What I Learned This Week: #192 and #193

Monday, April 19 – Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Week in Here Comes My Social Life: I love that I was too busy to actually post last week’s weekly thoughts on time. I had to actually go to social activities that took place outside of my apartment. A wonderful development.

The Week in 420, Heh, Heh: April 20, International Cannaibis day, or, as the neighborhood store called it “Reggae Day,” just makes me laugh all day. While marijuana and cdb oil gain in popularity and continue to be more and more legal, 420 still retains a little of its counter culture roots. I took a minute to listen to Willie Nelson and other related activities (wink, wink) and dreamt of sticking it to the man.

The Week in Restaurant Week: Restaurant Week is an easy time to contact a friend and schedule a dinner. For some reason, eating out during Restaurant Week seems like I’m participating in something more than just dinner. How it works is any participating restaurant puts together a prix fix menu at a low-ish price. This year, the magic number was $36. For that price it’s worth finding and trying new places around town, a form of food tourism.

I went to two places. I got four courses at Mita’s (including their outstanding ceviche), and three courses at Butcher and Barrel. Both meals included dessert at the final course, and that’s a rare eating out treat for me. I buy lots of expensive and extra stuff at restaurants, mostly alcohol, but I rarely get dessert. Dessert is good, but I like fitting into my pants. Also, at Butcher and Barrel I was with three people who hadn’t eaten inside at a restaurant in over a year and that made it extra fun.

The Week in Cooking: Part 1, All the Cooking!: Sunday is my day to get my week in order. I straighten up and clean my place. I blog and, I cook for the week. Last Sunday, instead of all that, I went drinking, putting me woefully behind in domestic responsibilities. I made up time with a very efficient cooking session on Monday. I made a hominy chorizo frittata, panang curry with potatoes and cabbage (cheated with pre-made tin of curry, but it counts), and an Italian chicken with ham and cheese (a very loose take on Chicken cordon bleu). Best part: I started cooking at 5:30 and was finished and cleaned up by 7:30. That’s mad cookin’ skills!

That’s some ugly chicken, tasty, but ugly.

The Week in Cooking: Part 2, Internet Cooking: Mississippi Pot Roast is one of those internet recipes that people cannot get enough of. It’s easy to make, practically designed for people who can’t cook but can dump stuff in a crock pot. It’s pot roast, an envelope of au jus mix, and envelope ranch dressing mix, a stick of butter and a jar of pepperoncini. That’s it. The result is slightly sweet with a little tang and a lot of mouth feel…very much like turning a piece of meat into a fancy snack food. I liked it well enough but I really prefer a more traditional roast that’s, well, beefy.

The Week in Most Unnecessary Products: At TJ Maxx this week I found a scented jigsaw puzzle. It smells like cool peppermint. I know because I touched the box to release the scent. Maybe the scent will do straight to your head so you don’t have to concentrate on the source of the water in the puzzle’s waterfall.

Stinky picture!

The Week in Other Puzzle News: I’ve been working on this puzzle for weeks. I’m down to the part where pretty much every piece left hooks onto what’s already in place and still, still, the puzzle and I are fighting.

Such a pretty, brutal puzzle

The Week in Art: Found some flower power chalk art on the sidewalk in Washington Park.

Aggressive flower power

What I Learned This Week: #191

Monday, April 12 – Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Week in Pants: Not sure how long it’s been goin’ on, but this week I noticed three pairs of my pants had blown out, or near blown out crotches. I am very sure nothing exciting led to crotch wear and tear, but I was also sure that I should buy some new pants before a disaster happened with me and my crotch and my pants in public.

Pants are tough for me. I’m short. I have a 28 inch inseam. This matters in pants shopping and comfortable bicycle riding, so my inseam doesn’t come up a lot. But this week was pants week and all I could think about was my inseam. I started online, carefully (attempting) to buy the same cuts and styles I already had. That did not work. Suddenly I had all kinds of pants in my apartment none of which I could wear. The new ones didn’t fit, and the old ones were threatening a fashion scandal.

For the first time in well over a year, I went pants shopping, first returning pants that were too long, too small, and in one case too heavy (material is hard to fathom during on line shopping). It took some effort, but I now have pants that I can wear. The pants crisis is averted, for a couple years, anyway.

