of office space). One division that comes to mind immediately is our family.  Years ago it was not uncommon for several generations of a family to live together either in one residence or in a closely connected neighborhood. We witnessed the blossoming and growth of the younger members, the maturing of their parents and the lives of the senior generation, with all of the happenings that accompany the latter part of one’s life.  Today, we are frequently separated from our family by distance and lifestyle so that we may not be an immediate part of the growth and changes within our own family.

Our childhood friends and the ones we make and have for most of our lives as well as those friends that are fleeting ones, but remain very precious and loved in our memories all fit into a very important compartment in our lives.  They are our connection to the world, to each other and often to the fun, joy and laughter that make our lives happy.

Of course, the best thing to remember about the office cubicle is that they can be connected to make a place that gives everyone a separate space but they can also be configured and joined together and individual walls can be removed so that there is a large space that can include all of the residents together, hopefully in a happy place.

Image from Stockimages on http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

So Far, So Good: Food For Thought

by H. L. Kayston

There is nothing that causes us to remember people, family occasions and life-cycle events more than a particular smell or taste of food.  My Mother cooked every day, baked cakes, never sent for take-out (that was totally unheard of in her world) and very rarely ate in a restaurant.  I am able to reproduce some of her recipes as well as some of her scorched disasters, which occurred because she was distracted by business concerns. (My parents conducted their fur business in our five room New York City apartment until a store became available and affordable on the main neighborhood street).

Many people have and treasure their own passed-down family recipes which are often collected by church, community and organizational groups to be published and distributed or sold as fundraisers. According to Jessica Stoller-Conrad writing on a blog called The Salt which appears on National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) web site, the first charity cookbook was called A Poetical Cookbook by Maria J. Moss and was published and sold in 1864 to subsidize medical costs for Union soldiers injured in the Civil War.  Many local groups and religious organizations across the country took notice of Moss’s success and started creating cookbooks of their own.  Politically active women such as a group in Massachusetts created The Woman Suffrage Cookbook in 1886 to be sold in order to raise funds for their municipal suffrage campaign as well as to spread the group’s agenda.

Some years ago, when my family had a reunion, we were asked by one of our intrepid, ambitious and greatly optimistic cousins to submit favorite recipes.  Many of us did so and the results were put together, printed and distributed at the event.  The assembled recipes were contributed by both men and women (luckily one of my cousins is a retired pastry baker) and it is one of my most treasured possessions.

So, you may ask, what is this writer getting at?  Juniper’s communities are very diverse geographically as are our individual communities, residents, staff and family members.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a community-wide cookbook that contained our favorite recipes and anecdotes about times, places and people remembered?  We would love for you to share your recipes and stories collected after talking to family members and your loved ones by sending them to the following address:  1078 South 88th Street, Louisville, CO 80027 or email to Vickie.stotler@junipercommunities.com.

To start the process, I have included a wonderful brownie recipe in honor of Katherine Hepburn and her impressive Oscar legacy.  (The recipe comes from a letter to the editor of the New York Times on July 6, 2003.)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cocoa or 2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions 

1.  Butter an 8×8 baking pan.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Melt butter with cocoa or chocolate together in a heavy saucepan over medium low, whisking constantly until blended.  Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour, salt and walnuts and mix well.  Pour into a well buttered 8-inch square pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely and cut into squares.  These brownies are very fudgy and may be difficult to slice cleanly.  Use a sharp knife and a spatula to help loosen them from the dish.  (When asked about this recipe, Katherine Hepburn cautioned that the trick for divine brownies was not to use too much flour!)

So Far, So Good: Coming Over

by H.L. Kayston

Here in the US, all of us are immigrants except the Native Americans, who may have crossed a long extinct land bridge from Asia millennia ago, which means that they also came over from another place.  Recently, in talking to friends and acquaintances, I’ve heard some really fascinating tales about how and why our families arrived on these shores. Continue reading

So Far, So Good: Passion

by H. L. Kayston

I love Steven Sondheim’s music and plays.  Some of my friends hate that particular composer’s works, which doesn’t change my passion for Sondheim’s work or for the theatre in general!  At another time I’ll talk about a musical called Passion, which deals with that subject. Continue reading