Home Clothes

Never has Groundhog day meant so much to so many people as day after day the same routine repeats.  I keep thinking about Dante’s 9 circles of hell.  Which circle are we in right now and how far down will we have to go and what happens if we do reach that 9th circle?  Are we in the first one still, Limbo?  Or have we descended already into number 5 which is Anger?

Tom and I were hanging out on circle #1  when we decided to watch a movie.  Tom was scrolling through our choices when he stumbled on “Once Upon a Time in the West.  It was made in 1968 and Tom said “I think this is a classic.”  “How can it be a classic” I said, “I’ve never heard of it.”  Then he said “Let’s watch it.”  I wasn’t excited but I agreed.  That movie plunged us headlong into circle #2, Lust, until I realized what that meant so we had to plunge down even further.  I have never seen a movie so awful.  Tom said “I’m sure it gets better, there has to be some action soon.”  There was not.  We watched almost an hour before turning it off.  I looked up the movie as it was that bad and it turns out the Library of Congress preserved it in the National Film Registry as being historically significant.  I would rather scrub my deck again and again over watching that.  It was a box office flop by the way.  I blame this on Tom of course as it was his pick.  I get the next pick and I’m thinking either “Sound of Music” or “Frozen.”

As we plunged into circle 3 what I see is horrifying.  It’s endless TV sets on an endless loop of Tom Brady and the grumpy lobster boat captain Bill Belichick, winning 6 Super Bowls.  If you don’t read Jason Gay, the Wall Street Journal’s sports writer, you will not have heard his nickname for the New England Patriot’s head coach, Bill Belichick.  A more perfect nickname I have never heard.  And if the New England Patriots Super Bowls are only on circle #3, I can’t imagine what horrors await on circle #4.

Did you hear that the Government of Malaysia on Facebook asked the women of the country not to nag their husband during this crisis and to please try to look nice by wearing make up and dress nicely by not wearing home clothes.  This cracked me up and they got a lot of push back, enough that they had to take the post down.  But, are you wearing “home” clothes during this crisis?  I am.  Mine consist of a red turtleneck if it’s cold, or a pink short sleeved shirt if it’s warm, under my dark grey sweatshirt and my light grey jeans.  The other day I was forced to wash the outfit and I was lost as to what to wear.  So far, no complaints from Tom.

Any good movies?  Do you have home clothes? What level of Dante’s circles are you on?

Toilet Paper Dreams

I had a dream about toilet paper.  I was in a grocery store and there was only toilet paper stacked floor to ceiling. I decided if you’re dreaming about toilet paper it’s definitely a sign not to give up your blog.  When I started this blog 6 years ago, it was all about moving to Portland and our adventures surrounding that.  It turns out it was genius to make a friend in the toilet paper business so we have no worries in that department.  Another sign to keep writing is that focusing on your health is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Distraction is good.  Especially now.

I received this package at my front door.  It was from my neighbor, so thoughtful! Don’t we have enough to worry about without worrying about toilet paper? Take sports.  I pretty much plan my life over sports.  I know this is not normal but I also know I am not alone.  So first, my very favorite tournament of the year was cancelled.  March Madness.  I pretty much watch all the games, I love how each team desperately wants to win and get into that Final Four.  And my team had a chance.  So instead of watching the finals of the March Madness tournament last weekend, we were out scrubbing  our deck on our hands and knees.  Then the Masters Golf Tournament was postponed.  I tell you it’s just pure torture.  But a little ray of sunshine to look forward to as today I had an appointment with my doctor who was in the National Squash tournament a few weeks ago in Minneapolis, MN.  She and her partner came in second place and when I grilled her on her strategy and will to win, she promised to send me the video of her playing.  I am very excited and I hope it took them three sets to clinch second place.  I am now reduced to watching my doctor play squash.  If you would like to see it, I can ask her if I can send you the link.

I thought sports was going to be the worst for me but the soap opera I watch, “The Bold and the Beautiful” just announced they were going to stop production for the time being.  I am crushed.  Will Sally actually die?  Where did that nasty Thomas go and will Quinn blow up Brooke and Ridge’s marriage and ruin Katie in the process?  How much loss can a person take?

