Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Lazy Person's Guide to Eggs Benedict

Last week was insane. You might have been able to tell since I didn't post. I had two rehearsals, three performances (two choir and one band), and since our daughter could only be home last week, we had our family Christmas on Saturday-- so all the shopping and planning and etc. But now I'm done with all that and I hope I can just enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

There are a bunch of things I've been thinking about and would like to write about eventually, but it's late in the day today, so we're going with practical advice instead: I am going to pass along my treasured recipe for Eggs Benedict Casserole. You were hoping I would, right?

Dean's family always had eggs benedict for Christmas breakfast. So I tried to continue the tradition. But after a few years of being totally stressed out on Christmas morning with toasting english muffins, poaching eggs, browning canadian bacon, making hollandaise from scratch-- I gave up. There was one year we had bagels with lox and cream cheese and all the trimmings, and I think we tried something else one year.

AND THEN!!! I discovered the Desperation Dinner recipe for Eggs Benedict Casserole. It takes about fifteen minutes to throw together the night before, it bakes in less than an hour, and you make the hollandaise in the microwave, which is almost foolproof. It is now one of our favorite meals, and MadMax requests it whenever he can convince me to do it.

So here you go, just in time for the holidays. This is a modified version of the original from this cookbook. I double the recipe and put one and a half  in a 10x15 ceramic casserole, and the remaining half in a 8x8 pan with no canadian bacon for the vegetarians (it is still not vegan, of course, since it has eggs and several dairy products). The double recipe serves 8-10 people, although around here that has always included several people with big appetites so it might go further with your crowd if you are dainty eaters.

Eggs Benedict Casserole
6 English muffins
10 oz canadian bacon
8 large eggs
2 C milk
two good-sized pinches of salt
one small pinch of pepper
a couple of shakes of powdered onion

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Cut up the english muffins and canadian bacon in bite size pieces and put them in the prepared pan. Toss to evenly distribute. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until the yolks and whites are combined. Add the milk and seasonings and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture evenly over the muffins and bacon. Use a wooden spoon to press the muffins down into the egg mixture so that everything is moistened. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the casserole, still covered with foil, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the muffins are just beginning to brown. During the last ten minutes, make the hollandaise. Just before serving, pour about half the Hollandaise over the casserole, and pass the rest in a gravy boat.

(There may be some standing liquid in various pockets on top of the casserole once it starts to brown--it's better not to overbake this thing, so I usually just blot it up with a paper towel.)

Microwave Hollandaise Sauce:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Melt the butter in a smallish microwave-safe bowl. Let cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Whisk them gently into the butter. Add the whipping cream and lemon juice and stir until combined. Microwave the mixture on high, uncovered, stopping every 20 seconds to whisk, until thickened. Stir in 1 t Dijon mustard. If you have a large mouth thermos, this can be made up to an hour ahead and held in the thermos until ready to serve.

Wisdom of the Hollandaise: every year, every single freaking year, halfway through I think this isn't going to work. But it does. Don't get impatient. Just stand there, set the microwave for 20 seconds, take it out and stir, and then do it again. And again. For about 3 or 4 minutes. At first it looks like nothing is happening. And then it actually gets thinner and you start to despair. And then finally suddenly the top of it will start to look like it's puffing up. Whisk it back down into the liquid and do it one last time. Usually it only takes one more time after the top puffs. Don't overdo it-- remember with microwave cooking, it will continue to cook for a minute or so after you stop, so as soon as it thickens up, stop. (If you keep going, the sauce will break--turn into an oily mess--and yes, I know that from experience.)

There you have it. If the hollandaise makes you nervous, do a trial run a few days before. It really does work just fine, but I admit I've gotten better with practice.

p.s. I could swear I've posted this before but after 15 minutes of searching, I couldn't find it. So for those of you who've been around for awhile, you may have already seen this.

Friday, December 7, 2018

7ToF: take a long ride on my motorbike

1. Here we are again, sim-ply--hav-ing--a wonderful Christmas time!! For better or for worse, I'm one of those who love Christmas. I love the music, and the movies; I get all sentimental as I'm unpacking the Christmas decorations; I love getting Christmas cards, even the family newsletters.

2. But I know not everyone does. So for those of you who bear with the Christmas onslaught with gritted teeth and mounting depression, I hope you can find creative ways this year to get through it. There should be a badge or a lapel pin or a secret handshake so the anti-Xmasers can find each other.

