coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Sunday, January 30, 2022


Sometimes I make ice cream. I bought an ice cream maker about a year ago, after watching The Great British Baking Show. It looked easy. It is. Yesterday I made butterscotch ice cream. Oh, how I love butterscotch. There's a story there.

As a teeny bopper in the late 1960's I imagined I was the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother, who died before I was born. Don't ask me why, it was a conceit born of teen frenzy, a countercultural whim. There might have been drugs involved. 

Creating this self-serving fantasy took a lot of creative energy. I picked my mother's brain for information about Grandma. What was she like, her favorite foods, flowers, colors, I asked. Apparently she loved butterscotch. Hey! Me, too. THERE was the proof of our metempsychotical* connection. 

That set me on a path of exploration. Mom made Grandma G's butterscotch pie. If I scraped the meringue off the top and only ate the bottom part it was heaven. When I went to the Dairy Queen I'd order a butterscotch sundae. Also heavenly. When my mother bought butterscotch swirl ice cream, my happiness was near to bursting.  

I no longer believe I am a reincarnated version of Grandma G; however, I do feel connected to her because of butterscotch.

*Yes, metempsychosis is a word.  Do you love it as much as I do?

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Cooking with Grandma

Granddaughter E is 18. I invited her over to make paella. Cooking is a way to spend time alone with her; a way to lure this great beauty over and have her company all to ourselves. 

Yes, we have a paella pan. No, we're not sticklers for tradition. We're Americans, for crying out loud. We live in small town USA, a gastronomical wasteland that would have us exist on fries, hamburgers, and pizza, with an occasional side of coleslaw. We could shop in Orlando, but who wants to drive that far? We make do with what we find at our small Publix. 

I did order saffron and real-for-real paella rice online. We had clams (the only ones at the store still in their shells), shrimp, sausage, and chicken. I confess we used deboned chicken breasts. I know, I know, it should be actual chicken pieces. Most in my family only want white meat, and do NOT want to work hard to eat it. 

E made it, with me hovering nearby. I forced myself to turn away, bellowing "tips" and encouragement, helping her read the recipe, things like that (!). You should have seen her chopping garlic. The kid's a natural.  

She took finishing the top as a creative challenge. In her world, paella has a face. Peas are served separately so those who hate peas avoid them, and those who love peas sprinkle them over the top. 

One family member has a shrimp allergy, so Grandpa cooked shrimp separately, too. Like I said, we make do.

Nice job, my luv!

Just before it went into the oven.  

Sunday, January 23, 2022

It's nice to feel cold, for a short while

It's 10:07 am in Central Florida today, and it is only 44 degrees F outside!  The high for today should be 60.  What a glorious time of year it is.  This is really the closest we get to a change of seasons, and I like to enjoy these cool days as much as I can. What a joy it is to put a quilt on the bed at night, to wear cozy socks, to throw on a comfortable sweater.  

My husband, on the other hand, would be happy if it was always warm and sunny.  

I am not writing this to brag, or to irritate those of you who have feet of snow and sub-zero weather to contend with. I remember how hard winter (especially a long, frozen January) used to be when we lived up north. In fact, I often miss the snow and cold during these winter months. I enjoy seeing pictures of the snow.  So beautiful! 

I'm just writing about my day, my life, my thoughts. It's my blog, I get to say whatever I want. I like that, too. 


Friday, January 21, 2022

It boggles the mind

 What I know after living through 4 years of Trump: 

At least half the voters don't really care about the issues, the public good, or the bigger picture. They specifically don't choose their candidates based on logic. They support people who normalize their base qualities. It's an emotional response, not an intellectual one.  

That's why you can talk until you are blue in the face, present all the "facts" and "proof" in the world, and they will not listen. You can't convince people like this because they make decisions based on their belief system, not with their logical mind.  

So how do you change their stance, their views? You present something that grabs them by the heart - challenging their belief system. Be prepared for anger, though. Belief systems are murky and primordial. 

Consider Boris Johnson.  He recently turned off a lot of his avid supporters by being caught doing something as simple as going to a party during COVID shutdown, after telling everyone else to stay home.  

It's a bit more complicated in the U.S., where Trump would never tell people to stay home or mask up, but I did notice that he was booed at one of his ridiculous "rallies" recently for telling his supporters to get vaccinated.  

Many thanks to Steve at Shadows & Light for making me think about Boris this morning.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

How did you navigate the highway of life?

I've never gone to a high school reunion.  I loved high school, but I'm still in touch with most of the people I hung out with back then. If I went to a reunion I'd have to mingle with the people I didn't particularly admire or like. No thanks. Call me bitchy, but you know: Ick!

As a freshman, I ran for student council and won. That's because I went to two different feeder schools in 8th grade, so a lot of people knew me. Name recognition wins elections. I tried to be normal and fit in with the electable crowd. But in all honesty, being normal and acceptable seemed like the death of the spirit. Those girls were all trying to act like adults.  

Towards the end of my first semester, I noticed a group of girls who were less "popular" and more "edgy." They were often in my art classes. They were loud, mouthy, and super damn fun. I chose them! We acted like wild teenagers for as long as we could. Fifty six years later, they are still my friends, even though I've lived hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles away from them since young adulthood.  

Oh, the fun we had. The mischief we caused. It was a hard, frenetic road, but we zigzagged across it until we had kids. For better or worse, children change everything. I'd go into detail, but now I have grandchildren. This is why it is SO important to act like a teenager when you are a teenager. Once you have kids, adulthood never freaking ends.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Oddest Holiday

Tom got a chill on Dec 22nd. The next day he woke up feeling poorly.  By the morning of Christmas Eve, it was clear he wasn't up to celebrating.  Mostly, he had a sinus headache, runny nose, fatigue, and muscle aches. It might have been a cold, but I never got it.  That seems odd.  

We'll probably never know what it was. I tried to get home testing kits for COVID, but absolutely no pharmacy had one, either in store or online. Even Amazon was sold out. On Christmas Eve I tried to schedule a drive through test and was told the soonest appointment was January 2nd. 

My niece had extra kits, so she and her mother (Baby Sister) kindly sent us a kit as soon as the post office reopened, Monday, Dec 27.  It didn't arrive until December 31st.  That was 10 days after Tom first noticed symptoms. It tested negative. But now we don't know if that means it wasn't COVID, if he was no longer testing positive because it has been so long, or if it was a false negative.  

Although he was never seriously ill, we had to assume it was COVID in order to behave responsibly, so we stayed home and didn't spend Christmas with our daughter or her family. I drove the gifts over (fully masked) and left them on their doorstep. They (fully masked) brought our gifts outside for me to transport back to our house. We opened presents over FaceTime. 

If it was COVID, I'm so glad we got vaccinated and booster shots, because he's fine now. We went on a bike ride this morning to try and start this new year out right.  

Happy New Year!