When I  went for a walk this past weekend I heard two women behind me talking.  One of them was talking about her healthy diet and complaining about all the people eating junk and the disgusting things she sees them putting in their grocery carts.  What’s it to her?  She was obviously feeling pretty superior to people just trying to put some semblance of happiness into their otherwise pretty miserable lives right now.  How judgmental can you be?  When you’re stuck at home and maybe surrounded by bored kids who you now have to home school while also working yourself, who cares if you buy extra bags of Cheetos and chips, cookies and fruit loops? Anything to keep the kiddies happy.  I am enclosing this link of an Italian mother who isn’t coping all that well.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U6zU4MXmnA   Or even if you’re there with just your husband, a bowl of ice cream is pretty wonderful.  This too shall pass, I’ll get my sports and soap opera back and then everyone will go on a diet.

Today I am cleaning out my refrigerator.

How are you coping? And what was the hardest thing for you to give up?

Better Than Butter

It all started over a year ago when my college girlfriends came to Portland for our annual get-together.  There are six of us and even with kicking Tom out for the week, I didn’t have enough room for everyone.  So one of my girlfriends and I stayed at a neighbors, just to sleep.  I stocked up on junk food and everything else I could think of.  The first morning as I was making toast, I pulled my go to margarine spread out of the refrigerator and you would have thought I was about to put bacon grease on their bread.  “What is that crap?, that’s plastic, it doesn’t even melt on the toast, where’s the butter” were the comments. “I don’t have butter, this is what I use, take it or leave it, besides, I like it” I said defensively.  It devolved from there and so began another reunion of bad jokes, trash talking and jabbing each other.  We always have the best time!

Fast forward to right now.  My friends are all sure that it was the spread that caused my cancer and they have actually talked me into using real butter.  However, I am rethinking my diet and how it contributes to health and am determined to change a few things.  Mostly less sugar, less alcohol , more vegetables, you get the picture.  I am going to change my recipes to make them better and I may take you on this ride with me.  I was perusing a cookbook I found when rearranging the book shelf called “What To Eat Now” The Cancer Lifeline Cookbook, and guess what I found.  A recipe for a butter spread that is healthy.  I looked with skepticism at the ingredients and then decided to make it.

BETTER THAN BUTTER:   Makes 1 pound

1 cup sweet cream butter,  1 cup canola oil, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup ice water (this is the ingredient I was skeptical of)

Soften the butter at room temperature until very soft.   Combine softened butter and oil in a deep mixing bowl and mix until smooth.  This will take about 5-8 minutes.  Slowly add buttermilk and blend.  Then add ice water and blend.  Tip:  Measure a cup of water in a two cup measure. Then put in the ice and pour out excess water until the measure is one cup.  The water makes it all come together. After everything is all blended up, put the resulting concoction the refrigerator where it will firm up.  It works!  And it melts on the toast and it tastes good.  Try it and then let me know what you think.  I can’t wait to see what my college friends will think.

 

Cupcake Follies

Really, I just wanted to watch my cupcake show.  I’d been talking about it for days and let Tom know I recorded it.  The Cupcake bake-off on the Food Channel.  After 13 rounds of chemo and two to go, this was the big thing I was looking forward to.  I don’t make cupcakes but my daughter had ordered cupcakes for the twins 6th  birthday party and sent me a picture.  I was blown away.  I had never seen more beautiful cupcakes in my life and was sure they couldn’t be that beautiful and also taste good.  She assured me they were delicious.  Somehow this self taught woman was discovered by the Food Channel and asked to compete in one of the Cupcake Bake-off shows.  Her Bakery is called “Baked Blooms.” https://www.bakedblooms.com/

My sister invited us to come up for the weekend so to Seattle we went.  It was a good getaway.  I was up long before everyone else Saturday morning and sat around waiting for anyone to get up.  Tom was sleeping in longer than he ever had before so the sleeping pill my sister Denise gave him the night before must really be working.  She said it was mild and you wouldn’t have a hangover in the morning.  When he finally got up he had a big hangover and was really groggy.

“What the heck was that pill you gave me last night Denise?”  “I just gave you one of my prescription sleeping pills, they’re real mild and you wake up feeling great.  But my pills are the same as Bonita’s, so since mine were in the bedroom, I just gave you one of Bonita’s”  “Why am I so groggy then?”  Tom asked.  Denise went to get the bottle and then started laughing.  “Bonita’s pills are way stronger than mine!”  she said. Bonita happens to be the family dog.  We finally stopped laughing and Tom went to peruse his phone.

