Thursday, March 14, 2024

Let's Ketchup--Er, Catch Up: The Flu, The Baby, The Experiment, The Siren Song Of Confectionery Snacks


Gosh, it's been a while, hasn't it? To quote one of my favourite lines from The Last of The Mohicans, "Things were done. Nobody was spared." Let's do an Olde Fashionde CatchUp wherein I foolishly use up a whole lot of topics, each of which could have been its own blog post.

(*)The Dreaded Illness--I'm just now feeling better more than a week after coming down with a vicious gastro bug. It left me feeling weak, sore, fatigued, and desperate. Rick got it immediately the day after I did and so did Sam, who lunches here daily. Whenever I get ill, I become irrationally angry. That does not help with Recovery. I also stay impatient to become well. Did I have my regular flu shot? But of course. Did everyone get well before I did? But of course. Did I miss some beautiful walking weather? Please. Upside:  I am about ten pounds lighter. 

(*) Theo!--Theo went on a business trip to Florida and stayed at a resort with his parents. Jordan's company paid for Jared and him to accompany her while she had to be there for meetings, etc. He was, in the words of his father, "a rockstar for the whole trip." Rick and I babysat for him while J&J went to Cleveland for a matinee performance of Funny Girl, and he was perfect:  all smiles, chuckles, and cuddles, and nary a fuss for Nana and Grandpa. He will be four months old in about a week. He is a cute little roundheaded boy and I wish I could show you one picture. Note:  I think I took my first airplane trip when I was about eighteen. Just saying.

 (*)History Bears Me Out--Every so often I just cannot take it anymore and I perform The Experiment, even though I know it's Not Good For Me. Even though I know that all it does is raise my cortisol levels and make me crazy.  I mentioned The Experiment before, in this blog post way back in 2006. It just goes to show you that I don't learn from my own suffering. Anyway, this is a photo of my latest Experiment:

That bag of jellybeans behind the candy jar is EMPTY. Rick filled his candy jar after I went to bed--desperately ill--and left that empty bag there. FOR OVER A WEEK. He looked at it every day FOR OVER A WEEK and did nothing. Meanwhile, I refused to throw it away because of The Experiment and my own Disappointment and Frustration. Which leads me to History, and this article from the Smithsonian Magazine, which is titled What Is the Dominant Emotion in 400 Years of Women's Diaries? I bet I don't have to tell you, do I, Women At Large? Hint:  It is Frustration.

(*) Warning! Do Not Ever Make This--Remember how I made Christmas Toffee with mini pretzels and said I was going to try it with potato chips? Well, I did. 

Do not do this. Do not use Wavy Lays to capture every bit of the buttery, brown sugary wonderfulness. And instead of putting the semisweet chips on top of the pan of hot toffee-covered potato chips, do not instead melt the chocolate and drizzle it on. And don't sprinkle a bit more flaky salt on top. Because, after the requisite cooling and breaking, you will sit with the entire bowl of these and eat them ashamedly and continuously. Black Box Warning:  They are the Siren Song Of Confectionery Snacks. 

There. I think you're all caught up. Let's chat in Comments. 


  1. I'm glad you're on the upside of whatever did you in. I'm glad that Theo is such a little charmer. I'm no surprised that frustration is the common denominator across time that unites all women. And I will try to not make that which you told me not to make. However... 😋

    1. Ally--Thanks. I'm feeling a great deal better even today. The brain fog is almost entirely lifted, too. And if you do make that sinful toffee, store it in several different small containers. It's seriously addictive.

  2. I am very, very sorry to hear about the stomach bug. Awful. So pleased you are on the upswing.

    The potato chip toffee sounds amazing. AMAZING. I adore the Saltine version, and I don't even like Saltines. But I love potato chips with all my heart and soul. I wonder how long it will take for the wicked seed you have planted in my brain to blossom at the exact moment I am most vulnerable (in the grocery store)?

    The Experiment. Sigh. I had my own going a week or so ago. Subject failure, as always.

