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Posts Tagged ‘I love candy’

Well, I’m a day late and a dollar short and don’t care a WHIT because I am typing this outside in my backyard in the sunshine. It may be – checks calendar – only April 7 but it FEELS like summer, and right now that is a novel and welcome feeling so I’m going to bask in it a bit. There are so few opportunities for good basking, don’t you agree? 

The reason I am late with my dinners this week is because I have hit my semi-annual Dinner Wall and hit it hard. Nothing sounds good. I cannot bear to think of food. Not a single food sounds remotely edible, not even my one true love: tacos. Perhaps I have overdone it on the Easter candy. Although I don’t really think so, because even that sounds repulsive at pleasant. I tracked down a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs at Walgreens (thanks for the recommendation, NGS!) and I have not opened it. That’s how dire things are, people.

Of course, we are once again confronted by the undeniable fact that we must eat to survive, and therefore I need to plan something. (Even takeout sounds unappealing, which is an indication of where I am, food-ily.) (I am feeling, temporarily I’m sure, wary of takeout because I had a Bad Experience at a new pizza place we tried over the weekend. Super crowded, like an endless line of people going in and out; MULTIPLE staff members wearing their masks around their chins; at one point, ten entire customers packed into the narrow vestibule together; MULTIPLE customers not wearing their masks properly. I waited outside, which helped – I could feel aghast without feeling personally at risk. But then I also saw a person pick up a stack of boxes, leave the pizza place for an undetermined amount of time, return with the boxes, and hand the boxes back to the checkout person, and then the checkout person put them back in the warming cupboard. One of the customers said something about the returned boxes, and a different staff person removed them and, presumably, threw them away, while telling the checkout person that you can’t put food that has left the premises back in the warming cupboard and return it to circulation. A learning experience for all. But I think you understand why I am feeling a bit skittish about takeout after that. SADLY, the pizza was really good.) 

In times like these, when NOTHING sounds good, not even cheese and crackers or nachos for beets’ sake, we turn to things we know we enjoy, no matter what. And yet… every single one of my tried-and-true, easy breezy go-to meals sounds revolting and vomitous. Okay. So we shift to meals that provide nourishment only, and don’t worry about the taste as much. And yet… contemplating a plain Jane meat-plus-veg formula makes me want to violently fling a chicken breast into a broccoli patch.

Nonetheless, after much feet dragging and moaning, I have dug up some recipes that don’t make me want to throw poultry. Plus, I badgered my husband into contributing two meal ideas. Let’s ignore the fact that one of those ideas is a food I refuse to eat and the other is out of season.

Dinners for the Week of April 6-12

  • Beer Braised Chipotle Chicken TacosTacos have yet to fail me. And this is a new-to-me recipe, so it has the novelty factor.
  • Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Soba Noodle Salad: This sounds interesting and summery. Let’s give it a shot.
  • Southwest Salmon SaladI can almost get a little excited to eat this. 
  • Fake Shack BurgersThe restaurant food I have missed the most during the pandemic has been A Really Good Burger. We have tried making burgers on the grill and in the instant pot, and – while both have their merits – they just aren’t the same as a thick, greasy burger from my favorite burger place. (Shake Shack, which I am sure is lovely, is not the place to which I am referring.) I just can’t see getting a burger as takeout. I think it would ruin the burger. So when I came across this recipe I thought maybe it would be The Secret to getting the burger I’ve been craving. We’ll see how it goes.
  • Baked Feta Pasta (for my husband) and Gigi Hadid’s Spicy Vodka Pasta (for me): Who am I to deny my husband the experience of a TikTok fad, and myself a meal of delicious, delicious pasta?
  • Persian Pomegranate ChickenThis is my husband’s other contribution to the meal plan. It does not sound appealing to me, but it does sound DIFFERENT, and sometimes different is just as good as appealing. Plus, I am all in favor of encouraging my husband to take part in the meal planning process. The thing is… pomegranates are not in season right now. And also this is a FALL meal. Even though I already said nothing sounds good and so this next bit might sound contradictory: I don’t want FALL meals, I want salads and things we can grill. But! Nonetheless, if I can track down some pomegranate arils and some pomegranate molasses, we will be giving this a shot this week. If there are no pomegranates to be found at this time of year, we will have, instead, Szechuan Stir Fry.

What do you provide for dinner when nothing sounds good?

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Typing that headline I had an image flash across my brain of myself, hovering over an aquarium, tending to a pet crab. That would be something.

