Because Blueberries

IMG_3111It will always be a mystery to me why I have such an abundance of misplaced confidence in myself when it comes to any kind of food preparation.  Such optimism!  I wonder if this is how gamblers feel.  Play and play and play until finally you hit a jackpot and the amount of money you blew getting to that point is a forgotten and tiresome little detail.

I’m not going to dwell on food wastage because regret is stupid, right?  I admit I’ve had my share of culinary disappointments.  The experience is what’s important.  I’m just going to go with that.

Reasons why I decided to make this:

  1. I have liked a lot of recipe pages on Facebook so my news feed includes quite an annoying number of pictures of things people have cooked or baked or fed to their dogs, who really knows the truth behind these things, and looking at them always makes me hungry.
  2. Blueberries are good for you.
  3. I am really tired of eggs for breakfast.
  4. This recipe looked like an easy one in which to make healthier ingredient substitutions so that a diabetic person could eat some practically guilt free.

The original recipe is here.  I will also mention that I am more often than not sucked in by the claim “best ever”.

Here are the things I changed (yep, without testing the original):

  1. I used frozen blueberries.
  2. Truvia instead of sugar.
  3. All purpose gluten free flour with 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
  4. Butter flavoured margarine instead of real butter.  Because if it flops, what a waste of butter.

It was in the oven at least 45 minutes to get to the bubbling stage, likely because the blueberries started out so cold.

The filling was a little watery, probably real sugar would have thickened it up more.  Maybe a little bit of cornstarch mixed in with the orange juice would help.  The orange juice gave the berries a wonderful tart taste.  I wonder how lemon juice would work?  And maybe some lemon zest in the batter?  This is why I end up never making the same thing twice.  The cobbler topping was slightly dry, but still good.  A possible remedy for that problem of course would be the ice cream the recipe so helpfully suggests.  But I don’t have any, and come on, it’s already a stretch to call this breakfast.

Artistic bonus – that pretty round swirly pattern on the edges of the pan, I assume from exploding fruit.

I’m going to call this a success.   It satisfied my craving for something sweet and got rid of a partial bag of frozen blueberries that were giving me a headache trying to decide how long they’d been in the freezer.  I guess you could say I don’t have extremely high standards.

And that’s probably a good thing. Happy Friday!

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Quiet Minds

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Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

[Robert Louis Stevenson]

And here I thought January was going to be such a boring month.  Now I want it to end for a whole different myriad of reasons.

I really miss my complacent quiet mind that didn’t involve itself much in world politics and all the fussing and fighting my friend.  It’s been MIA for almost two weeks now, off somewhere being frightened and perplexed I guess.  The clock during a thunderstorm is beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb.  It seriously needs to yell and scream at somebody.  Reading the news is like watching a friend self destruct and having no idea what you could possibly say to them or do to make things better.  Worried that they’ll destroy you and everything around them in the process.

This is life, though, isn’t it?  Never meant to be easy.  There will always be ignorance and fear and hate right along side all the understanding, compassion and love.  I always thought I knew which one would win in the end.  And then a white Christian male murders people in a mosque.  And the victims are the ones he calls terrorists.  There’s a special place in hell for the perpetrators of such senseless violence, right next to the ones who incite it.

Amidst the shared grief and despair there’s always something we can be grateful for, right?  How long is your list?  I hope it’s longer than mine.

  1. Humour.  Satire.  Political cartoons.  Protest signs.  Because if you don’t laugh you might start to cry and never stop.
  2. People with functioning brains saying intelligent things.  They are a delightful contrast to the ones who believe thinking isn’t really all that important.
  3. Protesters and reporters and journalists who refuse to sit down and shut up.
  4. Social media, freedom of speech, freedom of the press.  The right to ask questions and get truthful answers.  All things that could be taken away from us.  In this day and age.  It boggles the mind. Do I believe everything I hear or read?  Of course not. There is progressively more bullshit to sift through these days, but there is also thoughtful, actually factually backed-up information.  There are insightful gems.  These are well worth the time it takes to find them, and have helped to restore my wavering faith in the basic goodness of humanity.
  5. The love and compassion that’s out there and has always been out there despite all the misguided evil efforts to destroy it.  I am so very thankful that all the rampant stupidity and hate has not lured all of us into stupidly and rampantly hating back.  It is so very tempting to add to the chaos instead of the calm.

Here’s something we can all hang on to.  These mortal men (yes, take heart, one day they will die just like the rest of us) who have had power gifted to them can have that power taken away. They are not Gods. Some of them are not even that smart. Some of them are probably certifiably insane. They can be stopped.  And I know there are good people ceaselessly working on stopping them before going to hell is the least of their worries because they will have all of us living with them in some version of it right here.

Am I taking all this too seriously?  I don’t know.  But better to err on this side of the fence than to regret not getting it before it’s too late to change the downward spiral we’re all being sucked into.