    1. Suzanne--Thank you. It really laid me out. I'm still not at 100%.

      That toffee is evilly good. If you have a basement refrigerator, put it in several small containers down there. Or in a garage. Or in someone else's home. Honestly, it's that dangerous.

      You know, I once read a quote--from a French woman, I think--that says men are forever guests in their own homes. At times, Rick certainly acts like it. He leaves things lie around; he has no idea where to put items when he unloads the dishwasher; after he looks at the mail, he simply tosses it on the coffee or end table; he treats part of the kitchen counter like it's his office. (We have a home office, too, with a desk and everything. He refuses to use it.) I just don't get it. It's a constant sore point between us.

  3. Boo hiss on the sickness! I'm sorry it captured you and kept you there for too long! On the upside, a quickly shoved-in-your-direction diet isn't always horrible afterwards.

    Theo! Yes, I wish you could share photos, but I completely understand; he sounds like a little dream boat!

    The Experiment. *sigh* I had a giggle at this and yes, we are all in the same boat. Probably Mary went through something similar with Jesus and it's continued on from there.

    Nance. Good lord. The chips. The chocolate. I can't. SALT is my weakness. Add sugar to it and I am doomed!

    I'm glad you are feeling better and I hope you're out there enjoy your walks again.

    1. BB Suz--Thank you. If only the Impromptu Diet helped firm things up, too. LOL

      I'm completely supportive of J&J not putting Theo on social media/the Internet. There really aren't guardrails, and he has no say in the use of his image (of course). I'm grateful that they keep me supplied with photos and opportunities to be with him. He looks so much like Jared did as a baby that it's like going back in time a bit.

      Do yourself a favour and make the Sinful Siren Toffee when you have occasion to share it with lots of other people. That's the safest way to deal with it.

  4. I'm glad to hear you are on the mend!

    I bet Theo is a charmer and a half just from your description. I love that you had some one on one time with him.

    The Experiment. Oh Nance...I know The Experiment well and it always fails.

    Thanks for the warning - I have categorized this under my Never to be Made list. ;-)

    1. Gigi--Thank you. It's so good to feel better (at last).

      The Experiment is SO FAIL! ALL THE TIME. It's like Refrigerator Blindness and the Where's My disease. I want to know if there is ONE THING analogous to it among women/wives. I cannot think of a single thing. Do I get gas in my own car? Yes. Do I schedule its maintenance? Yes. Hmpf.

      Let me know if you fail to Remain Resolved about the Siren Toffee. No judgement.

  5. Sorry you had the flu, but happy to hear you are feeling better. "Roundheaded baby" Theo sounds SO delicious and delightful. How wonderful when life grows outwards like this.

    Also delicious your confection--I was late to catch on and was thinking, "How could this not be awesome?" lol

    I'm so familiar with the experiment and the frustration--I was "not allowed to do any housework" over my birthday weekend, so all I could do was watch as things kept piling up. Love the kindness of my family's thought, and resent the lack of actual care.

    1. maya--Thank you. And Theo--so Charlie Brown-like--is absolutely delicious. I should know; I continually eat him up whenever I get the chance. Poor thing could very well end up chapped.

      "How could this not be awesome?"--LOL! It's Beyond Awesome and stomps directly into Spectacular.

      You bring up such a wonderful example of Family/Husband Obliviousness. Moms and Wives are so often told Not To Do Anything for special days or when we're sick. But then, rather than them taking care of those things FOR US, NO ONE DOES ANYTHING, and we still have to do it all when we recover or Our Day is over. THAT IS NOT A GIFT. THAT IS NOT HELPING.

      Is it any wonder that women have been documenting their frustration for more than 400 years?
      Maybe if women's spirits hadn't been so repressed by traditional gender roles/norms, the dominant emotion would have been Resentment.

    2. Reading the Smithsonian article now... WOW. Thank you for sharing this, Nance. I will pass it on to future generations in class.