Anyway, I continued to be crabby after I posted yesterday. At some point, I noticed that I had a canker sore on my upper gum line. And then I noticed another one on my upper lip right where it touches the bottom of my top tooth. And then as I was readying for bed, inspecting my face with all the critical attentiveness one musters for that act, I noticed that I have SEVERAL pimples. Hmm. Hmmmmmm. 

Aunt Flo no longer visits me each month (because of the birth control I take), so it can sometimes feel like I am delightfully exempt from her whims. But no. I still have hormonal ups and downs and APPARENTLY this is a down. Or an up. I’m not sure exactly what I’m saying but SOMETHING is amiss. 

Well. At least I can be (relatively) assured that the crabbiness will end. At some point. 

Today I went to Target. INSIDE of Target. I have been inside of Target once since last February. That was a Major Life Change, considering that I used to go about twice a month prior to the pandemic. My primary purpose was to buy Easter candy, which was extremely difficult to do via the curbside pickup option. But I also wanted to buy some birthday cards and a few other items – more stainless steel cleaning spray, more soap for Carla’s bathroom, some elastics for my hair (WHERE do they all GO?), some special mouthwash to address the stupid canker sores.

The last time I went to Target, also driven by Need of Holiday Candy, I found the whole experience to be very disquieting. This time it was much better! 

There was a staff member right inside the doors, wiping down the handles of the carts. That was nice, but they were using one of the wipes that used to be available to customers, and I don’t think I EVER saw any indication that those wipes were more than wet pieces of disposable cloth. Perhaps they are different now, who can say. I had remembered to bring my own Clorox wipe in with me, so I used it to re-wipe the handle. (I am aware that the chance of catching Covid from a surface is vanishingly small. And yet I was a germophobe long before this pandemic and my germophobia has, like my waistline, only amplified over the course of the past year.)

The $1 shelves were VERY picked over, as were the shelves that usher you into the store from the entryway. Usually they are stocked with chips or bags of candy or whatever; today they were mostly bare, except for a few dozen canisters of antibacterial wipes and a lone package of PopTarts.

The cleaning products aisles were, while not flush, adequately stocked. There were a few bare spots – none of my preferred wood polish, for instance – but they felt typical of pre-pandemic “needs restocking” levels, rather than “everyone is hoarding this item” levels. There was PLENTY of Clorox spray. And there was a whole new section of shelving filled with antibacterial wipes. (It seemed to me, going through the store, that anytime there were bare shelves, Target filled them with wipes. There were several end caps and mid-aisle shelves with wipes on them.) Including brand-name wipes, like Lysol and Clorox. Perhaps most amazing of all: I walked past them without putting a single canister of wipes in my cart. 

The soap section seemed well stocked. And the new-since-the-pandemic aisle of hand sanitizer was nearly full AND there was even some PURELL, which I haven’t seen in the wild in a year.  

An acquaintance who seems to Know Things said that the Suez Canal blockage might result in a toilet paper shortage, so I did get a package of toilet paper. Just a normal size one – not one of the 85-roll ones. 

As I was walking past the pharmacy, I overheard someone on the phone discussing the GoLytely shortage. (If you don’t know what GoLytely is, you will when you turn 50.) Of course I already knew about the GoLytely shortage – being married to a doctor FINALLY has some perks – but it was amusing to encounter it in real life. Also, I continue to find these random (and possibly totally unrelated to the pandemic) shortages FASCINATING.

Moving along to the grocery section: We did not need a lot of food items (I did just go to the grocery store), but I checked on pepperoni (none), Lunchables (only a handful, and of those, none that Carla would eat), frozen pancakes (YES! I grabbed two boxes), and taco seasoning (none of the canisters in my preferred brand, but plenty of packets). 

I DID find cinnamon bears. They tasted exactly the way I imagined/hoped/remembered they would. A very satisfying purchase.

The bag did not come ripped; I opened it IMMEDIATELY open arriving home, to quench my cinnamon bear thirst even before I photographed the bag for posterity.

I went a little wild in the gardening section. It’s been a long time since I tried to grow lettuce in my AeroGarden (it turns out that, despite my belief to the contrary and my best efforts, I am NOT a person who consumes enough basil and cilantro to make it worthwhile to grow ONLY those things), so I bought two varieties to try. I also saw some little mini tomatoes seeds and a package of sugar snap pea seeds; I have NO IDEA how I will grow them in my deer-infested yard, but I’m going to give it a go.

Then the Easter aisle. 