The Week in 1/2 and 1/2 and 1/2: One thing that needs to come back soon is being able add your own accouterments to coffee. No two people like their coffee the same way, and many coffee drinkers have spent years creating the perfect coffee to cream to sugar ratio. In the Covid era, the cashier does this for me. For the most part it’s fine. But this week I asked for a “dollop” of half and half. This was a fancy coffee place, so I assumed I was good. But a few blocks away when I took a sip, it seemed way to milky. I think I got half half and half and half coffee. It was gross. At work, I brewed kuerig to 1/2 full of my coffee cup and then added the half half and half and half coffee mixture. I had three passable cups of coffee and way to much math. Also, I learned to be VERY careful ordering half and half in the future.

The Week in Brown Bread: Allez Bread has a pretty funny Facebook account that enthusiastically and honestly showcases their wares, especially one-off baking projects that normally are not available. This week they talked about a nutritious and dense German bread, Vollkornbrot, and I high-tailed it into the shop to see what they were talking about. Vollkornbrot is a brown bread, made with rye flour. Allez’s version was studded with sunflower seeds. I bought 1/2 a loaf on my way to work (having thoughtfully thrown some butter and a knife in my backpack). The 1/2 loaf weighed about 3 pounds. When I opened it at my desk, it reminded me of what I called hippie bread of the early seventies, specifically the kind made in a coffee can. I loved it.

The Week in Sure, I’ll have a Cocktail: One of the greatest things about Covid is the new rules applying to getting liquor to go from bars. To my 80 year old Mom’s delight, I have been bringing her a Manhatton from Japps on Main for months. Japps is a bar I very much enjoy. Sitting at the bar on Saturday afternoons, or mid-week after dinner, the place has a low key neighborhood feel, and the bartenders are true mixologists who can ask questions about the type of cocktails you like, and make one that is perfect.

But here I am waxxing nostalgic, because, since Covid, the bar stools have not been in place. This week though, when I went to pick up my Mom’s Manhattan, the bar stools were back. So, sure, I’ll have a cocktail. I sat down and my heart skipped a beat. Molly came over and suggested I try a Remember the Maine, a rye whiskey drink with a hint of absinthe. I did. It was perfect. And I had a great conversation with the woman drinking wine at the next (covid spaced) stool. Man, was that great!

What I Learned This Week: #190

Monday, April 5- Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Week in Frat Boy Breakfast: Sometimes when I wake up too late to get breakfast at home, I grab a breakfast burrito at Coffee Emporium, a $5.95, beautifully prepared breakfast option. Sometimes, when I wake up too late to even make it through the line the Coffee Emporium, I hit the El Monterey Burrito selection at Kroger OTR.

Ah yes. My inner frat boy gets a little of my attention. And I LOVE these $1.50 treats. I love that Kroger only charged me $1.29. I love that the cooking instructions have an Asian restaurant menu font. And I love that the first ingredient is water. Also, $1.29!

The Week in Ramen Surprise: At the Asian store picking Ramen is a bit like pick and pray beer specials, the kind where you dip your hand into the vat of ice water and whatever beer you pull out is the one you’re stuck with. As with beer, I tend to like all the ramen packs I’ve picked, but I like some better than others.

This week’s Jjajang sauce was a surprising win. The sauce pack is huge, and it is already sauce, not a powder. As instructed, I heated it boiling water, multi-tasking with the last minute of noodle cooking. The sauce was a dark rich brown color with chunks of black beans. It’s not pictured because I ate it too fast. If I told my college age self this was the type of ramen I’d be eating in 30 years I would have not believed myself. I’ve come a long way!

The Week in Not Enough Juice: One of my more unusual responses to the Covid business restrictions was outfitting my car with some basic tools to use in case I couldn’t get needed service. I have a tire air pump that plugs into the lighter which I did have to use. I also have a portable jump battery, which I have not had to use. Until Friday. I was working at my part time job and a couple came in to see if we sold jumper cables. We don’t and it was then the guy said his battery was dead in the parking lot. Ooooh! This is why I bought the thing!

I went out and got it out of my car, handed it to him and went back into work. I told him I didn’t know how much juice it had. Sadly, when he returned it, he said it was not enough. The charge was at 59%, maybe enough to start my little car, but not his big one. I was bummed I couldn’t help him, but learned a lesson about keeping that thing charged.

The Week in Out, Really Out: Pfizer 2 happened this week, and though I’m still in the 14 day window of being fully vaccinated, I’m a bit more willing to (cautiously) step out. In fact, on Saturday, I did a late afternoon bar hop – Knockback Nats, Americano, Rebel Mettle Brewery, Plum Street Cafe, and Madonnas. You can see I feel like I have to make up a lot of ground. All of the places were moderately busy. Knockbacks and Madonna’s seemed the most “normal” though precautions are still very apparent.