3. This week's interesting read: an article in The Atlantic about parks that allow kids to explore and experiment without adult supervision (it was actually published in 2014 but I just ran across it a couple of days ago). We all assume that the world isn't as safe as it used to be, but the idea of these parks makes me happy. Back in the day, we ran all over the neighborhood, walked to school nearly a mile away, and played with matches (although only after my mom lit a single hair on fire to show us how flammable human hair is). All without adult supervision.

4. But I'm definitely not encouraging you to get nostalgic about the past. In fact, it occurred to me this week that maybe that's part of the problem we're having these days-- all of our visions of the future are dystopian, while we watch endless Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies that idealize small-town rural living as if it were still 1956. I enjoy living in a small town, but I can promise you that not everyone is warm-hearted, generous, and tolerant (for example, me). For every good thing about small town life (and there is a lot that is good), there's a downside. Why can't we imagine an urban future that is vibrant, friendly, positive? I don't know-- no answers, I've just been thinking about this.

5. I bought an Instant Pot when they were on sale over Labor Day weekend, but I hadn't even taken it out of the box until this week. I've made a couple of things with it now, and I'm impressed. It's definitely not instant-- you still have to chop onions or whatever, and the cook time that the recipe specifies doesn't include the time it takes to come up to pressure, or to release pressure when you're done. But it does all happen in one pot, which makes it seem simple. I think I'm going to like it.

6&7. We went to see Bohemian Rhapsody this past weekend. I told you about my love for Queen on Tuesday, and I've written about it before in this post. Also back when I was trying to write novels, one of my favorite scenes I ever wrote was a woman my age who breaks her ankle, and in the backseat of her daughter's boyfriend's ancient car, high on percodan on the way home from the ER, she belts out the entire six minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody. So I have a history with Queen, and I wasn't sure if I'd like the movie, especially given the terrible reviews.

It is easy to pick it apart-- it's more than a little weird that Brian May and Roger Taylor were involved and they made themselves out to be pretty blameless; the costumes look like something you'd see at your office 70s party, and could they not afford decent wigs? And why would you make Freddie's teeth worse than they were in real life? I was never able to forget that Rami Malek had a mouthpiece in. Good grief.

And then I came home and did some fact checking and discovered that it wasn't all that accurate. I loved Queen's music, but it was back in the days before the internet, so I didn't really know that much about them. You couldn't google "What is Freddie Mercury's real name?" and get an instant answer back then. They definitely played fast and loose with the facts and the timeline in the name of creating drama where there wasn't any--Queen never really broke up, and in fact had been touring together right before Live Aid; Roger Taylor put out a solo album before Freddie did; Freddie's AIDS diagnosis was probably a couple of years after LiveAid.

So I don't know what to tell you. In spite of all those reasons not to like it, I had a great time just listening to Queen's music on a massive sound-surround system for an hour and a half. In fact, I'm thinking about going to see it again. But if you don't like their music, it probably won't change your mind.

Have a great weekend. Stay warm out there -- we were down to single digits this morning.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

You Light Up My Life! You Give Me Hope! to Carry On!

As you know, I was raised Evangelical, and I spent a considerable amount of energy in my twenties extricating myself. Evangelicalism (the way I experienced it) is a closed system. When you're inside, it makes perfect sense. You can build elaborate thought systems within Evangelicalism and it all works. Or maybe you never think about theology at all because everyone you know and love is in there with you, so there's no need to ask questions.

But then somehow you get a peek at what's outside (possibly because the whole edifice is starting to crack). And if your brain works like mine does, you start investigating it, because you can't not do that once you know there's more out there. And before you know it, the whole thing has fallen apart. You can't go back, because you've seen outside it, and you've realized how limited it is in there. Why would you want to go back in that claustrophobic little box?

I still know and love many Evangelicals, though, so I am never able to leave it entirely behind. Weeks will go by when I don't think about it at all, and then there will be weeks like the past month or so where everywhere I turn, I'm surrounded by Evangelicals.

Sometimes this is good--it reminds me why I love so many Evangelicals. And to be honest, I feel at home among Evangelicals. I'm pretty liberal as far as politics and theology go, but I'm a conservative person. I don't like to party and never have. I've never used recreational drugs of any kind. I can have a really foul mouth when I'm angry, but most of the time I don't swear much. I've been monogamous since I started dating Dean when I was 20. Among Evangelicals, that would be unremarkable. In a group of people who were raised in non-religious homes, I look like Debby Boone.