It was, as expected, VERY picked through. The Easter section takes up two half-aisles (four shelves total), plus a table at one end, plus six end caps, plus a separate row of shelving against the far wall. The two shelves and end caps were nearly completely bare. The table at one end had some items – mainly Peeps and Cadbury eggs – the kind with the goo inside, not the kind with the crunchy candy shell. The aisle with plastic fillable eggs and baking items was picked over but not empty. The shelving on the far wall had a haphazard selection of Easter basket items — Pez dispensers and children’s TV character-themed items — that had been well rummaged.

I was able to get my husband his requests (Reese’s Pieces eggs and Cadbury eggs, the crunchy shell kind) and I was able to find suitable candy for filling eggs for the egg hunt (individually wrapped things like Cookies and Crème bunnies, marshmallow eggs, and some Starburst minis) and for filling baskets (movie-theatre-style boxes of Sour Patch Kids and Nerds Gummy Clusters, some Snickers and Twix eggs, a box of yellow Peeps). 

I made the mistake of picking up and then putting down again the only bag of Cadbury eggs I could find… and then when I went back to get it, another mom had snapped it up. (There were three of us, picking through the wreckage.) I found two mini bags of the Cadbury eggs, and then saw an endcap near the checkout with a whole shelf of the large bags, so I got one of those as well. 

There were ZERO Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs in the store. ZERO. There were some with marshmallow or white chocolate on them – I didn’t really pause long enough to find out the details beyond the fact that they weren’t the Real Deal. And there were a couple of bags of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But NO EGGS. Luckily, I picked up two RPBEs (singles, not bags) at Walgreens the other day. But I am NOT SHARING THEM WITH MY FAMILY.

The main difference I found between Target-from-the-Before-Times and Target now was that the staff situation seemed to have improved dramatically. In the Before Times, it was very difficult to find a staff member at all, and if you spotted one, they were inevitably engaged in a heated and uninterruptible argument with the only other staff member in the store. But now I was approached not once but TWICE by staff people who asked me if I was finding everything okay. I mean, I don’t THINK I looked any more bewildered than usual, so I think they were just being proactively helpful. As I was walking to the checkout, one of the other moms from the Easter candy section called out, “I can’t find my cart!” and two staff people immediately descended upon her and one told her to wait there, she would get the cart for her. The checkout person was very nice and cheerful and non-invasive, AND she very carefully set aside my birthday cards so they wouldn’t get scrunched. It was a noticeable difference and one that I hope sticks around even in the After Times.

The checkout situation, despite the lovely staff person, has NOT improved, however. There were still only two checkouts open despite very long lines, made longer by carts full of Easter candy. I assume. That was the main contents of my cart, at least.

When I got home, I tested the cinnamon bears immediately after washing my hands. Then, later, I tested a Cookies and Crème bunny (delicious, especially the crunchy bits of cookie throughout) and a Hershey’s marshmallow egg (perplexing, with an odd spice taste that I couldn’t place – not cardamom, not anise, but… something). It amuses me, a bit, that I liked the Cookies and Crème Bunny as much as I did. Because I don’t really care for chocolate, the Easter Bunny always put something with white chocolate in my Easter basket. Very thoughtful of the Easter Bunny, really. But I do not care for white chocolate EITHER. It is possible that I like it less than actual chocolate.

In general, I’d say I gravitate more toward fruity candy. But my One True Candy – at least for the past few yearsdecade – has been the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg. No other Reese’s Peanut Butter product can hold a candle to the OG RPBE. 

My husband has said, repeatedly, that Easter has the best candy options. His favorites, apparently, are Reese’s Pieces Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs. At some point, he must have liked Peeps because his mother always sends us more Peeps than a human should possibly own, let alone consume. (But that could be one of those misremembered Mom things; I would hazard to guess that my own mother would say I like white chocolate.)

Carla is easy. She likes anything sweet. 

Now I am interested in knowing about YOUR favorite Easter candy.

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First, a warning: I bought myself a bag of Easter-themed peanut butter M&Ms. They are delicious, but they are the exact shape/heft of a peanut M&M, which means that I am always, every single time, surprised when there is no peanut inside. 

Now, a heads up: Looking up a link for the peanut butter M&M eggs, I discovered that there is something called M&Ms Easter Mystery Mix Eggs, which is a bag full of eggs and some are chocolate and some are peanut butter and some are double chocolate. FYI. There is only so much time left until Easter, so I advise trying them right away to determine how many bags you need.