At Rebel Mettle, the new brewery, we were about to leave when the band was starting up. I was so happy to see them, I dropped money in their tip bucket before I heard a single note. We did stay for a song, and it was just so great and normal to see live music. Speaking of normal, I used the restroom at the brewery and the stall was out of toilet paper. I ain’t mad at ’em. We’re all out of practice with some of the little things. No TP in the stall seemed exceptionally normal to me.

What I Learned This Week: #189

Monday, March 29 – Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Week in Jury Duty: Since I moved downtown I’ve been waiting for to be called for jury duty. I live two blocks from the court house and I work close to it, too. Jury duty, for me, would not be a hassle at all. And so I waited.

I was finally called to serve this week. Jury trials were suspended for Covid, and just recently reinstated. With Covid restrictions in place, the jury pool arrived in waves and there was plenty of space between each person. On my first day, they brought in 49 prospective jurors and immediately let 9 go. I was still in the running!

They split the rest of us into two groups, one for each case requiring a jury. After a while, they let the people in the other group go because their trial was canceled. I was still in the running!

Our group was called into a makeshift court room, one with enough space for the 20 or so of us, plus the Judge, the court reporter and bailiff, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney and his client. I was put in the first 12 prospective jurors. I took this as a good sign.

Jury Handbook

The prosecutor questioned us first. The incident on trial took place in the Justice Center, and he asked us all several questions about our dealings with and opinions of the Center and law enforcement. In the interest of truthfulness, when he asked me if I had any opinions about the Justice Center I explained that I walked past it everyday on my way to and from work and that I had a “sentimental attachment” to the building and the area around it. Yes, I know that’s a weird thing to say, but it’s true. Sometime when I walk by I can hear the inmates banging on the windows. I see the family, friends, and even foes of the inmates standing on the sidewalk, looking up, and attempting communication. I watch the weary officers and their guns walking around, too. It’s an emotional place if you’re paying attention.

The defense attorney’s questions, though he heard from everyone, focused on a few of us, me included, which I found strange. He also gave me his final question, “Is Mr. Bullock (the defendant) guilty or innocent?” He had spent several minutes of his questioning to note that Mr. Bullock is innocent until, or if, the trial finds him guilty. I don’t know why I got the last word, but I said “He’s innocent, until after the trial where he’ll be either innocent…or guilty.” And court ended for the day.

With a late start the next morning, I went into work confident about my chances of getting on the jury. When court came into session, and the prosecutor stood up to release the first juror, he called my name. Damn. So close! A dark day for democracy…in my opinion!

The Week in Government: I had been called previously to jury duty, for a high profile police officer shooting, and was let go immediately. During that call and this one, Hamilton County Jury Commissioner Brad Seitz was in charge of the juror pool. I don’t know how Mr. Seitz feels about his job, but he is absolutely great at it. He explains the procedure thoroughly and, because he knows jury duty and being downtown puts many people out of their element, he explains it rather compassionately. When people are good at what that do, it is a delight to see them at work. He is a delight.

The Week in Opening Day, a Shadow of Opening Days Past: Covid, for the second year in a row cancelled the Reds Opening Day parade, but it did not cancel the game. Neither did the snow squalls in the coldest Reds opener ever. And the Reds lost. Seemed like Opening Day captures our downtrodden mood. Then, on Friday, third baseman Nick Castellanos scored a run, got pumped up, ran his mouth against an opposing player, and got ejected. Wrongly, I tell ya! Castellanos lit the city on fire with his energy. The Reds won big on Saturday and Sunday, and there is some Reds excitement in the air.

The Week in Schleprock: My Mom had quite the Schlelprock week. She fine, but everything around her appears to be falling apart. As she heals up from eye surgery, pixels in her TV went out, not the whole picture, just the right side. Imagine that happening while you’re recovering from eye surgery. And then one her hearing aid went out. And then, the light fixture in her bedroom went out. It was a lot.

To keep from feeling sorry for our bad luck, I brought in some KFC for dinner on Friday night. Neither of us had eaten there in years. The chicken is still good. Everything else is not that great. But whatever. The meal was comforting. And then, for Easter dinner, we had, at her request, spaghetti and meatballs. That has to be one of the most comforting dishes of all time. So let things fall apart around us, we’re eating comfortably!

Schleprock Week!

