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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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.

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.

Old Lady Things

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Today’s list was inspired by the temperature outside and a rare bout of insomnia.

Old Lady Things I Am Ready For Already

  1. Bunny Slippers.  Big fat pink ones.
  2. A walk-in sit-down shower.  Ok, I’m not really sold on the sit down part of that yet, but my knee does not like stepping over the side of the bath tub these days.  And it’s not even a very high side.  I’ll be wanting ramps instead of stairs soon.  An elevator would be nice.
  3. One of those robotic vacuum things that bangs around your furniture picking up dirt while you sit on the couch wishing it was less stupid and more thorough.  But if I had one I would likely want to get a cat to ride around on it.
  4. A bunch of flameless candles unlikely to burn the house down if left unattended. With a remote control.  Might as well go all out.
  5. A granny shawl.  Actually two.  One for my shoulders, one for my lap.
  6. A personal shopper.
  7. A personal masseuse.
  8. A chauffeur.
  9. A pool guy.  And yes I know we don’t have a pool.
  10. A tiny home.  I watched a minimalist documentary.  I think I could live that way.  Probably have to give up the pool guy though.

Seriously right now I would settle for just some big ass warm and fuzzy slippers because my feet are freezing.  And I am wearing thermal socks.

This is what my life has become.  I need a nap.

 

The End, or The Beginning

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And that’s when I know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.

(Junot Díaz)

If this quote has a more profound meaning than something like a new year beginning and an old year ending, sorry, its gone right over my head.  You will just have to figure it out for yourself.

I have my own conundrums to sort.  Somewhere back in 2016 I lost my joy of writing.  I would like to find it again. Maybe I lost the joy in a lot of things and that’s the root of my problem in a rather joyless year for the world in general.

But, you know, who the hell wants to hear about all that all over again.

Today my right knee hurts for no good reason and it’s making me sad.  See, this is what I find myself doing.  Complaining to whoever will listen (even if it’s only the little voices in my head) about insignificant crap. And if I were to write down these whiny complaints, that would just magnify shit.  No one needs shit magnified, do they?  So then I don’t write anything at all for a day, or a week, or nearly a month, and that’s easy, and it becomes a habit which gets progressively harder and harder to break.

So here is my brilliant plan for 2017 to blog my merry way to happiness.  Because for me, blogging was once joyous. I’ve set my goal at mildly entertaining for now and will work my way back up.

I have created a new category called “2017 Book of Lists”.  I will make lists of good things.  There are always good things.  If I can’t immediately see the good things I will list the bad things, but only as a last resort.  And only if they are so bad they’re funny.

Here are some good things that happened today.

    1.  I used up the bag of leftover taco hamburger from the freezer.  No one is more surprised by this than me, except maybe for W who is always surprised when I spend longer than 15 minutes in the kitchen.   Normally I freeze leftovers and throw them out once I’m not really sure what they are anymore.
    2. The cheesey potato hamburger casserole I made was edible!  No, you know what? It was GOOD.  Or we were both abnormally hungry.  It could go either way.
    3. I also used up a bunch of apples that had seen better days by slicing them up and covering them with a sort of cake batter before baking them.  It was a nice change from apple crisp.  My mom used to make something like it, juicy sweet moist apple cake, maybe called Apple Brown Betty, but also maybe not.

Perhaps I should have called this a list of FOOD things that happened today.  Whatever, I am off and running, day one done like dinner.

Happy first day of January, what always seems to me to be the longest month of the entire year.  I don’t think filling it up with lists will make it any shorter, but ‘more fun’ is a possibility.  Hey, getting blown up by an asteroid is also a possibility, would you rather have that?  Yeah I didn’t think so.