This week is my birthday and birthday plans are in the offing. We are having not only tacos on The Day, but we are also getting Mexican takeout (including margaritas) on the weekend. AND my husband is making me a lemon cheesecake, which is VERY exciting and also darling (he has never made a cheesecake before! he is also planning to make his own lemon curd! plus he took the afternoon off to make the cake and spend extra time with me!). AND a friend is taking me out for birthday tea (we plan to park next to each other and chat between cars). In non-food fun, I have a Zoom happy hour planned with my high school girl friends; it has nothing to do with my birthday, which is ideal. AND my family and I have an outdoor excursion planned with another family. If we have any energy leftover, I have requested that Carla and my husband and I play games; I bought Clue for this very reason, but we have many other games as well. (Apparently there are TWO Clue movies?!?! Perhaps I will force encourage my husband to watch one or both with me!) I am going to buy some champagne to sip while we play. Should be a lovely celebratory weekend!

Since not everything is about me (gasp), Purim falls during this week, so I will be attempting to make hamantaschen. (They will be filled with apricot and raspberry preserves, per my husband’s request. The recipe makes plenty for sharing with the neighbors.) Also also, I am cooking dinner for a friend and her family one night this week and I am planning to make some chocolate brownie cookies for them. I have already made a banana chip snack cake with the inevitable overripe bananas that accumulate when I try to meet my family’s banana needs; there is no way to achieve an ideal number of bananas at an ideal level of ripeness: I have either too few bananas or far, far too many; they are either mostly green or nearly black. Thank goodness for banana snack cakes, amirite?

It is indeed a food filled week! Which, as you know, is my favorite kind of week.

Dinners for the Week of February 23-March 1

OMG INTERNET NEXT WEEK IS MARCH.

If nothing else, I will start my fifth decade with a full, happy belly. And I will definitely report back on the cheesecake. 

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This morning, as I drove Carla to school, it was snowing heavily – the kind of thick, breathless snow that makes you feel like you are in the center of a cloud, big clumps of snowflakes sticking together, so much snow that you can hardly see anything besides the lacy, dancing white. I love it so, so much. I recognize that snowfall and bitter cold is wreaking havoc in parts of the country that don’t normally experience snow, and of course I feel terrible for all the people with bursting pipes and icicles hanging off their ceiling fans and days without power. And I sure hope that YOU and your loved ones are warm and safe. But I still love the snow. 

This was from yesterday when we had sunshine that transformed the snow into millions of diamonds. Very hard to capture in a photograph.

We did already have a Snow Day this week, which meant that Carla was off two days in a row. In a normal winter, I would enjoy an occasional snow day. But this year… well, Carla has been at home TOO MUCH (for instance, this was our second four-day weekend in a row) and I have nothing left to give. We spent her snow day playing Barbies and Scattergories and otherwise puttering around the house; it was too cold to play outside, sadly. So I am delighted both by today’s snow and by Carla’s being at school rather than here with me. Yes, I recognize that many children are still at home permanently. I have many blessings and in-person school is right up there near the TIPPETY TOP of that list.

I tried some new (to me) candy. In fact, I bought this specific candy for Carla, for Valentine’s Day… but then I also overbought other candy for her, plus my husband brought some treats home from work, plus we made all those cookies. So I put them away for another time. “Another time” being, apparently, yesterday. 

The new candy is Big Chewy Nerds

Photo from my poorly-lit office. This bag did not have an adequate ratio of pink to other colors.

I ate a couple of every color, which is how I discovered two important things: 1. The pink are the best and 2. I do not care for Big Chewy Nerds. In my opinion, they are deeply inferior to regular nerds. 

My husband told me, in advance, that they were similar to Nerds Ropes, so I don’t know why I found them disappointing. I am familiar with Nerd Ropes only because Amazon accidentally sent us an entire box full of Nerds Ropes a few years ago. We ate a couple – enough to realize that 1. The only person in our family who likes Nerds Ropes is Carla and 2. When Carla eats Nerds Ropes, the Nerds all fall off the Rope and get everywhere. We donated most of the box to the local food bank, which suddenly sounds like a mean thing to have done. 

I would say that yes, Big Chewy Nerds are very similar to Nerds Ropes. They are a thin shell of Nerd candy wrapped around a chewy rather tasteless interior. I would liken the interior to gum that has been chewed so long that it is losing both its flavor and its elasticity. Perhaps my expectations were too high; I thought they might be like Chewy Sprees or Chewy SweeTarts or even Chewy Gobstoppers, all of which I enjoy.  Anyway, I saved the rest of the bag for Carla, who will, no doubt, love them. 

(Do you know what the best use for regular Nerds is? Using as an ice cream topping. They are DELICIOUS on a scoop of vanilla.) 