The Week in Cooking – Fast and Easy: At the Saigon Market I discovered tins of curry paste that makes curry for dinner easy and tasty. For the Masamn curryy, I use this yellow can which people on the internet who know stuff about tinned curry, think is great. I added the paste to some coconut milk to make a sauce, then added chicken cubes, potato cubes, and green beans (because I had some left from last week). Served over rice, dinner was ready in about 30 minutes. Also, when I eat international food in a can, I call it a tin, like I’m an English Baroness or something!

Masaman Tin and Masaman Curry

The Week in Cooking – Slow and More Challenging: I make simple meatballs a lot, but for Easter meatballs, I wanted something a little fancier. I turned to Serious Eats for their take on Italian American Meatballs. Like some of the recipes on Serious Eats, some to the steps are too precious for everyday cooking, and I chose to skip the step that added gelatin to the meatball mixture. But I followed everything else to a tee, even pulling out my kitchen scale. They are easily the best meatballs I’ve ever made.

And while I was getting fancy on the protein, I figured I might as well get fancy on the sauce. I chose the Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce, also from Serious Eats, and I followed this recipe, as written. This is one of those modern recipes that calls for a bit of fish sauce to be stirred in at the end. This unami punch from fish sauce is a relatively new development (within the last few years) for home cooking. I tried the tomato sauce before and after adding the fish sauce. Just a few drops brought the entire potful to life. As a side note, a couple of years ago I ran out of my small bottle of fish sauce, but when I went to to the store to replace it, all they had was a big bottle. For the first couple years, I hardly used any of that big bottle. Now that I’m following some newer recipes, and know more about using fish sauce, I’m finally making a dent. And fish sauce is already rotten, so says the owner of Saigon Market, so it’s nice to be able to put it to good use, even if it takes a while.

Spaghetti and fancy meatballs and fancy sauce

What I Learned This Week: #188

Monday, March 22 – Saturday, March 28, 2021

The Week in the Rando Neighbor: Walking to lunch this week I ran into Jim. Just Jim. Or, Jim I know him because we used to belong to the Y at the same time. He lives downtown, too, and pre-Covid we would pass each other regularly with a smile and a wave. No big deal. This time though, we stopped and chatted like long lost friends. We had a lot to cover as the Covid era comes to a close, from vaccines to the state of the neighborhood. There are dozens of “just Jims” that I expect to, and look forward to running into in the next several weeks. We’ve got to catch up!

The Week in Puzzles: Having a jigsaw puzzle on the table may be a Covid habit I keep for a while. I like hunting for cheap puzzles on line or at TJ Maxx, and I like having something to do at the dining room table while I’m cooking or just passing through.

I’m currently working my way through a bunch of puzzles I found on sale in January. I found a couple of good deals, but the Space Traveler puzzle was the best. It showed up one day across several sites for under $3. On Ebay or Etsy (I forget which) the price was 1 penny plus shipping. I opted for the $3.99 with free shipping option from Amazon. The puzzle, as expected, is as cheaply made as the bargain prices reflected. But that actually made it harder to do. Several pieces “fit” and when I tried to move chunks of the puzzle into position, they fell apart. Plus, the space part of the space puzzle about killed me! There was definitely a moment when I yearned for a puzzle depicting a castle in Europe, or something easier! Oh well. I totally got my money’s worth.

I finished the space puzzle this week, and started on a second puzzle that I found for 50% off during the same puzzle buying spree. It is a nicer puzzle in many ways. The pieces fit better and are more substantial. It looks like a tough puzzle, but really, if I just follow the order of the colors, it’s a breeze. And, it looks great! Glad my puzzle brain could get a break.

The Week in Adulting: I filed my taxes this week, and I also filed my Mom’s taxes. That is getting it done! One of the very last things I did as the Covid shut down went into effect was visiting my tax guy. The state closed on Sunday, and I went to see them on Tuesday. And that was it. I remember how eerie downtown felt as I took care of this chore. Anyway, downtown felt a little better this year. Me and the staff even got to complain about how tiny the Wings are at the bar across the street (they haven’t been able to reestablish their pre-Covid supplier). Bitching about not important stuff seems like we’re on the right track. And, my taxes looked good, which is one less thing to fret about.

