Friday Food. Nostalgia.

Standard

How many times do you smell something cooking or take that first bite of something and you’re transported back in time to a special occasion or your childhood, Grandma’s house or getting a quick bite before a doctor’s appointment?

Whenever we have baked sweet potatoes, pools of melted butter mixing in with the soft, sweet flesh I always think back to when I was sick. I was sitting up in my parents’ bed and on my lap was a plate with a hot sweet potato, butter melting as I mashed it in the skin with a fork. It is the best tasting thing in the world, and it makes me feel calm and better.

Speaking of food when you’re sick, chicken noodle soup is known by some as Jewish penicillin and the ingredients blend together to make the common cold disappear or at least wave away the symptoms so sleep will come.

Chicken Noodle Soup.
(c)2021

Other of my comfort food favorites include:

The perfect grilled cheese. Two to three slices of cheese depending on their thickness. Instead of buttering the bread, I put the butter in the pan as if I was doing French toast. Before flipping, I add more butter. I cover the sandwich with a pan lid until the cheese is perfectly melty. I have also used ghee instead of butter, and this is an excellent substitute.

Perfect Grilled Cheese.
(c)2021

Matzo ball soup. I use a box mix, which says to simmer for twenty minutes. I let it simmer for an hour, at least, sometimes longer. After the first half an hour, I’ll add baby carrots (fresh or frozen), some chives, and leave it until dinner time. Delicious.

Matzo Ball Soup.
(c)2021

Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft. The blue box. (The 7oz. one.) I use butter and not margarine and add milk for creaminess. I could eat this all day, every day, and I am the only one in my house who makes it right. (That’s not me saying it; that’s the rest of them.)

Macaroni and Cheese.
(c)2021

Fruit and Sour Cream. I don’t know when in childhood I started eating this, but it is delicious, and healthy, and comfort food at its best. I cut fresh fruit into pieces and put in a bowl, add sour cream, and that’s it! No sugar, no granola, no nothing; just fruit and sour cream. My favorite fruits to use are: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches. It can be all or some, but the bananas are a must. (I have no idea why!)

Fresh Fruit with Sour Cream.
(c)2021

Inspire. April.

Standard

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

– NIDO QUBEIN

As I contemplated this month’s Inspire post I began with the discovery of this quotation, which led me to the three photos that appear below.

I think this quotation is perfect for this time of year, especially in this second year of pandemic as things are slowly returning to some semblance of normal. Some of us have been lost in a fog of uncertainty and some of us remain in that fog as we await our turns for vaccines, for the return of jobs, the new rules for openings, community gatherings as it becomes safer, and yet, we still wear masks (as we should), we still wash our hands frequently and use hand sanitizer (as we absolutely should), we continue to maintain our distance (as we should), and we’re in a space of feeling the year is passing us by (again).

We need to look at our present circumstances, and then start.

The Easter season is upon us, spring is springing up all around us, Ramadan begins this evening. It’s as if a new year is dawning, and there’s no reason not to treat this time as a new year, setting goals, making choices, smelling the flowers on a few new paths.

The photos below are three places I never expected to be. Having taken the photos is proof that I was actually in those places, but to me it still remains extraordinary that I was actually, physically there. Gazing at these three photos show me the magic that can happen and the magic that is inherently in a place.

The first photo is of Glenariff Falls in Northern Ireland. We found it quite by accident while looking for a place to eat – there is a restaurant behind where I was standing to take the photo. What was remarkable is that our cousins had given us directions to this very place, only we hadn’t realized it until after we’d eaten and went to look for the falls they’d recommended. These woods have a fairy feel and there are reminders of fairies throughout them including in the falls themselves. It was very peaceful and soothing just standing and watching the water fall from the top.

Northern Ireland.
(c)2017-2021

This second photo is just a road sign; however I was glad to get it when we couldn’t get to the town. We were running late to get to our hotel, still about an hour or more away, and it was raining, and at the beginning of a trip we always think there is more time to return than there really is. The sign depicts the longest town name, shortened for the sign as: Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll; also known as LlanfairPG, but known in its full glory as:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrnwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Small town, long name.