Let us not be deterred from counting our blessings by the disappointment of the Big Chewy Nerds. There are many things I have been enjoying immensely lately, and I haven’t shared any since… late October

Photos from amazon.com

My sister-in-law sent me this hair turban for Christmas in that exact shade of pink. I absolutely adore it. It holds my hair much more snugly and daintily than wrapping an unwieldy bath towel around my head. Plus when I wear it around the house my husband makes fun of me less (though admittedly not zero) than when I plop my hair in a T-shirt and make a turban of that. It has a little button at the nape of your neck, and you fit the button through a loop on the other end and it stays put as long as you want it to. What a time to be alive.

Photo from wikipedia.com

My husband and I just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) and I loved it and want MORE. I know I’m a little behind on watching it, but if you, too, have been delaying, I highly recommend it. The thing that surprised me most about the show – and there will perhaps be very slight spoilers in my explanation, although nothing big – was how nice it was. A person would appear in Elizabeth’s life and I would think, based on my copious TV-watching experiences, aha! that person is going to take advantage of her or treat her badly or Something Terrible is going to happen! And then they/it didn’t! The people in her life were (mostly) genuinely loving, good people who cared about her and admired her and wanted her to succeed! It was surprising and fresh and I really appreciated it. It reminded me of Ted Lasso in that way (although the two shows are similar in no other way except that the each centers around a sport I am unfamiliar with). And don’t get me wrong – just because the people were, in the main, kind and honorable, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t plenty of sadness in the show. But there was also a lot of support and redemption and family-doesn’t-necessarily-mean-related-by-blood kind of goodness. If you were also hesitant because you don’t play/like chess, let me assure you that you need NO knowledge of chess playing to understand/enjoy the show. I’m guessing it might enhance your viewing if you were a chess enthusiast, but I did not feel like my lack of chess knowledge put me at a disadvantage. (If you want an idea of how little I know about chess: the other night I asked my husband, “What are the horse ones called?”)

Photo from teasquared.ca

You know how I absolutely LOVE my Uncle Grey tea from Tea Squared, right? Well, the boxes my husband ordered me for Christmas came with samples of a few of their other teas. I just tried a sample of Lavender Rooibos and it was amazing. Like, so amazing I am strongly considering shelling out $11.50 plus shipping just to have more of it. (It inspired me to buy a box of regular Rooibos tea at the grocery store the other day but it was NOT the same. By a long shot.)

Photo from athleta.com

Yesterday I put on a BRA and JEANS and went to Target like it was 2019 (I had to exchange something and I haven’t figured out a way to do that remotely), so today I am leaning hard into Soft Clothes. My favorite lounging-around-in-yoga-pants sweater is this pranayama wrap from Athleta.  It’s super soft and has pockets AND thumbholes and I just love it so much. I have it in the marl grey heather but the next time I get a coupon I am going to buy another one, perhaps in the chrome blue or the black.

Photo from amazon.com

Carla still doesn’t love to read, which causes me a lot of angst as a book lover myself. I keep telling myself that she just hasn’t found something she WANTS to read. Because I think there is immense value to being read to in addition to reading by oneself, I have encouraged Carla to listen to audiobooks. She has been listening to several Judy Blume audiobooks lately (many of them read by Judy Blume herself!) through our local library, and she LOVES them. I am so delighted by that because I loved Judy Blume books as a kid and, in fact, love them to this day. Carla went through Iggie’s House and Blubber in a couple of days (and we had some really good conversations about racism and bullying and commenting on other people’s bodies). She gobbled up Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. We’ve been waiting for what feels like WEEKS for the next book in the Peter-and-Fudge collection, and I am thinking I might use the delay as an excuse to buy her the box set of the books. Perhaps she will be interested in reading them as well as listening to them? I have always been a re-reader, but I’m not sure whether Carla will be the same or not. Well, we’ll see. 

What are you loving these days?

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Hair

Are you doing your hair as you normally do? I have STOPPED. There is absolutely no point in spending 30 minutes drying my hair and straightening it. Well. I could see how it MIGHT have a point, at some time in the future – if I need to feel Normal, somehow. Or if I have a super-important Zoom meeting (unlikely). This is a time for the least possible exertion, hairwise. My hair is not cooperating, though – instead of settling into beautifully air-dried curls it is still doing what it did in The Time Before, which is drying into drab frizzes that are vaguely curl-adjacent on the right side of my head and straightish on the left side. Very disappointing, hair. We should all be Stepping Up in These Unprecedented Times.

What I have been doing is braiding my hair after I get out of the shower. Usually, I part my hair to the left, but when I separated it into two braids, I parted it down the middle. And immediately remembered that I part my hair left for a reason. Hoo boy do I already have a LOT of grey. Well. It can’t be helped and it isn’t so extreme that I am ready to try an at-home coloring process.