So it happens sometimes that I find myself hanging out in person or online with Evangelicals and enjoying it. There's no chance I'd ever go back to Evangelical theology, but it makes me remember what I miss about the kind of closeness that is fostered by hanging out with like-minded people. And I get lulled into thinking, hmmm, really we're not that different.

Until some touchy subject comes up, and then I realize, OH. OOPS. Nope, this is not working for me. NOT AT ALL. In the past month, this has happened in three different online situations I've been following-- an online bookclub and two podcasts. We're going along just great, and I'm thinking, hey! wow! this is working! And then suddenly it's not. I can still listen/read there, but I'm no longer under any illusion that my opinions would be acceptable to them.

On a slightly tangentially related topic: here is a story from my past that I remembered while I was hanging out with the Evangelicals recently. I've mentioned the Popcast before, a podcast about pop culture whose hosts Knox and Jamie are sharp and funny, and also clearly Evangelical, although they aren't preachy.

They started a discussion thread on Instagram recently about crazy things you did growing up because you thought God would want you to. Like praying for David Cassidy to be saved (although Knox and Jamie are probably too young to have any idea who David Cassidy is), or burning a book of horror stories in a sudden moment of conviction that Jesus wouldn't want you reading that stuff.

It reminded me that when I transferred from a Christian college to a secular university for my last two years of college, I destroyed my beloved cassette tape of Queen's album The Game because I thought if I had that music, I would be a bad witness for Christ.

Yes, I did.

Just wanted to get that out there, because on Friday one (or maybe two) of my Things will be about going to see the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. I don't have anything all that interesting to say, but this post is already long enough.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Friday, November 30, 2018

7ToF: November podcast roundup

This is going up late, which most of you probably won't even notice, but if you did, apologies. I wrote almost two entire posts yesterday but they were both so meandering that I decided to spare you. Either I'll work on them and repost them, or I'll ditch them. By the time I'd finished those, I was out of ideas. And by the way, this got really long and wordy, so save it for when you have time.

1. The only podcast I listen to every week, usually on the day it comes out, is What Should I Read Next, a podcast for readers hosted by Anne Bogel. Highly recommended. Of course some episodes are better than others, but I have yet to listen to a bad one, and the most recent one with book recommendations for Christmas gifts was great.

The rest of these I listen to whenever I need to pass the time on a drive or whatever, so some of them are old episodes even though I only listened to them recently.

2. Happier podcast, episode 185, Create a Facts of Life Book. Gretchen and Liz, the hosts, recommend putting together a document or a notebook that has all your accounts and passwords and whatever information your surviving spouse or children or executor would need if something happened to you (I created a spreadsheet because I loooooove me some spreadsheets). I've been meaning to do this for years, so it was an excellent reminder. They have lots of good tips in this episode and then more ideas from their listeners a couple of episodes later.

I'm the one in our family who handles most of the financial stuff, so it only took a couple of hours to put it together. But if I'm in an ICU for ten days somewhere, or some unspecified worse scenario, it will enable someone else to step in and figure out what bills are on auto-pay, which ones aren't, what automatic online subscriptions we have (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc), where our long-term care insurance is, or whatever else they need to know.

3. The funny thing is, though, that I was really paranoid about it. I did it the day before I was leaving on a trip, and I had this freakishly unshakable feeling that if I did this, I would die on the trip. So if you have a similar feeling, I am happy to report that I have been on three trips since then-- one solo, and two with Dean-- and I am still alive and healthy. It was really weird how strong that feeling was. The only thing that got me to push through it was thinking, well, if I really am about to die, then this really is necessary.

4. On the By the Book podcast, the hosts Kristen and Jolenta read a self-help book and try to live by it for a week, then report back on how it worked (so you listen to two episodes to get the full report). I find them somewhat annoying, because they often gleefully bash books that have been helpful to thousands of readers and then get their feelings hurt when people bash back. (What did you expect?) But, on the other hand, they usefully summarize the contents of various books, so I don't have to read them, and that is a total win. And also I usually agree with them when they're bashing, so it's not so bad (their episode on The Secret was hilarious).