  6. I would lose my DAMN MIND if the bag was there for a week. Like...I'd probably spontaneously combust. I don't even bother with The Experiment anymore. I'm just passive aggressive about. "Oh, hey, do you know who left the dog leash on table?" I booked marked that Smithsonian article to read for later. I'm sure it will make me irate.

    The Christmas toffee with chips looks amazing...maybe someday when chips don't cost a billion dollars a bag I'll have to experiment!

    1. Engie--Oh, my Damn Mind was lost in spades, let me assure you. Over and over and over again. And musing aloud, "How the heck did the potato peeler wind up in with the knives?" or "Who keeps putting the tupperware in here without the lids?" only gets the response, "Well, Nance, it has to be me, now doesn't it?" No apology, no assurance that things will improve, no attempt at sheepishness, even. Sigh. It's the Neverending Saga Of Male Indifference To Order And Respectful Cohabitation.

      Why, yes, I *do* take it personally.

      Potato chips and other snack foods are insanely priced anymore. I rarely buy them or eat them. I wish I could eat popcorn. It's so cost effective and smells and tastes so good. But my stomach cannot handle it. If I lived near you, I'd make you a batch of Siren Toffee and we could sit and bitch about our Frustration together.

  7. ***TODAY'S NOVEL***

    Cheers for rock star Theo for being such a sweet, well-behaved baby! Would *love* to see a photo, of course, but completely understand why you can’t post one. —Sidebar: My first plane trip was on a DC-8 from Honolulu to Los Angeles when I was 3 years old. I have almost no memories from that age, but I do remember that flight. And how I got ‘plane sick’ and tossed my cookies on everyone near me. (Excuse graphic detail.) My 4-year-old sister was not amused. My 3-month-old brother had colic and cried for most of the 8 hour trip. None of this amused my mother, 24 at the time, who had to deal with all of this on her own because my Dad could not fly back to the mainland until a few weeks later.

    Enjoyed reading your links to the Smithsonian Magazine article and your blog post on this topic! Frustration indeed. As for The Empty Bag: Most men are used to us ‘picking up’ after them, of course. But the real crux of the matter is that They Just Don’t Care and Cannot Understand Why We Get Annoyed: “An empty bag sitting there for a week? So what?” Ditto for dirty clothes that don’t make it to the laundry basket, dishes that need to be put in the dishwasher, fridge clutter, etc.

    My last semester before retirement has also been fraught with health catastrophes, all of which occurred in January and February. In spite of getting a flu shot and the latest Covid vaccine last fall, I had a nasty bout of the flu followed by Covid ten days later. Luis, of course, got Covid 5 days after me. We were both on Paxlovid (due to our age) and I was grateful that our health insurance covered it because, without that, the cost for 5-day treatment per person is $1600. In the midst of these delightful health issues, we had a leak from the upstairs bathroom which had been slowly building up in the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom for God knows how long. When it started to rain in the bathroom, I gave a shout (read: hysterical scream) to Mr. O. who rushed in to unlatch the heavy ceiling board that covered our AC motor (or whatever it’s called). So much water! Like having an aquarium emptied on your head. It was too heavy for Luis to hold with the weight of all the water coming down so suddenly and the board crashed down on my arm. Luckily nothing broken and just cuts and bruising that had to heal. A few days later, I suffered an extremely painful bone spur in my foot and had to wear an ankle brace for some time. Luis also had low blood pressure issues and had to go to urgent care during this time. The local urgent care clinic has seen us more times in the last few months than in the last several years.

    I am now in the final days of Spring Break with nothing more pressing than grading over 100 Midterm Exams. In spite of that, I *am* getting some much needed downtime. Thank God. Lots to do between now and Retirement Day on May 31st, but for now… I kinda needed a break, lol.

    1. Dearest Ortizzle--Only you would think that "tossing my cookies" is an apology-worthy Graphic Detail. I love that about you *almost* as much as you titling your comment TODAY'S NOVEL. Whenever I see that I've got a Comment from you, I settle in as I would for a cozy letter from a friend. Such a treat!