I also remembered why I normally do my hair very simply – braiding is probably one of the easiest hair styles on the planet and yet I can barely do it. I am not talking about French braiding or fishtail braiding or anything fancy. Just a simple three-strand braid. It does not look good, folks.

Clothes

I am not nor have I ever been one of those people who gets fully dressed to work from home. No. Comfort is king. But at least when I had to pick up Carla from school and go to Actual Places like the grocery or Target or Carla’s ballet studio, I would get dressed in real clothes every day. Now… Well, my wardrobe is divided into three primary sections: pajamas (leggings and one of my husband’s old t-shirts), exercise clothes (leggings, a sports bra, and a tank top), and inside clothes, for after I’ve showered (leggings and a sweatshirt or long-sleeved T-shirt). Yes, I have different leggings for each category, and, even though they are all black, I can tell them apart. (The pajama leggings are the softest and loosest.) There’s a seldom-worn forth category: outside clothes (jeans and a shirt which immediately go into the laundry upon returning home). I found A HOLE in one pair of leggings recently, so I may need to expand my attire options at some point. But not now.

Homeschooling

We are on Day 4 of homeschooling – or whatever it is when you are trying to cajole your child into following the lesson plans her teachers have given you – and I am already having to step away and take deep breaths every few minutes. HOW are people doing this with multiple children? And while WORKING? I am ready to walk into the sea.

Shopping

After stalking the online ordering app for four days, I was finally able to get a timeslot for curbside grocery pickup. I haven’t tried this before, and I am expecting that only part of my order will be fulfilled, but I am kind of anxious about it. Will something essential, like milk or taco sauce, be missing? If so, I’ll have to go to the store which I am obviously trying to avoid. Of course, ordering wine is not an option so I will have to go to a store EVENTUALLY anyway.

Passover

In an effort to keep Carla’s Jewish heritage alive and part of her life, I want to observe Passover. But… I feel so out of my element. I am NOT Jewish and a lot of the books we have don’t really explain things in depth. Plus, I don’t really know anything about how to hold a proper Seder and certainly don’t have the right food on hand. Well. I still have a couple of days left to figure things out.

Easter

I found an art supplies kit and a leftover rainbow leopardfrom Carla’s sixth birthday in the gift closet. Plus I have a very small amount of Easter candy I picked up from the grocery store. So I think I can make up a decent Easter basket for Carla. (We have actual baskets, fake grass, and plastic eggs in the basement, because I reuse them year to year.) But I am still FRETTINGabout it. Sure, I could explain that the Easter Bunny is practicing social distancing and so asked me to round up what I could… but on the other hand, I want Easter to be Extra Special because so little is special these days. I have filled my virtual Target cart with candy and books and toys that I can pick up curbside… but I am hesitating. Partly because my husband thinks we have plenty of Easter-y stuff. And partly because I feel really guilty about shopping for non-essentials.

Housecleaning

I think I have come up with a rough housecleaning schedule.

  • Daily: Making beds, unloading/loading the dishwasher, wiping off tables and counters, disinfecting high-tough areas, using the dustbuster to eradicate crumbs, tidying up main living spaces.
  • Near daily: Laundry
  • Monday: Toilets and counters
  • Tuesday: Showers and tubs
  • Wednesday: Break
  • Thursday: Windows and baseboards
  • Friday: Dusting
  • Saturday: Bedding
  • Sunday: Floors

Last week, I taught Carla how to clean the toilets. Yesterday, my husband vacuumed all our carpeted surfaces while I scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors. I hate cleaning but it does make me FEEL better. It also makes me feel better to think about my housekeeper returning someday.

Books

I finished all three books I mentioned in this postand have moved on to Jessica Simpson’s memoir. I wish my library had more Agatha Christie books available via ebook – they have a good number, but not all, and so many are already checked out. I want to read them in order and that is nearly impossible to do. I put MANY of your suggestions on hold through my library website, but none of them have come through yet.

Socializing

I have been very pleased by the amount of socializing I’ve been able to do even while quarantined. Two high school friends and I had a happy hour via Zoom the other day that was really enjoyable. And then my husband and I had a FaceTime date with family friends who were supposed to come over for dinner. I was surprised by how satisfying it was to chat with them – it was nearly as good as being with them in person. Not as enjoyable was the family meetup we did with my husband’s family that lasted for WELL OVER AN HOUR. That is too long.