5. On their August 16, 2018 episode, they read a book called The Curated Closet, about figuring out what to wear and how to organize your closet. I almost didn't listen to this one, because as you know I've already obsessed about closet organization and decluttering, and I am not one to think much about what clothes I wear beyond do I have a clean pair of jeans, but it ended up being pretty helpful. The author recommends pulling your favorite outfits out of the closet, the ones that are the most comfortable and make you feel most like yourself, and then figuring out what makes them work. Then once you've got that figured out, clear out the stuff that doesn't meet that criteria, and more importantly don't buy anything new that doesn't fit that criteria. I haven't actually done this yet, but I've thought about it a lot and it has been useful. Also it has helped me avoid making a couple of recent purchases that I probably would have otherwise.

6. I'm still listening to Enneagram podcasts. I'm less enamored of the system than I was at first, because that's what happens, I think. At first, it's so helpful and it explains so much, and then the more you dig into it, the more you start realizing some pretty unlikeable things about yourself that you'd been blind to before. That has helped me understand why it's so popular with Evangelicals these days (even though it's not at all bible-based), because it's like the doctrine of original sin. If you dig down far enough, you are bad.

That's not the only way to take it, of course, but certain Enneagram experts really do take it that direction (no surprise, the books by Evangelical authors are most likely to do this). But I can't tell you how helpful the Enneagram has been for me, as someone who approaches life through their intellect, to get a handle on certain things about myself I've never understood. I'm in an entirely different place than I was a few months ago when I wrote this post, and although there are several reasons for that, the main one, I think, is the enneagram studying I've done. Podcasts to try: Enneagram for Idiots (lots of NSFW language, but fun and interesting), Typology, and Conscious Construction.

7. I've just recently started listening to The Liturgists, which has three hosts who discuss Christianity from an informed and non-dogmatic point of view. Their third episode on reading the Bible was fascinating. And they just recently completed a five-part series where they asked various people, "Do you identify as Christian? Why or why not?" So far, highly recommended.

Well, this got pretty long and wordy but maybe it will give you some good ideas for podcasts that might interest you. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I woke up way too early this morning

Many years ago, when I was in my early twenties and still on the fringes of evangelicalism, I was in a bible study made up of grad students. Most of us were there as part of a couple, but there were 3-4 single people, too. We'd been together for several years when one of the single people bravely spoke up one night about how difficult it was to be a single person in our group, because we all "coupled up" whenever there was a pause in the study.

It was my first adult experience with being confronted with an unconscious practice on my part that was hurting someone else and making them feel left out. I had the classic responses: denial (you're imagining it), we didn't mean to hurt you (#notallcouples), etc. But she was someone we all loved and valued, and eventually we got our act together, realized she was right, and changed.

I'm lucky my first experience with that sequence of events was a relatively minor thing, and so easily remedied. It gave me some early experience with how to handle similar experiences, because it still happens: oh, it can't be that bad. You must be imagining it. Well, even if it's true, we never meant to hurt you. (we! you!)

I'm reading Austin Channing Brown's book I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. The title says it all. I'm moderately woke, as they say. I can't claim any more than that, but I'm lucky to have had some experiences and some teachers (in the form of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and actual teachers) who have helped me see my own blind spots.

But reading Brown's book, and the other memoirs by black women I've read this year, has opened my eyes to a whole new level of understanding of our culture and the biases that still live within me. It's difficult for me to admit that the current administration has any positives, but there's one: it brought out into the open the festering wells of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and misogyny that have been building for years while those of us who cared thought we were past all that. Surely all that was left was fixing up the window dressing.

I think many of us who are progressives have been completely blindsided by the tenacity and virulence of our culture's attachment to The Way Things Are. I thought that given enough time to wake up, it would be as clear to social conservatives as it was to me that things needed to change. It was just a matter of helping them see, and once they could see, they would work as hard for change as the rest of us were.

But I didn't realize the power of the power structure. I didn't realize how tightly we would hold on, how defensive we would become, how bitterly we would object to change. There's a guy we studied in my intro-to-theory class in grad school (Althusser? I no longer remember which guy it was, but it was a guy, for sure) who theorized that none of us have any free will at all, we are all just "subject positions," expressions of our culture, acting out whatever the group-think needs to perpetuate itself. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous and extreme. Now it makes a lot of sense.

