orange.

I’d sighed earlier at the half-read “Box of Butterflies,” by Roma Downey. Rather than re-shelve, I re-homed it to my priority chair-side reading table.

Because, 1. it was only/already half-read and 2. it would be a light enjoyable distraction because 3. I was giving up on the missing missive.

To feed my belly, there was a quick reheat of lemony chicken and roasted zucchini with garlic. To feed my soul, I dragged a zero-gravity folding recliner, my lunch and the book outside. For while I was pleasantly afternoon porch-sitting in the shade of my massive oak, enjoying the lovely light breeze.

Readings, prayers and stories blended, touched me, encouraging an emotional urge to sad-cry. Though, not something I do much, I also don’t reserve them as a resource. No, my tears map; mostly chartered for overwhelming frustration or anger.

When I do give into melancholy, I self-console it’s not entirely squandered time; there is scientific data on the toxin expelling benefit of tears.

To be sure, my dead-end searching contributed, but the reason was indeed sadness.

Yep. I wasted a solid thirty seconds pity-partying, which is a bit of significance. If you’re inclined, go ahead and time thirty seconds. It’s a lot longer than you think.

I sniffled, wiped my eyes and closed them just for a moment being miserable and thinking about Jeff. And, then, everyone gone.

I blotted to remove the refractory glare of still welled tears, Un-smudging my glasses, I began again (because I can’t not finish a chapter, or a song for that matter.)

Soft-stop blink-leaking, something glinted peripherally. I expected to see Blu and his shiny gold collar tag at the screen. When I am out and he is in, HBlu’ll check where I’m at, what I’m up to and yell at me to let me know he’s monitoring. I say hello, tell him I’m fine and he lumbers back to his most recent favorite indoor spot.

I was surprised it wasn’t Sir Harley. It was a flitty thing.

It took another swipe-rub and a second sweep to determine it was a butterfly – in orange.

The flutter-by stayed around a bit. Dipping, rising, dancing for fifteen seconds or so, until the gusty stream took it wherever it was going next.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Orange was my father’s favorite color.

Then, I couldn’t help but frown.

Quote for the Week:

Quarancat-thing

This is Tigger-Lilly.

She started showing up after the only-one-time baby striped thing. The big orange cat has only been by once since TLilly planted herself on the porch.

Tigger’s been routine for a little over a month now. Based on loose evidence, I’ve deduced she is a girl. But, then again, Jeff thought Miss Fred was a boy at first, and he was more familiar with animal anatomy than I am.

This golden tortoise-girl is ear-clipped and collar-less. I suspect she’s somewhere between 9 months and a year, a homeless catch-and-release or hopelessly lost. A shake or an itch will create a Pig-Pen dust cloud. There doesn’t appear to have been any weight gain since I’ve been feeding her, so two homes seems unlikely. I’m also light on the feeding, twice a day. She eats quickly and over-eats to the point of regurgitation if she’s not monitored.

It’s taken three weeks for her to stop jumping away if I breath too loudly, tap my foot or swat at a bug.  She still bolts when I open the door, keeping wide berth, then coming closer again, carefully.

Lill’s way more interested in Blu than me, steadily seeking out his feline companionship, showing no fear – she knows he’s her kind. She follows Sir Harley and I on our weather-permitting, early morning garden walks, jabbering away the whole time. On our way back around the house, she gets louder, mewling impatient tones of “c’mon!” and demanding breakfast.

Blu is alternately ambivalent, jealous, stunned. He’s only territorial now when he remembers to be. She is patient, and forewarning; always announcing herself if she is behind him, always rolling over when she is in view. Her up-front-ness and squeaky approach have greatly reduced HBlu’s confused fused hiss vocal dying-zombie protests.

In the last few days Miss Lilly has eaten from my hand, let me scratch her back for 10 seconds while she ate and has owningly hit my legs with drive-by’s.

She’s persistent with Blu. I’m persistent with her. And, thankfully, Blu is less consistent in his affront.

I’m anticipating it will take at least another month of being/working with TL for her to not skitter. It’ll probably be another few weeks past that until she stays close enough for long enough for me to consider trying to secure her to a vet.

I don’t think we’d have any progress if I wasn’t working from home with a later schedule now, as well.

So, there it is: a happy quarantine thing.

Quote for the Week:

I Didn’t Have Any of That So… (Sweet Nothing but Something; Desperation Dessert.)

I giggled because… yes.