Exercise

Getting “proper” exercise has been a real challenge. My preferred method is walking on the treadmill for an hour, but when I do that, our internet goes out. So no one in the house can do anything requiring an internet connection, which means I can’t even walk on the treadmill while Carla is “at school” because so many of her “assignments” require her to be connected to Google classroom. (This is completely ignoring the fact that, so far, I have to be IN THE ROOM with Carla the entire “school day” or she wanders completely off track ARRRRGGGHHHHHH.) I have done a few Barre3 videos via YouTube, but it’s not the sameas being in the studio with my favorite instructor. I suppose I should resume using exercise videos, but I am resisting for some reason. Carla’s daily schedule has two hour-long blocks set aside for exercise, which mainly consists of us walking over to a nearby school parking lot so she can ride her bike. I walk back and forth a million times across the parking lot, occasionally sprinting. It’s not FUN but it does a mediocre job.

Food

A lot of people seem to be making new and interesting things during this pandemic, especially bread. My own mother has made two types of bread in the past week and my father made a lemon cake. I have made… my typical rotation of dinners. Carla and I are going to make cupcakes for Easter – she wants chocolate cakewith these bunny decorations. We did a Sprinkle Inventory and do not have pink sprinkles – but we do have purple and gold, so I think we’ll be okay. I have flour and yeast, so I COULD make bread. But I am kind of waiting until we NEED to make bread, you know? Right now, we have a loaf of bread in the freezer and I ordered a loaf of bread to be picked up later this week. Maybe if bread doesn’t make it into my actual shopping bags, I will make some. I have been kind of waiting for an opportunity to make focaccia… maybe this is my chance.

Mood

Friday was pretty rough. Saturday, I wanted to drive my family into the woods and leave them there. And I have been waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 every morning, which is unpleasant. However, I had a pretty decent day yesterday, slept without waking all night last night, and am feeling fairly balanced today. I will take the good days as they come.

 

There you have it. Now give me the updates on how YOU are doing.

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Last night as I was pacing the kitchen, waiting for the broccoli to become “tender-crisp” without plummeting over the edge into “muddy yard waste” I found myself rummaging through the pantry, looking for sweets.

We have a not insignificant amount of Halloween candy leftover from, you guessed it, Halloween, and the miniature gold-edged bag of tiny Haribo gummy bears caught my eye. They were delicious, by the way. I eat them orange first, then yellow, then red, then green, then white. There are far too few white gummy bears, in my opinion.

haribo-gold-bears

Image from haribo.com

I haven’t had a gummy bear in, what, a billion years? No, I can pinpoint it exactly: middle school. Because the instant the first gummy bear broke on my tongue, I was plunged back to the days when, instead of taking the bus home, I would walk to my mom’s office. What a walk, for an 11- to 13-year-old – two miles by car. It must have seemed like a thousand miles by foot. First, I’d cut through the residential area around the middle school, then walk through the park, then up past the cemetery. Then I’d cut through a grassy area that ran behind the football field, cut down a steep hill via some meandering paths that may well have been cut into the hillside by water, then head north through more residential areas to the small business district in the center of town. That’s where my mom’s law practice was, and she’d let me do my homework in the basement law library as long as I was quiet and respectful to the other lawyers.

Now we get to the candy part.

Her office was next door to a donut shop, and for some reason it sold gummy bears in little cellophane bags, cinched shut by red tape. I think you could get an entire bag for a dollar. Maybe it was even less. (Past Me did not know to make a note of it.) All I knew was I had a couple dollars in my pocket and wanted to spend them on candy. I’d sometimes buy a donut and a Sprite instead, or too. Occasionally I’d meet a friend there, and she’d have an Italian ice, which sounded exotic but tasted too much like soda water for my taste.

The law office basement also housed a sort of break room, where I mixed myself coffee and powdered creamer and packets and packets of sugar. Sitting between the sink and the coffee maker was a box of various delights – chips and candy bars and trail mix and the like – that could be your very own by shoving 50 cents or a rectangled dollar bill into a slit at the back of the box. Some days when I didn’t get the gummy bears, or they didn’t fill me up, I’d buy a Butterfinger. Or a Fifth Avenue Bar. I was always suspicious of the Watchamacallit, the confection with the tantalizing commercials that didn’t sound all that great on the package description.

watchamacallit

Image from thehersheycompany.com

In the summer, I’d sometimes spend days at my friend K’s house. We’d ride our bikes or roller blade or giggle over boys. There was a convenience store a few blocks from her house – not that everything wasn’t a few blocks from everything else – and it sold candy by the penny. You could 100 Swedish Fish or 100 Sour Patch Kids for a buck. Which I did, as often as possible.

sour-patch-kids

Image from troyerscountrymarket.com

Is that where I discovered Zotz? Hard candies that exude a sour fizz when you reach the middle. I know I experimented with the chocolate Charleston Chews. And fell in love with Laffy Taffy – and discovered that I despised its cousin, Airheads. Put a king size grape Laffy Taffy bar in the freezer and you had a delicious melt-in-your-mouth snack for days.