The Week in Typical Saturday: Pre-Covid, I had a fairly standard Saturday routine. I would grab lunch and sit with a book either in the restaurant or in the park. I’d come home and take a nap and then go out for the evening. I haven’t done that in over a year. But this week, I was close. I went to Washington Park, grabbed a beer from their porch, and read for a while. Then, I went over to the newly reopened Brew Dog and had a beer and read a little more while waiting for my to go order. Brew Dog was full when I got there, but I felt like everything was safe and fine. They seated me, alone, at a table for 6, the last table, because I’d told them I was one beer and out, and that was the weirdest part for me.

Instead of eating in, I got take out. And instead of lingering, I got out as quick as I could. Still, this was as close to a traditional Saturday as I can have right now. I loved it.

The Week in Normal (Frat Boy-Style) Eating: Woke up bright and early on Sunday, grabbed a cold piece of pizza for breakfast, and, lacking a traditional dip for the crust, I went with the tartar sauce left over from Friday’s fish dinner. Surprisingly good.

The Week in Authors: Both Beverly Cleary and Larry McMurtry passed away this week. Cleary’s Ramona Quimby was a character that really made sense to me as a kid. She was a character that seemed more independent than the other girls I was reading about at the time, and she informed my late childhood.

I came to Larry McMurtry as an adult and I found his take on the West at once romantic and realistic. But what I loved about him was how he created well-drawn, realistic, living and breathing characters. In one of his lesser works, Buffalo Girls, historical characters like Annie Oakley fill the story, but it is the completely fictional character No Ears who is the richest, most indelible character in the book, and one of my favorite characters of all time. I have several McCurtry books on my shelf, and plan to reread something of his this year.

What I Learned This Week: #187

Monday, March 15 – Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Week in Immunity(ish): Both me and my Mother were Covid vaccinated this week, nearly a year to the day of being locked down as the pandemic made its way across our part of world. We went through a drive through center at the University of Cincinnati. She had her passenger arm poked and I had my driver’s arm poked. The crew was cheerful and kept things moving. Very impressive. I feel much better about my future in a Covid world.

The Week in Medical Care – Routine Stuff: A year of Covid has definitely aged me to a point where I have ailments…general anatomical malaise that can’t quite be diagnosed as a disease or condition other than having an old body. So, I decided to find a primary care physician. Just picking a doctor made me remember how much I hate the basic process of medical care.

After trying on my own for a few days using my insurance company’s doctor listing, I finally asked them to send me a list of doctors in a specific zip code who were accepting new patients. Instead, they sent me a list of over 200 doctors all over the city; but, they sent it in a format that I could export to an excel spreadsheet.

I got the list down to 10. When I called the first one, the phone disconnected. That was a “no.” The second one’s phone system was so complicated that I couldn’t imagine if I was sick and needed to navigate through it, also a “no.” A live person answered at doctor #3, but she said the doctor was not accepting new patients. “Is anyone in that office taking new patients?” I asked. And, luckily, yes one doctor was. And that is my new PCP. Seems like as good a method as any of picking medical care. And I’m glad I’m not sick. The next appointment for new patients is in May. I’ll try to keep it together until then.

The Week in Medical Care – A Small Rant: Taking my Mom through her eye care emergency last week I came face to face with two related things. First, elder care in this country is terrible. Second, medical care for single people in this country is a joke. The speed and complexity of medical care is tough for anyone to navigate, much less elderly people who may be hearing impaired, or simply need more time to grasp ideas. If I don’t sit in while my Mom gets care, I have no guarantee she has grasped what happened, what the doctor said, or what she may or may not need to do. When we left her one week check up they gave her some instructions that I had to repeat to her two more times before she got. And, yes, she got it.

Which brings me to the related idea that single people without dependents to assist cannot get ample care. There isn’t anyone to join me with the doctor or to drive me to and fro. I can’t get a routine procedure without having someone waiting for me in the lobby. Yes, I have friends who will step in, but that’s not the same as having an advocate and having my independent lifestyle interrupted.

The Week in Art: One of my co-workers is fascinated with my collection of miniatures and it has made her spend a little time on the internet looking up miniature based sites. She finally saw something she couldn’t resist, miniature framed artwork. She bought me two pictures of witches, a private joke between us. It was cool, and even though one picture was of my childhood arch nemesis, The Wicked Witch of The West from The Wizard of Oz, I put the pictures on my cube wall. To counter the negativity of a nemesis looking down on me, I ordered some pictures of my own. This week my mini art wall went up. It took a minute to straighten them up, but a few days after these picture were taken we actually found a working, miniature level. It’s nerdy, cool.

