What I Learned This Week(s): #172

Monday November 23 – Sunday, December 6

The Week in Skipping: I skipped a week. So here’s two week’s of minutiae.

The Week in Folding: A couple years ago, my Mom got a new bed. Once it was delivered, I didn’t give that bed another thought. A few weeks ago, I bought a new bed and mentioned to my Mom how I needed new sheets. Boy, did she perk up. She walked me back to her bedroom and pulled up the coverlet to reveal very poorly fitting sheets. Turns out, her new mattress was thicker than her old one, so of course the old sheets didn’t fit. My Mom didn’t know there were special sheets for her mattress and she was resigned to waking up each morning wrapped in sheets “like a taco,” her quote.

This week I brought her new sheets, and because I”m going for Daughter of the Year, I washed them first. When I handed them to her all she could talk about was how well I folded the fitted sheet. She said she just bunches hers up. Well, glad to be appreciated!

The Week in Zoom: My Mom had her first Zoom call this week, a cross country gathering of our very small family. We haven’t gotten together in person for years, so Covid actually did our family tree a favor. Once Mom had a glass of wine, she really got into the call. It’s actually fun to watch someone experience technology with awe. It really is magical, especially if you grew up in a totally pre-computer world.

The Week in Science and Comfort Food: Speaking of experiencing the awe of science, I had a coupon on my childhood favorite Kraft Mac and Cheese and it was just the push I needed to relive the food of my youth. If you don’t think the Kraft powder cheese packet and the ensuing mouthfeel isn’t one of the greatest scientific achievements of the 20th century, you haven’t thought things through. I ate the entire box and not one thing about that meal was disappointing except I wish I could have eaten another box.

Everything felt exactly the same despite the modern upgrade to spirals and a pretend health checklist.

The Week in Love and Comfort Food: One of the standard recipes in rotation at my house when I came back (temporarily) as an adult was what we called Wet Chicken Dijon. We called it “wet” because we had two very different Chicken Dijon meals. One was cutlets, “dry” Chicken Dijon which we ate with green beans and rice. Wet Chicken Dijon was cooked in a mushroom sauce and we ate it with mashed potatoes or noodles. The difference was important to say out loud so we had the right expectation when we sat down for dinner.

To make Wet C.D., season some boneless chicken cutlets and saute them til lightly browned (you can dredge them in seasoned flour if a thicker sauce at the end). Remove the chicken and add finely chopped shallots and sliced mushrooms to the pan. Add a little salt and pepper. Cook on high heat until the mushrooms release their water and the pan dries up. Add a cup or so of chicken broth. Scrape up those brown bits. Stir in a little dried thyme. Put the chicken back in the pan, reduce heat and simmer till the chicken is cooked through, 7-10 minutes. Eat it! The sauce is great on almost any carb your heart desires.

Nestled in sauce…1/2 way through the cooking process.

The Week in Covid Black Friday: The holiday shopping season officially kicked off though many shoppers at TJ Maxx have told us all through November they were buying early because they were mailing gifts and needed more lead time. Black Friday, non-Covid, is my absolute favorite day to work in retail. Shoppers know what the day is about and they are happy and enthusiastic to be a part of it. There’s a point in the season where shopper’s and the shopping experience takes a turn, but Black Friday is a delight. This season had some of that charm, but very scaled back. People are just doing their best.

The Week in Covid Small Business Saturday: After working big box retail, I love walking through the little shops of downtown and picking up unique pieces and Small Business Saturday is a fun city event. This year people were out, but the mood was not quite as festive. I walked right past several stores, or stopped in for just a moment before being over whelmed with the number of shoppers. On one hand, I was super glad to see the support, on the other, there’s still a pandemic. I did my Small Business “Saturday” over the next week. Geesh!

The Week in Danger: I did stick with my shopping plan for Artichoke cookware, an independent store in OTR. There were only 4 people in the store when I walked in, but at least 10 when I walked out. Dammit. Small places just don’t have the personnel to have someone stand at the door. I was already involved with the owner talking about my purchase and it would have been awkward to high-tail it outta there. I stayed and did what I came to do.

I was on a mission to purchase a Mandoline slicer. I used to own a mandoline, but while it was sharp, it was difficult to use and I like my fingertips more than thin cut potatoes. Because I’m cooking more, I decided it was time to buy a better mandoline slicer, so I did. It’s funny that knives aren’t called “Knife Slicers” but you know that’s what they do. Mandoline slicers are just upfront about the damage they can cause. Still, my first batch of shaved Brussels sprouts was worth it.

No fingertips were harmed in the taking of this picture.

The Week in Spending It Like I Got It: I’m not much of a shopper for the sake of shopping, but I am trying to do my part in keeping small businesses afloat. To that end, I will probably come out of the Covid era with about 2 dozen more t-shirts than I need. I’m just buying things to be buying them. I’m a bleeding heart shopper.

So, I own a book about Bockfest Posters, and I like it.

Case and point, I stopped into Urban Eden, an Art Store of local artists and retailer of local goods, a place so small, they not only don’t have a website, they don’t even have a Facebook page. Small business, indeed!

As I was looking around and chatting with the owner Julie (we were the only people in the shop), a man came in with a box of books. Turns out, he is the artist for the Bockfest posters. Bockfest is a big deal in my neighborhood so I bought the book. It’s a very pretty, very thin, and somewhat expensive book. Turns out, due to the author’s preference, all the printing was done locally instead of sending it to China, thus, it was more expensive…and I’d like to think, better quality. Glad to see my Sensitive Purchasing supported so many things I believe in.

The Week in Adult Purchases: My first “elder” purchase was a foot massager. If I’m going to be home so damn much, I have time for foot massages now. That is a win in the Covid era.

But I do have to go out every now and then and when I do, I often face one of my arch nemeses, my car tires. I don’t know what it is, but I usually find one or two nails a year, and then every now and then, a tire will randomly lose air. I’m pretty inept at putting air in my tires at those gas station machines, but it’s the 21st century, and there’s a solution. My portable air compressor got it’s first use today. Very exciting, grown up stuff.

That adorable little device brought me from 27 psi to 35 psi. And it brought tears of joy to my eyes.

2 thoughts on “What I Learned This Week(s): #172

  1. I enjoyed your week worth of entries! Didn’t know you’d started the blog back up again. Love the cover art on the Bockfest book! And I want one of those little portable air compressors too!

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