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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Cutting the Cord

When a fuse blew in my parent's apartment, at first my dad couldn't find the source of the incident. It seemed localized to their bedroom, so he started turning off and on all the lights. He discovered that Mom's bed-side light wasn't working. When he examined the lamp, he noticed that the cord had been cut. Because if you can't turn off the light at its source, the next best idea is to take metal scissors from the kitchen, cut the cord, then put the scissors back in their place.

The singed scissors gave away Mom's actions.

I don't mean to sound alarmist, but Mom could have been seriously hurt. She most probably received a big shock as the scissors cut into the live wire, though if she did, she has no recollection of it. We are thankful that the blown fuse seems to have protected her.

If not for the inherent danger in what she did, Mom was actually very creative. The scissors, however, have been moved to a more secure location.

Does this mark the end of Mom's unsupervised time in her own apartment?

What a thought. To be constantly supervised. To have someone with you at every turn. Mom still insists she can do things on her own, though it is evident she needs assistance. We remind her daily how to shower, dress, or eat. Even drinking tea today confused her, until I suggested she pick up her mug.

If the cut cord is a metaphor for Mom's Alzheimer's, it aptly describes her inability to think through her actions or to connect to those parts of the brain that she can no longer access. Mom continues to struggle with expressing herself. As we were getting ready to go shopping, Mom asked where her things for the head and the arm were. Ah, we realized, Mom was asking for her hat and her bag. At other times, it feels as if Mom, too, has blown a fuse, her rage coming on abruptly and without context.

It's not like Mom's so active in the house. Mostly she follows Daddy around like a lost puppy. She'll sit in the living room watching TV (usually a musical we've screened specially for her) then, unlike most viewers who get hooked by what they're watching, she'll just walk away. She is drawn to whatever room Daddy is in. She'll stand behind him as he types on his computer. She'll ask what's going on, even though she can't understand. When she's in bed and seems fast asleep, she'll suddenly get up to find out what's happening, especially if she hears people talking.

We've known for a long time that Mom needs us with her. But her act of cutting the lamp cord reinforced that fact. We must be vigilant.

When you combine ingredients that at first glance seem like opposites, say sweet and savory, you end up with a wonderful taste experience. It's the creativity of this dish that I dedicate to Mom: to her wildly dangerous yet creative mind.

Spinach Cheese Pie with Sweet Potato Crust

Not only is the tart taste of the spinach when combined with the sweet bite of the sweet potato crust complimentary, but the colors are absolutely eye-catching.


1 large sweet potato, coarsely chopped


1 tsp oil

Pinch salt


800 gram bag spinach leaves, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

3 eggs

½ cup grated yellow cheese

250 grams cottage cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Place sweet potato chunks in pot and cover with water. When soft, drain and mash and add oil and salt. Pat into bottom of pie pan.

  2. Sauté garlic and onion in a large frying pan. When browned, add spinach leaves and steam until cooked. Let cool.

  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and add cheeses.

  4. Add spinach mixture to egg and cheese.

  5. Pour into pie pan and sprinkle with sweet paprika.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350° or until browned on top.

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