The Week in Elderly: At my part time job I was talking to one of my young co-workers, a senior at the High School of Creative and Performing Arts, where she plays french horn. I asked her to recommend some music for me since I considered her an expert. She asked what I liked and I listed a few things, but when I got to DaBaby she busted out laughing and said she hoped she could be listening to new stuff when she was older. I laughed too. I laughed because just saying DaBaby sounds funny to my ears, like I’m trying to be so hip, or cool, or extra, or fleek, or whatever. Also, she never got around to a recommendation.

What I Learned This Week: #186

Monday, March 8 – Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Week in the Eyes Have It: My Mom had urgent retina reattachment surgery this week The surgery went very well. Science and medicine really do incredible things.

The pre and post op bureaucracy about killed us, though. From the second we got into the pipeline, we were on Cincinnati Eye Institute time. We were non-entities who did whatever they told us.

The person who did the initial evaluation was new. Both me and my Mom are very patient with new people, but she ran into some kind of difficultly. I could see she was getting frustrated. She called another aide in and that didn’t help. Finally, I asked what the trouble was. She was checking to see if it was safe to dilate my Mom’s eye. I said it was dilated that morning. “Oh.” She saw we had come from the ophthalmologist, it was on the chart and we talked about it. That was my first clue things were not going to be easy.

The Fellow came in, treated my Mom like an inanimate object as he moved her head and the reclining chair she was sitting on. He recommended surgery in the next day or so. I very specifically said that my 80 year old Mom was scheduled for her Covid shot the following day, hoping he would realize the importance of getting her vaccinated. “No problem,” he confidently said, then scheduled her for an appointment at the office furthest from where we lived for noon the following day.

Beginning at 8 am the next day, CEI began bombarding my hearing impaired Mom with phone calls, despite that I asked to be the main contact. Once they finally started contacting me, I asked each and every one about the Covid shot scheduled later in the day. “No problem.”

Anyway, in the post op debriefing the nurse assured me everything went fine and that Mom could not have a Covid shot that afternoon because she had to keep her head pointed down. She said there was “no way” they could have predicted this would be the outcome. No way, not counting that this particular outcome is actually printed on their take-home post-of instruction sheet.

I was furious. They mislead and misinformed us. They sent us to a facility that was unnecessarily inconvenient, seemingly to fill in a surgery spot they had open, with no regard for the patient or the care giver. Even the prescription for eye drops was called in incorrectly causing me to have to scramble at the pharmacy. By the next day for the post op doctor visit I was resigned to how horrible their customer service was. It was laughable really.

To top it off, they handed my Mother, an elderly woman they just did eye surgery on, her post op instructions for the following week. They printed the instructions in smallish print, on blue paper, with some hand written instructions. It’s like they are trying to be awful. The surgery went great, but I hope we never have to deal with CEI again.

The Week in The Eyes Have It – A Note on Taking Things a Tad Too Lightly: My Mom had told me on Monday morning that she thought she needed her eyes examined because she thought her vision had changed. Somehow, there was an opening that day and I thought we were going in for a regular eye exam. I went back with her, the eye doctor pointed to the wall and asked her what she saw. She said “nothing.” It was the E, the big E, alone on the wall. That’s when I knew the week had changed course. It’s hard to tell with my Mom what really needs attention and what doesn’t. In fact, when people asked me why I don’t get worked up about stuff I can say that I come by it naturally. My family is notorious for going with the flow. “Oh, I can’t see out of one of my eyes?…Lunch, anyone.”

The Week in Dip: I popped into Avril’s on Court and in the butcher case they had homemade spinach dip. One of the things I miss during Covid is dip. Dips are a social food, and while I’ve treated myself occasionally over the last year, it’s not the same as being at a party, walking up to a table of random dips and digging in. Anyway, like spring itself, my draw to the spinach dip seemed like a sign of my social-ness awakening. It’s a reminder, too, that when pieces of spinach (etc.) get stuck in that space between my molars, I’m going to have to find a more socially respectful way of dislodging it then my home alone version. So much to do before we all go out again.

`The Week in Good Deeds: The pharmacy inside the Kroger I go to is right next to the bank. I was standing there in my line when a man in the bank line got his turn at the teller and asked for a specific teller by name. He stepped aside while they went to get her. When she came out, it was clear she didn’t know who this guy was or what he wanted/ He very quickly said she had waited on him yesterday and gave him an extra $20 and handed her the bill back. She took it and said yes, her till was $20 short and thanked him profusely. I kid you not, it was such a beautiful moment people in both lines were wiping away tears. We are a tender population right now!