You may have never heard about this COVID Cuisine adventure, but a friend FB posited: what is one of the weirdest food combinations that you’ve eaten during sheltering?? (be honest. lol)

I’ll tell you what I told her. It’d be completely dishonest for me to claim my COVID cuisine concoctions differ from my regular, um, creative cooking.

Honestly, though. About a week ago, I stared longingly into my cabinets of mostly health. My general rule is – if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it.

In any case, my jumble of left-over baking bits was mostly from Christmas. 2019.

I had to bring up the stool to reach the high shelf where I put all the should-be-inaccesible temptations. I found partials of: graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, vanilla, brown sugar, self-rising flour, regular flour, a box of vanilla pudding, a1/2 bar of Bakers white baking chocolate, two different types of cocoa powder and three different types of sprinkles. 

Among the rediscovered hidden treasures were Tastefully Simple brown sugar salt and blueberry vanilla salt. I was also in possession of an overripe banana, cream cheese, almond milk, butter, two baby apples, honey roasted peanuts and sour cream.

Considered seemingly viable choices lead me to a dismal Google exploration conclusion.

I had almost all the ingredients to make something. Unfortunately, these particular ingredients made nothing. (Nothing normal, anyway.)

Banana Pudding? No wafers

Banana Bread? Not enough bananas.

Cheesecake? No eggs or heavy cream or any type of cream.

Chocolate chip cookies? Sigh, no eggs.

Apple cobbler? No white sugar. Besides the pitiful apples might not even make a cup, leaving more cobbler than apple.

S’mores? No graham crackers, but I did have a couple cups of pre-crushed crumbs.

Where my mind went after about an hour of recipe search:

I can almost make a cheese cake. I don’t have eggs, but I do have an overripe banana. Didn’t I read somewhere once that bananas could replace eggs? Hmm. Suppose I mashed the fruit to replace the eggs? Mashed banana has a tighter consistency than eggs, so it seemed logical to me. Plus, banana cheesecake didn’t sound too bad.

Suppose, I added some chocolate chips? Ooo, banana chocolate chip cheesecake! “Now, we’re getting somewhere,” I announced to Blu. I received a yawn and a “why-did-you-disturb-me?” slow blink of indifference. “Maybe not,” I thought.

“Well, how about a S’mores pie?” If I used the vanilla pudding and powdered cocoa, made a graham cracker crust and plopped some chips and mallows on top? Maybe. Then, I had second thoughts about making a pie because I’d have to eat it. All. By myself.

Aha! I can make mini cakes in my 6-cup pan. There’s some portion control, right there. So, that’s what I did, sort of.

I made graham cracker crust cupcake shells. While those were baking, I slid back to the cheesecake idea. Yeah. That was it. The perfect tasty experiment. I mean, you know, all the pieces were yummy, so…. Banana Chocolate Chip Almost No Bake Cheesecake.

On my quest, I’d come across a tip that indicated using marshmallow fluff in a cheesecake batter helps it firm. I didn’t have any of that. I did have some humidity-melded marshmallows and the forethought to halve the closest recipe I could locate.

Crust (from the box): 1.25 cups graham cracker crumbs, 4 tbs butter

Filling (adapted): 4 oz cream cheese, 1 mashed overripe banana, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla.

Topping: 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Because that’s all I had.)

I placed each graham cup in one of 5 Pampered Chef small prep bowls. Remember, portion control. I planned on eating the 6th.

Flopped some filling in each, sprinkled chips and considered. Seemed to be lacking something. I still had a hankering for s’mores. So, a glob of mushy marshmallow landed on top.

When I was done assembling, a 15-second microwave run heated the taste-test. For some ridiculous reason, I saw the bowl of gooey goodness and decided to  mix it all up. It wasn’t baaaaaddd. There just weren’t any clear-cut flavors, and the brownish, lumpy presentation was lacking. I ate it.

I tried being a bit more reasonable on Sunday. Heated for same 15 seconds, let cool for a minute and spoon scooped through the layers. There’s no logical reason why it tasted so much better. In fact, I ended up eating two on Sunday. Not back-to-back, though. Portion control.

I’ve got this one on the counter waiting for me to nuke after I finish blogging tonight.