I went to my phone and found the cupcakes to show Denise.  I was telling her how beautiful they were and how the bakery’s owner was going to be competing in the Cupcake Bake-off on the Food Channel.  Tom looked up from his phone and said “Oh she won.”  “What did you say” I asked.  “She won.”  he said again.  I couldn’t believe it, did he just ruin my cupcake show?  “I told you I recorded that to watch when we got home” I said, barely containing my fury.  “I thought you’d already watched it” he said.  “Of course I haven’t watched it, I keep talking about watching it,  you’ve heard me talking about watching it, do you not hear anything I say?”  “Sorry, you can watch it when we get home and you won’t have any anxiety about who wins.”  I did not speak to him the rest of the day and was still mad the following day.  I even threatened to tell him who wins every Wisconsin Badger game he records.  The cupcakes had taken on an outsize importance, a metaphor for husbands who don’t listen! I finally watched the show several days later and yes, she won and yes, knowing she won ruined the show for me.  But I’m very happy she won, her cupcakes are something to behold.

Did somebody ruin something for you and you want to tell me about it?

Stiff Peaks

By now you’ve finished all your after Christmas shopping and broken all your New Year’s resolutions.  Now what?  It’s February and there’s not a lot going on.  Except for of course Valentine’s Day.  Remember when Valentine’s Day was a big deal?  What would he get me?  Jewelry, candy, flowers?  It was so exciting.  Me, I’d take candy over jewelry any day.  It was a given you’d go out for a romantic dinner. Since it was on my mind I thought I’d ask Tom if he’d thought about it.

Me ( with hope in my voice)  “What have you thought about doing for Valentine’s Day?”

Tom:  “Oh yeah,   Valentine’s Day.  Why don’t you make those lamb chops we like and for sure the Coeur a la Creme, I love that and you only make it on Valentine’s Day.”   Another hope dashed… However, Tom has made this dessert once before and the instruction to whip that cream to stiff peaks had him very confused.  But not as confused as the time he made another dessert as a surprise for me.  That instruction read:  whip egg whites until stiff but not dry.  He still talks about  “That crazy instruction!  What the heck does not dry mean, do egg whites get dry and what does that look like?”  You get the picture.

There are other things to do in February like get a head start on Spring cleaning; invite those friends of yours who didn’t escape to a sunnier place over for dinner.  I am going to turn on the fireplace and curl up on the couch with the golf balls I got for Christmas and dream of a lower handicap.  Speaking of golf balls, have you seen those new matte colored balls?  They are really cool, so that’s what I asked for.  I had only seen the deep red and orange ones, so didn’t even know there were other colors.  Sure enough, there are.  I got a box of the Volvik pastels.  Do you think I will be noticed on the golf course with these colors?  I think so!

If you are spending Valentine’s Day at home and making your own romantic dinner, here is the Coeur a la Creme recipe which is now a family heirloom and will be making it into that cookbook I hope to finish in the next 5 years.  By the way, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Uh Oh, Now I’ve done it

The Holiday Season is such a fun heartwarming time of year.  A time of good cheer, not a time of danger to your marriage.  Picking out gifts for family members and friends is creative and fun.  It’s a challenge to find just the right thing and then all of a sudden you have a whole pile of “just the right thing.”  And that pile just gets bigger, but how did that happen?  May the following story be a warning to those of you who are happily married.

Last year we were spending Christmas in California.   First we’d spend Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day with our daughter and the twins.  Then after gifts were opened, we’d head to our son’s house, four hours away and spend it with our two grandsons.  We were going to drive as I had all the gifts for everyone gathered in the guest room.  I’d had a good time shopping and found all sorts of just perfect gifts which soon became a big pile taking up more space than they should have in the guest room. The night before we left, Tom wanted to pack the car so we could get an early start in the morning.

 

“What is all of this!” he shouted in dismay,           “All of these wouldn’t even fit into Santa’s sleigh!”

Those dreamy blue eyes were full of fury,                I left that room in a great big hurry.

Yes I went overboard a wee tiny bit                             But he didn’t need to throw such a big hissy fit

“We’ll need two cars!” he sputtered and fumed.    But he started carrying gifts from the room.

He got it packed, everything fit,                                    Although we barely had room to sit.

Next year he said, each kid gets just two,                 I’m making a spreadsheet to send to you.

So I said those words he was desperate to hear,   Those two little words, “Yes dear.”

Oh the stress!  Does any of this sound familiar?  It’s really hard to buy just two gifts each for our adorable, deserving grandchildren,  You find the perfect two gifts and buy them and then something even more perfect comes along. Then what do you do? Take a chance on the fury again or just stop.  I stopped at three, which I thought was a perfect compromise.

Has this ever happened to you or am I the only one to bust budgets?  By the way, what budget?  Do you actually have one?  How does that work!