Sorry. It's 4:30 a.m. as I'm writing this. I forgot to write a post yesterday since we didn't get back from our trip till Sunday night and I was out of my usual routine all day yesterday. When I woke up at 3am, I opened my kindle expecting to drift back to sleep as I usually do. I picked up where I left off on I'm Still Here, and now I can't go back to sleep for outrage and sorrow. Her writing is remarkably free of bitterness and revenge, but it's not an easy read. Read it anyway. We have to wake up.

p.s. this has been a difficult post to word, because at the same time that I identify as "progressive" and as someone who is in favor of change and has been for a long time, I know that I still have work to do on myself. Sometimes I am they/them. Hence the awkward wording.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Best Laid Plans and all that-- Happy Thanksgiving!

I had planned to schedule two posts for this week while we're gone, but it's Monday afternoon and I can already tell it's not going to happen. So here are some pictures, one of the view to our south (carefully aimed so you can't see any houses), and two of our cat being a mighty huntress.

I hope you have a lovely holiday full of whatever you are thankful for-- food, family, football, and maybe also some things that don't start with f.  I am thankful for my readers. I'll be back next week.

Friday, November 16, 2018

7ToF: how much of this stuff can I take?

1. I had a bad migraine today (as I'm typing this, it's Thursday), so I'm not sure I'll make it to seven things today. But I'll give it a shot.

2. I've been having a lot more headaches than usual recently, which-- to be honest-- sucks. Plenty of people have worse health problems than I do, so I'm not going to complain too much, but when you have a headache for ten days in a row, it's hard not to get frustrated. And it's hard not to spend entirely too much time trying to figure out why. My usual is 1-2 headaches a week, and just a few months ago, I went nearly three weeks without having any headaches at all, so I know it doesn't have to be like this.

3. So I'm thinking about hormones again. I don't think I have many (any?) male readers right now, so I can be snarky and say I used to think it was unfair that women had to deal with hormonal issues so much. But we've been watching various sporting events recently and there are endless commercials about male hormones and testosterone supplements, so now I'm thinking eventually things even out.

4. I had a rough time with peri-menopause and menopause, including terrible migraines (much worse than now). But things got significantly better when I started using over-the-counter supplements like black cohosh (sold in combination with other herbs as Estroven and Remifemin), Dong Quai (a chinese herb that is supposed to balance female hormones), and a progesterone cream.

5. But you're not supposed to take them forever, so for the past couple of years I've been gradually phasing them out. The cream was the first thing to go. Last spring I stopped taking the dong quai and started cutting the Estroven tablets in half. This fall I switched from Estroven to Remifemin, which seems to me to be a little less potent (ymmv).

6. Now I'm wondering if I need to just stop taking them entirely. As someone who is headache prone, it's hard to tell if my recent increased headaches are because I'm taking too much of something, or not enough. Either way, my body would respond with headaches (I know that from experience). The only way to find out is to stop taking them entirely, but the last time I tried that-- last January-- it turned out to be premature (resulting in--you guessed it-- bad migraines). Maybe I could try every other day? Maybe I should stand on my head and hold my nose and take a quarter of a tablet? I swear that's what it feels like sometimes as I try to figure this stuff out. If you have any advice, please please let me know.

7. This isn't really seven things, obviously. I'm just numbering paragraphs. So let me see if I can think of something entirely different for #7. OK, here is something I haven't told you. We took advantage of one of the many pre-Black Friday sales to get a new TV. Our old one was at least 10 years old, did not support HD, and was pre-smart TV. The new one is not that big compared to what's available, but it's considerably bigger than our old one, and the picture is an order of magnitude better. I like it. So maybe we will spend the weekend watching movies.

There. Made it. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

thinking about meditation (again)

Things have been a bit stressful around here recently. It's odd to me that the moments when it would be most useful to meditate, when I am most in need of calmness and serenity, are the exact moments when it doesn't occur to me to meditate. At all. As in, days will go by while I am wound so tightly I can barely sleep before it occurs to me-- huh. Maybe I should try meditating.

Last week when things were finally starting to slow down a bit, then I started meditating again. I've told you before that I'm terrible at the actual act of meditating. I'm lucky if I can quiet my brain for 30 seconds, let alone five or ten minutes.

But there are two reasons I keep doing it: one is because even though meditating feels like a fail while I'm doing it, I often feel the effects later. It seems pointless at the time, but if I can just sit there and let whatever thoughts and feelings I have wash over me, later on in the day, I will feel a perceptible drop in my stress level.