Quote for the Week:

Quarantine Things + A Quarter & A Carrot

  1. According to Imperfect Foods a “conventional carrot” is roughly the size of three quarters round, and equally lengthy as a 12 oz squeeze of honey. Bonus size veggies make me happy to help reduce food waste.
  2. When it comes to HBlu’s cuddle customs– one of us is usually more comfortable than the other. However, Sir Harley of Perpetual Surprise has the most gorgeous saucer greens, so I indulge him.
  3. Fu played “Whatev” for 30 points. Words with Friends seriously isn’t Scrabble.
  4. Oddly, COVID-19 spurred the musical creatives of social media to happily offer personal glimpses, unlimited private room shows and surprising collaboratives.
  5. Food folly. My ugly attempt at Bibimbap was tasty. Trying to pronounce the dish left me amusingly Hanson ear-wormed for two days.
  6. Sweet Un-Success. Picture perfect S’mores cups were absolutely faulty and certainly not the recipe’s. Self-rising flour isn’t fab for cookies. Or Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars, either. Texture/Taste: 2 out of 10. Only because you can’t really ruin a marshmallow.
  7. My bulbs bloomed without my help. I did that which I despise: gardened. Over-grown Hostas are split and scattered. Hopefully, they’ll overtake every open space and everything weedy.
  8. There’ve been a plethora of Porch Patrons. A COVID-19 drop and run Wendy’s Frosty from a friend. A new orange suspected stray friend for Blu. I tried to make him stick around by feeding a bit each evening. Then, one Sunday morning around 10:30 AM in broad daylight…. Harley Blu, bless his heart, thought the black and white fellow was another ‘friend.’ For which I am tremendously thankful.
  9. Having a “Let me try and explain this” attitude which other people analogically completely nailed better and with 100% more humor than I would have, since I don’t find the No-Mask morons humorous, at all.
  10. Finally, 16 weekend hours of multiple Acrylic-Pour art fails – last minute salvaged into squared quarter-sized 3/4” mini Rorschach masterpieces with a punch and a skewed eye.

Quote for the Week:

Stay Safe Home Mode

My Foodsaver  and my freezer are my god-sends. So much so, that I truly believe I could go another 3-4 week in Stay Safe mode.

Not quarantined, not anymore self-isolated than usual, it’s pretty much just business as usual for me, except for the shortened commute.

Working from home has taken some getting used to. I’ve always imagined that I’d love it, and I do. The thing is, I imagined it with better equipment.

Downsizing from two huge monitors at work to my tiny laptop has been a challenge. My mini mouse requires a lot more maneuvering. Although, I’m not sure why since I’m sliding over a smaller surface.

My micro set-up unfortunately lends itself to completing one task at a time. I’m more of the handle-it-right-now-if-possible type. Too many windows can be a bit too much for my 5-year oldie to handle and too many layers for me to keep track of.

HBlu’s noticed that opening and closing files to limit electronic desktop clutter requires a lot of clicking.

At least, that’s how I’m interpreting the increase in those huffy cat-sighs while he lounges in the office recliner. Honestly, though, he might be sighing in the lounger because I wouldn’t let him squeeze into that small spot reserved for my mouse and pad. I cleared off the whole other 2/3 of the desk for him. But, no. He must occupy that corner.

Anyway, the point is, still working full days.

Don’t have any more free-time than I had. My 10-minutes-on-a-slow-day roundtrip commute gives me 5 extra minutes in the morning.  Plus, another whopping 5 in late-afternoon.

Still, somehow, I’ve been managing to get up 30 minutes earlier than norm. I made in onto the treadmill 4 out of 5 days before work my first week. A trend I plan to keep up.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve cut down on unnecessary glamour. (wink, wink.) Mascara and lipstick-free isn’t as freeing as I imagined. Being truly comfortable, however, is.

I’ve uniformed into jeans and a t-shirt; a comfy sweater and no-shoes sock-footed feet. I do wear my trusty Fitbit to remind me that good leg circulation is just as important at home as it is in the office.

My super cool two-person office desk has been used more this month than all of last year. Face it, we all sofa and laptop when we can. But, real desk work requires, well… a desk.

Sturdy good-posture invoking chairs have been inspirational. Early morning pre-work workouts admittedly encouraged by the “Gee, shouldn’t these chairs be a little wider in the thighs?” question the slightly sore sides of my legs are asking. It’s really more about the shape and style of the chair, as opposed to, you know an actual ergonomic office chair.

The most repeated online advice for home-bound, self-protective or mandated work-at-home isolation has been to stick to your normal routine.

That’s good advice. Get up, get showered, get dressed, go to work.

My personal advice? Loud music will help you ignore the 4+ hours of springtime edging and weed-whacking, whine and buzz in your neighborhood.

Lessons on Working From Home:2020 03 31 working from home lesson 1 music jakorte2020 03 31 working from home lesson 2 jakorte

ps. recessing from my year of  memories. just seems now isn’t a good time to add to the sadness.