Never one for chocolate, I would gorge myself on Pixie Sticks and Lemonheads and Alexander the Grape and the sour apple version of that candy. And also: Jolly Ranchers. Candy corn. Those little wax bottles of sugar water. Lik a Dip, or whatever ridiculous name accompanied the candy spoon you could dip into various packets of flavored sugar.

alexander-the-grape

Image from oldtimecandy.com

Gum was my second choice, after candy: Hubba Bubba and Big League Chew and Crybabies and Fruit Stripe and all the pungent flavors of Bubblicious in the world. (Snappin’ Sour Apple was my jam back then; during car trips, my dad would yell at me to stop blowing bubbles because it stank up the car.)  I loved Blow Pops best of all: the perfect combination of hard candy and bubble gum.

bubblicious

Image from retrocandy.com

In high school, a bunch of kids went through a phase where those sour caramel apple lollipops were “in,” and I must have eaten one every day. Oh! And my best friend and I spent our entire freshman year eating Peanut Butter M&Ms for lunch, alongside our cafeteria-made nachos (chips with a mucousy layer of nacho cheese).

At some point, I became obsessed with these teeny candies called Tart n’ Tiny. (Oh look! You can still buy them online!) And then there was the friend-of-a-boyfriend who got me hooked on Chewy Sprees.  High school was also the site of a chewy peach ring period in my life.

In college, my then-boyfriend (now husband) brought me some candy from Europe that looked like fried eggs: the yolk was a jelly candy, the white was some foamy concoction. I’ve been trying anything that looks similar ever since, but haven’t come across quite the right consistency or flavor.

These days, my go-to candy fix is Haribo mini rainbow frogs, which I can get at the local branch of World Market. Sometimes, I’ll go for Nerds. (Especially on top of vanilla ice cream.)  Sour patch kids are still pretty great.

haribo-mini-rainbow-frogs

Image from haribo.com

On the rare occasions I’m interested in chocolate, I choose Skor bars. Or Snickers. Maybe Reese’s peanut butter cups. Or peanut butter M&Ms.

It is a wonder that I still have all my teeth. (And that I’ve had but two cavities.)

 

When I was on my little gummy bear time machine, being transported back twenty-plus years to middle school, I started thinking about how strange memory is. Encounter something out of the blue – something you’ve truly been distanced from – and the experience is transformative. The past ripples in front of you so vividly you might step back inside and resume your years ago life.

But go seeking that thrill of memory? And it fades.

I eat sour patch kids all the time, and they certainly played a much bigger role in my candy-eating childhood than gummy bears did. But because I never stopped eating them, they have lost the tinge of nostalgia.

When my husband and I first moved in together, and had to cook for ourselves, I whipped out all the recipes that I’d grown up with. My mom’s chili, her fried chicken, her mulligatawny soup, and on and on. At the time, it was akin to bringing a piece of my childhood into my adult home.

But now, we’ve made those same dishes so many times… and put our own spin on them, to make them fit our particular tastes, that they are almost unrecognizable as My Mom’s Meals. I think if I were to go to my mother’s house and ask her to make mulligatawny, it wouldn’t taste right. And it wouldn’t taste like childhood. Because I’ve worn it out so much.

Have you ever tried to preserve the past? I have. Years ago when we were still dating, I spritzed a stuffed animal with my husband’s cologne, so I could drink in his scent when we were apart. That elephant just smells… neutral, now. (Well, and it’s now been incorporated into Carla’s collection of plush critters, so who really knows what it smells like.)

I kept the bottle of shampoo we used the first time we (the nurse) bathed Carla in the hospital when she was a newborn. But after a few sniffs, the feelings that used to walk hand in hand with that particular scent, the images of us crowded around a squalling, incredulous infant as a nurse gently washed her skin, have faded.

The songs I’d listen to in the car on the way to work when I was pregnant – they no longer bring back that bursting sense of joy and possibility and fear and wonder and anticipation that they once did.

These tastes and scents and sounds of the past: overuse has corrupted their connection to the memory.

Holding onto things you love, things you enjoy is one thing. But holding onto the past is impossible. Those flickers of time long gone are fleeting. And that’s what makes them so delicious.

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