So do not let them beat you down and wear you out and make you want to give up. Never doubt that therein lies the method to their madness in their gleeful rush to keep their so-called promises, one after another after another, so you can’t wrap your head around how little forethought or concern for legality or unhappy consequences has been taken into account before they’re slamming the next thing down on the table.  And the shit that happens after that is SO not their fault.  Wow.  They are counting on everyone to become overwhelmed to the point of weary acceptance, not knowing what is legal and what is truth or which way is up.  Too busy fighting with each other to notice or care any more what’s really going on.  And away they go.

Resist and keep resisting the things you know in your heart to be wrong.  Because to do otherwise is unthinkable.

Sorry I’m not my usual flippant frivolous self these days.  I’m just not ready yet for the world to end.

Phone Phobia

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate answering the phone?  I have that exact cat expression except with a slightly more raised left eyebrow whenever the phone rings.  (Oh crap.  Who is that and what the hell do they want. I’ll just let it go to voicemail.)

I will make an exception of course if I’m expecting a call, or recognize the number and actually feel like talking, but those circumstances are rare.

List of possible reasons for my phone call paranoia:

  1. It might be bad news.  Here’s a weird thing I remember from my childhood. Our phone rang and I said “phone calls used to always mean bad news, like somebody died”.  After that profound announcement my mother took the call and learned that one of our uncles had suffered a heart attack and died.  It was a strange coincidence, I’m not psychic or anything, but I’ve never forgotten it. Maybe this helps to explain the little jolt of anxiety a ringing phone still gives me.
  2. If it’s a telemarketing or solicitation call it’s hard for me to be anything but dismissive and rude.  It’s impossible to but in because they never shut up, so I just talk over them and then hang up.  After that I put their number on our  blocked list.
  3. It is really frustrating to have difficulty understanding what is being said, especially if someone talks very quickly or has an accent.  I’m so much better face to face.

Whoa. That last one is the biggest reason.  I stopped after I wrote it and went off to do some research and this resulted in (YAY!) yet another list.  Check out this site for the full version.

When you have a high frequency hearing loss, you may have trouble:

– following conversations (hear but can’t understand).
– talking on the phone.
– understanding TV shows or movies even when you turn the volume up.
– understanding young children’s voices because they tend to be higher in pitch
– enjoying music because it sounds distorted, especially at higher volumes.

Also….

– people think you aren’t listening to them or accuse you of having selective hearing

– you accuse people of mumbling

– you answer questions inappropriately or miss punch lines

– you smile and nod even though you have no clue what the hell is going on

Well that explains a lot. Why I turn the radio off with a sigh of relief.   Why I always have subtitles running across my screen no matter what I’m watching.  Why I can hear some things from rooms away but never the stove timer.  Why my mumbling grandchildren are so hard to understand,  and why they get so exasperated having to repeat themselves for me.

Sorry guys.  It’s not JUST senility.  Maybe I do need to seriously consider that hearing aid I was told I was borderline for needing.  Or I could wait until I can no longer even hear the phone ringing at all.  Decisions, decisions. Meanwhile, practicing that cat face but adding nodding and smiling to it.

How Do I Love Thee January?

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Let me count the ways.  A list of all the good things about this winter month from hell.

  1. There aren’t any.
  2. Just kidding, there’s got to be something.
  3. Penguin Awareness Day is coming up on the 20th (and Squirrel Appreciation Day on the 21st).  (You can find more weird days to observe and celebrate here). If you would like to ignore the U.S. presidential inauguration there are obviously many more important and worthwhile things happening this month on which to redirect your time and attention.
  4. Daylight is increasing by leaps and bounds.  Or minutes if you want to be realistic.
  5. A week and 2/7ths of this month are over already. Yay!
  6. Many people richer and smarter than I am are leaving Canada and going south to get warmed up.  This means they can feel all smug about the crappy weather they’re missing and the rest of us will be delighted to accept admiration for our perseverance and stoicism in sticking around and facing the elements. I will also happily accept sympathy and pity.
  7. There are all kinds of sales everywhere this month, and this is a good thing for me because I’m so done with shopping from the previous month I feel no temptation at all to be out there saving money on things I don’t need.
  8. There are at least three good things going on in number seven.  So maybe we can round this up at the end.
  9. The shortbread cookies are almost all gone. I think we may be down to our last dozen.  Finishing them is W’s responsibility and he continues to be up for the challenge.
  10. The list of artists who were approached to perform at the inauguration, and refused,  continues to grow.  Penguin awareness Day is looking better and better.

And now I’m going to sneak in a knee complaint just to let all you knee problem people know how much sincere empathy I have for you after my week of hobbling around swearing.  Holy crap a hurting knee is awful.  The other day I sat down awkwardly and it snapped and crunched and shot excruciating pain to all my extremities at once (I may be exaggerating, but only very slightly, really) and since then it has been getting progressively better.  Not the cure I would necessarily recommend. Sitting around with my leg elevated and straight and having W cook and do laundry for me is my favourite method so far.