And the other reason is that meditating has taught me the trick of stepping off the hamster wheel in my brain. I may not be able to get my brain to stop, but I can create a little bit of space between me and the non-stop activity. I can back away from it and watch. Wow, look at that thing go.

Because go it does, all the time. (That's one of the reasons I read-- I know I've heard other readers say this, too. A really absorbing book distracts my brain, tricks it into resting.) And that trick, that ability to step off the hamster wheel, has been a lifesaver for me. The more I do it, the more I practice, the easier it becomes.

Except, apparently not when I'm really stressed. Then I forget all about it.

Anyway. Thinking about this got me back into investigating meditation again, so I've been listening to podcasts and reading Mark Epstein and Pema Chodron, and as sometimes happens, I heard/read several times in the space of a week different meditation teachers reminding me that we are all human animals. And as animals, we are first and foremost, before anything else, creatures-- the same way that a giraffe or a spider or a trout is a creature.

One morning as I read something along those lines, I happened to look up and see our dog, who can be the most irritatingly manic canine on the planet when she has a tennis ball in her mouth, looking calm and alert as something caught her attention out the window. 

Calmly alert: Sadie, meditation teacher extraordinaire
She sat there, in that same pose, for five minutes or so, completely calm, but also completely focused on whatever she was looking at. I'm not sure I could do that. #goals

Friday, November 9, 2018

7ToF: Backpedaling

1. I'm scrambling for post ideas, so I'm letting us all off the hook and ending the daily posting. I have no idea what I was thinking. Next week, back to the usual Tuesday and Friday, although I may miss a few since we are traveling for Thanksgiving.

2. Yup, that's right-- for the first time in more than twenty years, we are heading to Texas for Thanksgiving. We had a miserable experience traveling with toddler PellMel a very long time ago, and decided that it was not worth the trouble to fly over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But for some reason this year we decided to do it. I'll let you know how it goes.

3. After seeing a reference to them on ArghInk, I've been reading Catherine Aird's Calleshire Chronicles mystery novels. I'm only on the third one, but so far, very fun, very British. The first one was published in 1966, but the most recent one came out in 2016. According to Google, Aird was born in 1930 and she is still alive. Part of the interest for me is seeing how much things have changed--sometimes it's hard to remember what things were like pre-Internet, pre-cell phones, pre-feminism, pre-NCIS.

4. Bodily concerns: In this post (scroll down to #5), I wrote about my difficulties with finding deodorant that didn't have aluminum in it. Now there is Kopari, a coconut-based deodorant that is hugely popular-- but fourteen freaking dollars. I decided to try it. Verdict: it's OK. I don't think it's worth the money compared to my previous choice Old Spice Wolfthorn (the deodorant, not anti-perspirant-- Wolfthorn comes in both). But Wolfthorn contains propylene glycol, which some people can't tolerate, and Kopari is "all natural," so YOU BE THE JUDGE.

5. To be fair, part of the reason I didn't love Kopari all that much is that I'm not a huge fan of coconut scented anything, unless it is food. Coconut cream pie, seven layer bars, piƱa colada? yum. Coconut-scented candles, hand lotion, or (apparently) deodorant? not so much. So if you love the smell of coconut, Kopari might be exactly what you need.

6. I started wearing my Fitbit again yesterday. It was a busy day, and I took the dog-who-is-not-getting-enough-exercise for a walk, so it was pretty easy to get to 10,000 steps. Today, only 5,000. Not sure exactly what I'm hoping to accomplish with this, but for some reason I thought I'd try it again.

7. Awhile ago I set a goal to start reading books I already own instead of buying new ones. Yeah, well, .... I did OK for awhile, but recently it's been a total fail. I'm afraid I have a bit of a distractibility problem when it comes to new books. You may have noticed. But inspired by Whitney Conard's Unread Shelf Project (on Instagram, @whitconard hashtag #unreadshelf2018), I'm trying again. I have dozens of books I really, seriously want to read waiting for me right there on my own shelves. I may not be entirely successful, but I can try.

Have a great weekend! Read a good book!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Nov 18 Day 8: when the weather outside is frightful

Suddenly it is cold here (the high today was 34), which reminds me of the best bits of cold weather advice I've collected over the years. Some of you will never need this, and then there are some of you who could probably contribute more.