      I have long lamented the genetic predisposition of males for having an uncommonly high threshhold for Clutter, Slovenliness, and General Mess And Disorder. The only male I can think of who is Not This Way is my brother. Let's just say that his is a Defense Mechanism borne of childhood trauma, much the same as my Scissor Fetish. Agreed that the crux of the thing is that they are dumbfounded That We Care. AND! If we are the ones who care, then we should be the ones to do it. OR! If it bothers us so much, all we need do is ASK OR TELL THEM WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. More mental load, more frustration, more resentment. Sigh.

      I'm so sorry that you've been pursued by so many health and home troubles! How unfair. And I had no idea that Paxlovid was so expensive. I guess because it's a new drug and there's no competition? I'm glad your insurance was able to help you. Rick just came home from work early with terrible congestion and coughing, right on the heels of this flu. He also told me his legs were killing him. I tested him immediately and...yep, Covid. Oh, hooray. He is banished to the upstairs of the house. I am negative and hope I stay that way. We cannot catch a break around here, either, I guess, having just signed a $$$$$$$$ contract to have an entire basement wall redone due to leaking, etc. There goes our big trip to the UK this year. Ah well.

      I am so excited for you to be able to count down til Retirement! You're in the double digits now--less than 100 days! I remember those days so well--tossing files in the trash after kids finally made up each test and quiz; thinking "this is the last time I'll give this test/quiz/study guide, etc." So sweet! Hang in there, Ortizzle! June will feel so light.

    2. Oh, dear. So sorry to hear Rick got Covid! I wore a mask around the house as soon as I was diagnosed, but Luis got it anyway, in spite of me trying to do food prep like a doctor going into surgery. He was in typical male denial when I suggested that he might have it after exhibiting early symptoms similar to mine, but reluctantly went to the clinic after I gave him the home test: false negatives are possible, but there's no denying the bright pink stripe! I'm sure I got it from a student: so many of them have had Covid, the flu, or both this semester.

      On tossing files: Just started on that before spring break, and am definitely having those "this-is-the-last-time-I'll-do-this" thoughts. I will sorely miss my best mates in the department, but NOT all the boring, tiresome, time-consuming (and frankly useless) admin B.S., lol.

  8. When I first read your header, I thought you were going to discuss Confederacy snacks, which made me think of Necco Wafers, which reminded me of perhaps my favorite Not My Job from Wait Wait Don't Tell me ever, with Neko Case.

    I'm sorry that you were ill. I hate being that sick. I generally just want to Die and get it all Over With when that happens. Glad that you're on the mend.

    I'm happy to report that a package like that would never have happened here in the first place, but sorry to say that we have tests of our own. I wonder what tests there might be that I fail around here? We move the clutter from the table to the counter in disgust. I don't like clutter on the table, Ted doesn't like it on the counter. Sooner or later we get tired of moving it back and forth and just deal with it.

    I'm glad you're enjoying baby Theo! I too wish we could enjoy pictures, but of course understand why that might not be appreciated.

    1. J--LOL! But I'm trying to think of how Neccos can make you think of the Confederacy since Necco stands for the New England Confectionary COmpany, a decidedly Northern business. I'm going to listen to the Wait Wait episode RIGHT NOW.

      (Or as soon as I finish responding to you, anyway.)

      Thank you for your sympathy. Right now, I am anchored in on the first floor of the house while Rick is banished to the upstairs because he came home Friday with covid. Wish me luck in avoiding it now whilst my immune system is challenged. HOW COULD HE?!

      Hooray that you don't have Empty Things lying about at Chez J. It is The Worst. How hard is it to Throw Things Away? (Apparently quite, at least around here For Some People.) I abhor clutter everywhere, and I'd prefer to Just Deal With Things Immediately and avoid it entirely.

      Perhaps each Commenter here with a blog of her own should write a post about her own Experiments conducted at home and whether or not/how they succeed. I'd love the Support and Commiseration. Who knows? We might all learn something, the least of which could be that our Experiments only serve to irk and annoy us further and that's it.