Okay!  Back to enjoying this gloriously cold snowy overcast day!  There might not be too many more of them left!  I just rolled my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache.

More Please

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What would you like more of this year?  Here’s  my list.

  1. peaceful sound sleep
  2. great coffee
  3. good books
  4. amazing sunrises
  5. gorgeous sunsets
  6. smiles
  7. creativity
  8. writing ideas
  9. positive thoughts
  10. laughter
  11. daydreaming
  12. fun
  13. love
  14. gratefulness
  15. magic
  16. healing
  17. random acts of kindness
  18. crazy (the good kind)
  19. sunshine
  20. joy

Gotta get going on this one.  Starting with coffee.  Wish me luck.

Reading Lables

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When normal relief isn’t good enough.

Yesterday after I used my inhaler I held my breath and read almost every word on my tube of dermatologist tested INTENSE RELIEF hand cream, except for the French.  I find if I distract myself from the fact that I have stopped breathing it’s easier to keep the inhaled ventolin in my lungs longer so that it will have a better chance to do whatever it’s meant to be doing in there.

I am an obsessive reader of labels when it comes to food products.  I religiously read patient leaflets included with medical products to see if they agree with what the doctor and the pharmacist advise.  And also to check out all the possible side effects so I can imagine I am experiencing them.  I read the instructions on recipes too.  Sort of.  Unless I don’t feel like it.  But that’s getting off topic and away from my point.  I often do have a point, in case you hadn’t  noticed.

What I don’t pay much attention to is all the blather on the labels of self-care products like shampoo and body wash and creams and lotions.  After getting myself all informed about the benefits of my amazing hand cream, (and then gasping for breath before passing out) I went around the house reading other descriptions and instructions on random product lables.  Turns out they are simply loaded with adjectives which may or may not be accurate or even make sense.

Yes, my life is exactly this thrilling on a normal day.

But that is not my point either. My point is, advertising can be devious and deceptive but mostly just damned confusing.  I have compiled a list of examples for you.  (I am nothing if not predictable).

  • velvety smooth, silky smooth, smooth and soothing
  • long lasting, all day, 24 hour
  • humidity resistant
  • strong but flexible
  • advanced moisture therapy
  • deep moisturizing
  • total moisturizing
  • deeply hydrating
  • protective hydration
  • shielding emollients
  • fast absorbing
  • gently absorbs
  • pure
  • enriched with vitamins and skin essential lipids
  • non greasy
  • soft, luxurious
  • skin perfecting
  • exotic vitality (if you’re shopping for vitality, the exotic variety is no doubt the best)
  • glow renewal
  • hydra nutrition
  • sulphate/phthalate/paraben/alcohol/petroleum/etc. free
  • unique
  • eco friendly
  • certified organic
  • all natural
  • 99% plant based (the other 1% could be made from snakes….)
  • refreshes and revitalizes thirsty skin
  • locks in volume

How impressive is that last one?  Because no one wants their volume to break free and go gallivanting off into the stratosphere.

You might surmise from this long list that I have a thousand or more beauty products stashed away in my home.  I don’t.  These are all written on shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, lotion, and a couple of hair care products.  Maybe there was one from my dish soap, I can’t remember.

I have what I thought were pretty ordinary apple/green tea and coconut/cocoa butter shampoos (because who doesn’t want their hair to smell like lunch) but on closer examination it turns out they are made from Farm Harvested green apples, Chinese green tea extracts, South Pacific coconut oil and West African cocoa butter extracts.  Wow.  Who runs around the world collecting all this crap. I’m pretty sure no one.

Most confusing of all is what sometimes follows all this blather about how wonderful and pure and amazing the stuff is.

  • for external use only, do not swallow
  • discontinue use if rash or irritation occurs or worsens
  • avoid contact with eyes
  • keep out of reach of children

If there is truth in advertising I think it’s mostly of the stretched variety.  Now I realize there is no point in complaining if you aren’t willing to come up with positive changes. So here is an example of something  I would like to see on my bottle of conditioner.  “Regular use ensures that your hair will no longer stand on end, crackle with enough static electricity to light up a dark room, or have the potential to set your sheets on fire.”

Come on, admit it.  You would for sure buy that.

 

 

Improving History

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I was going to make a list of all the things that are just so incredibly wrong with this vintage ad, but rather than stay up until midnight doing that, I decided to fix it up instead.

In her next speech bubble our lady of the initial-shouting-words makes everything right by telling us this.

Don’t come to the wrong conclusion! Read on to discover the three things thousands of skinny girls have learned!

  1.  Ironized yeast tastes pretty disgusting.

  2. People who catch a glimpse of you and immediately run away have far more serious problems than you do.

  3. No matter how much weird shit we choose to consume in the interests of altering our physical appearance, it’s almost certainly guaranteed that in just a few weeks, these three guys will still be assholes.