Ynys Mon, North Wales.
(c)2017-2021

This last photo is of the Menai Suspension Bridge. We drove across it from the island of Angelsey (known as Ynys Mon in Welsh) to get to mainland Wales and on to our destination. When I traveled alone to Wales in 2009 this bridge was the source of my greatest anxiety. I had truly wanted to go to Angelsey; I had heard of its beauty and there was an ancient cairn that I wanted to visit, but I could not make myself drive over this bridge. I could see it from my hostel along the Menai Strait, and I thought about for the entire three days I stayed there. I’d walk out to the Promenade and stare at the water below the stone wall, and then stare down the strait at this bridge. Every time I thought I might I didn’t. I just couldn’t do it.

As with the ferry that got me to Wales in 2017, this bridge got me to the mainland where I could complete my pilgrimage. I wasn’t driving, but it was still a monumental achievement and it’s part of one of the places that I started.

This mid-April is another new starting point.

Menai Suspension Bridge, Ynys Mon to Bangor.
(c)2017-2021

Covid Vaccine Update – Second Dose

Standard

To read the previous posts on my covid vaccine experience, links are here:

One Dose Down

Covid Vaccine Update

And without further ado, here it is, the post you’ve all been waiting for – ha, ha! I got my second dose of the covid vaccine on Tuesday, three days ago, and I am now able to describe the side effects I experienced.


Three caveats before I share:

1. It’s a little TMI as most medical posts are wont to be.

2. Side effects will vary from person to person and from vaccine to vaccine. You may have these or other side effects not listed or you may have none. I’ve have friends and acquaintances offer both experiences. They can also be mild or severe. YMMV. I would characterize mine as a bit more than mild. Nothing was incapacitating, but I could not do my normal daily routine. If I didn’t already had my physical scheduled for Wednesday, I woudn’t have left my bed. That may have also extended the length of my side effects simply because I didn’t give my body the liquids and rest it needed on that first day after the shot.

3. Side effects will go away. Most of us won’t even notice them. I’m a whiner and a share-er. Don’t let someone’s side effects stop you from getting the vaccine. We’re almost through this and we can get through it together.

Continue reading

Masks or No Masks…No, It’s Definitely Masks

Standard

Earlier in the week, I was standing in the gathering space at church filling in my form attesting that I did not have covid, did not travel, etc, and another parishioner came in and began talking to the usher. After about a minute, she gasped.

“I don’t have my mask! Why didn’t you tell me I didn’t have it on?!”

I honestly hadn’t noticed which is weird because even if I don’t call it out, I ALWAYS notice the people not wearing masks. I guess not always though.

About an hour later, after mass, I went through the drive thru at Starbucks to get a frappuccino. I parked, took off my mask (yes, I wear a mask in the drive thru) and took a sip. Aah. Wait.

It was coffee. It was supposed to be creme based. I don’t drink coffee.

No problem. Starbucks will fix it.

I grabbed my drink and went inside to exchange it. The barista knew exactly what had happened and they were already making a replacement. I thanked them.

A boy and his mom came in and were being helped at the other end of the store, and there was something about the look on his face when he looked over at me. He looked at me, then at his mom.

Oh. My. G-d! I’m not wearing a mask!

I said it out loud. “Oh my G-d! I’m not wearing a mask!” And then added excitedly, “I am so sorry!” I pulled my shirt up over my mouth and nose and my drink was ready at that point so I apologized again, and left.

I was so embarrassed! I mean I wear two masks at church and grocery shopping and one going through the drive thru. How could I forget?

We all have those moments. Just like the woman in church that morning. Just like me later on. It’s been a long year, and we’re almost at the end of it. We can do it and we can gently remind the people around us. I just got my second covid shot, and in two weeks I will be fully immunized. I will still wear a mask in public and probably every flu and winter season from here on out.

No question about it: Definitely masks.

Definitely masks.
(c)2021