      PS--Blueberries have come down drastically here in NEO. They are about $1.75 a pint. I wish other produce would follow suit, like cucumbers and tomatoes, the latter being shockingly high--almost double in price now.

    2. "Damn Yankee Candy!" LOL. Clearly not a confederate candy, but my mind went there nonetheless. Your candy/chip treat sounds AMAZING, and I will NOT be making it, unless perhaps I change my mind and make some for an upcoming party.

    3. I've seen blueberries for as low as $2.00 a pint on sale here, though Ted paid $5.00 today (because he bought organic, I think). I spent $3.00 for an English cucumber the other day. Unlike Engie, I will buy them, damn the cost!

    4. Oh, and Darn Rick for bringing COVID home! I hope he has a mild case and that you do NOT get it. BAH! I won't be posting about experiments on my blog, Ted subscribes and it goes to his email.

    5. J--Rick subscribes to my blog via email as well. I guess I just don't care! LOL Maybe airing my grievances to the world will effect change. (Yeah, right.)

      Since avocados are so cheap here now ($1 each), and so nice, I'm splurging on tomatoes and cucumbers ($1.50 each, English) to make a nice tomato, avo, cucumber, and onion salad. I just dress it with salt, pepper, and a spice blend from Penzey's called Justice, along with a bit of rice vinegar and light olive oil.

      I listened to the Wait Wait episode. Delightful! Those are always so much fun.

  9. I'm so sorry you were sick! I hate being sick too, but mainly because I don't feel like doing all the things I think I would do if I got to stay home sick from work (read & play puzzles mainly).

    "The Experiment" would not work in our house because neither one of us does a good job of putting things away. We do throw trash away, but anything else might stay in place for weeks. It's ridiculous.

    I can just imagine Theo with his round head. He's very adorable in my head.

    You know that I will definitely make that snack. Maybe not right away, but it will most assuredly happen.

    1. Bug--Thank you. And that's so true about not feeling up to doing anything when you're ill! All Rick and I could manage to do was lie there and watch endless episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and Hoarders. Neither was very uplifting, but they were predictable, didn't require much attention, and shows we could agree on. Plus, we had seen most of them before, so if we nodded off, it didn't matter.

      Theo *is* very adorable, and I'm so disappointed that we didn't get to see him this weekend. AGAIN. At least we know that he belongs to us, and we can see him as soon as we all feel better and it's safe to be together.

      I think you should make the Siren Toffee and take it to a church or family event. That way, it will be sampled by a Lot Of People, and its power will not overtake you. Of course, there is the possibility that you'll taste it and decide not to share it, instead keeping the whole batch in your fridge just for yourself, like a Mean And Selfish Troll.

      Now that I cannot imagine at all.

    2. I am QUITE capable of being a Mean And Selfish Troll. However, if I've promised to take a dish I have a smidge more self control - I don't want to disappoint other people.

  10. Hi, Nance. I hate that you were sick and it's taken so long for you to bounce back. I know from personal experience (too much of it, frankly) how disappointing that is. I'm also so sorry that Rick is ill now with Covid. Never good news and I'm so sorry.

    Time with sweet and adorable Theo has to be such an amazing gift to you both! I love that his travels are starting so early. Bo's first plane trip was when he was four I believe and he got to meet the pilot, get wings, etc. We also got magically upgraded to first class. It was all very cool, especially because there was a nasty local person that we knew on the plane who we passed in coach as we were reseated! (A longer story for another time.) I was 27 when I took my first flight! But we started Bo out right and Theo's parents are doing the same. Love it!

    I would eat your Christmas Toffee version (with gf pretzels) and enjoy it thoroughly before it started making me ill (for obvious reasons). Then I'd probably, hopefully, never make it again but I'd think about it because I tend to "learn" lessons over and over again myself.

    That article from Smithsonian Magazine made me think a lot of things. About how far we have come in some ways and how much has not changed really. Plus, all the forces trying to make us go backwards (a Tradwife in every home!).

    Please get 100% well and stay well, Nance! Love and hugs,

    1. Shirley--I'm so glad to see you here, dear friend! I hope you're feeling well and that spring is beautiful in VA.

      So far, I'm still testing negative for covid, and Rick is isolating upstairs. We text, call, and use FaceTime along with talking from the steps when he feels up to it. He's actually got a milder case this time around (it's his second bout).

      It seems Theo will be an experienced traveller, thanks to the generosity of his mom's employers. I love how they are so accommodating and progressive. How great that Bo got the star treatment when he was just a little guy (and got you upgraded, too, with the satisfaction of being smug in front of a crummy neighbour). Those are the kinds of experiences that are fun for both parents and kids since parents love to see their children be thrilled and happy when they get to do something surprising and special.

      I wonder how a nondairy butter would be in the recipe for the toffee. I know potato chips are already gf, should you choose to make that kind, but the toffee calls for a cup of butter. Since you can't do dairy, I'd be interested in how a substitute would work. Let me know.

      The Smithsonian article made me think quite a bit as well. It's maddening to think of how constrained women have been throughout history, and as I said to maya, above, some of that may have even caused a bit of restraint in their private diaries and journals. It's...FRUSTRATING! (See! We're still feeling it!)

      Being well and staying that way is our Shared Mission, Shirley. Bet on it. XXOO
      I think of you more often than you can ever know.

    2. Nance, I'm always touched when you tell me how often you think of me! It goes both ways, my dear friend. It's probably a good thing that neither of us gets some type of notification when we're thinking of each other. It could be far worse than text message or social media notifications. ;-)

      I'm actually still eating butter, Nance. The allergist was not against that, just no mammalian meat. However, my follow-up testing for Alpha Gal from last week was negative again. A call to the allergist is needed but I've read that 2% of those with Alpha Gal have false negatives (that would most likely be me, right?!). I still react to minute amounts of red meat-based ingredients though (a single pill of a medication with gelatin way down the list gives me an immediate reaction). Never a dull moment!

      I have no doubt that you're right about the dairies and journals not being tell-all writings. Does anybody ever really believe that such efforts will be kept private? Even after one dies, I would think that loved ones could be adversely impacted by honesty in such writings. Both directly and indirectly.

      Thanks for the shared mission reminder! It's very nice not to be alone in this. You and Rick are being incredibly smart in protecting you from Covid and I'm grateful that he's having a milder case this time around.


  11. Oh Nance! I went and read your entire 2006 article about the Experiment and I am in complete sympathy! I actually broke up with a boyfriend because he used to do the exact same thing. He would watch TV and drink beer and leave the empties on the living room coffee table, even though he had to go to the kitchen to get a new beer, and the trash can was right next to the refrigerator! I tried your experiment as well, but all it did was frustrate me that even though I asked him over and over to not leave trash in the living room (or anywhere for that matter) he kept doing it. I chalked it up to his mother basically babying him, as she used to buy (and iron!) his shirts for him when he was a 30something man (among other things. She also cooked and cleaned for him and his two brothers, but he was the worst as he was the youngest). Anyway, that relationship did not last long after we moved in together! Woof! I really could go on and on about this, but it is making me frustrated just thinking about your situation (especially when you are sick!)

    1. Kyria--FRUSTRATION! We get it, don't we? As I mentioned to another Commenter, Men often operate under the idea that they are forever Guests in their own homes. At least I know that I am not alone!

      Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a genetic predisposition now, a sort of hardwired thing in their DNA after all these many years. You know, natural selection having worked its will and all. I'm going to place all my hopes and dreams upon women like you, the ones who showed such men the door. If the younger generations refuse to partner with and reproduce with these men, then maybe the chain will be broken once and for all.

      (No pressure.)

    2. Hahah! Well my reproduction days are nearing their end, so I don't think you have to worry much about me! But I will continue to uphold the rules for the principal of it!


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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