What I Learned This Week: #185

Monday, March 1 – Sunday, March 7, 2021

The Week in Another Year in the Books – Part One, My Birthday: I celebrated my birthday this week, making me one of the last people to have a Covid Era Birthday. Normally the first week of March marks the beginning of a four week mad dash of social activities: my Birthday, Bock Fest, the Wine Festival, St. Patrick’s Day , NCAA Basketball Tourney, and Opening Day. Me, and my liver, anticipate this four week run with immature abandon. Last year, Bock Fest was the final activity before the official shut down and ended (temporarily) the social calendar. This year, the festivities are back, but WAY muted. Which brings me to my birthday.

I normally don’t take the day off of work for my birthday, but decided, based mostly on the weather report, to take it off this year. About the last thing I need is another day to figure out how to entertain myself, but I did it, and I’m glad I did. Starting with…

The Week in Another Year in the Books – Part One, My Birthday Begins With A Beer: The only event I could find unique to my birthday, and Covid-respectful, luckily happened within spitting distance of my apartment at Braxton, OTR. The brewery premiered a Stout collaboration with Graeters Ice Cream, Caramel Macchiato Milk Stout. The event started at 8:30 am, and I was there, drinking beer, eating a free raspberry chocolate chip donut and starting my birthday off like a frat boy on a bender. I mean, I didn’t go on a bender, but I had a two beers under my belt by 10 am. And, despite my skepticism about flavored beer, once the beer got down to just a little bit below room temp, it was delicious.

Beer for breakfast, yes please!

The Week in Another Year in the Books – Part One, My Birthday Goes With the Flow: And then I stopped in the local hippie vibe store to get a new crystal…citrine, for prosperity and positive energy. And then I walked to the river, nearly cresting at flood stage, always a sight to see. Then I ate lunch, outside in the sunshine at Moerlein. Then I took a nap (because I’m old!). And then I went out for one last night cap. Met a Covid-respectful amount of friends along the way. Home by 9. Covid birthdays are similar to what I’m used to, but more low key. Next year, hopefully, my birthday will kickoff the 2022 social season, like god intended!!!

Stone. River. Rail.

The Week in You Can’t Keep a Good/Goat Festival Down- Part One, Parade: As noted, this week is traditionally Bock Fest, and I’ve posted many, many pictures of the the Bock Fest parade and festivities in the past. This year, most notably, the Bock Fest parade and the Bock Fest Beer Hall celebrations were canceled as online events, and some low key in-person events substituted. I was resigned to this, as all festivals in the Covid Era have used this model.

When I left work on Friday, about the time the cancelled Bock Fest parade would have been kicking off, I was surprised and tickled to see a small band of Bock Fest organizers participating in a make-shift, sidewalk restricted, full Bock Fest regalia parade! They left Arnold’s Bar, walked on the sidewalk, obeying pedestrian crossing rules, and ended up at Old St. Mary’s for the Blessing of the Beer and some other traditional Bock Fest “business.” I about cried with joy.

Rebel Revelers!

The Week in You Can’t Keep a Good/Goat Festival Down- Part Two, Goat Soup: Every Bock Fest the decidedly not traditionally European Catholic celebrant Taqueria Mercado takes part in the local festivities by serving goat soup (Birria). It is without a doubt, one of my favorite parts of the weekend. This year, they Birria-d us once again. With a couple of Covid issued to-go Margaritas, that as a pleasant addition to virtual Bock Fest weekend.

The Week in Fish Fry: Like everything mentioned above, last year’s Lenten Fish Fry Season was disrupted by Covid. I’m not going to any of the Church fish fries this year, but I made damn sure I got a piece of Pony OTR fried fish and fries to sustain my until 2022. Mission accomplished..

What I Learned This Week: #184

Monday, February 22- Sunday, February 28

The Week in First/Fake Spring: The cold snap and snowy weather broke this week with a couple a very temperate days and a good dose of sunshine. Some of the best days of winter are when, suddenly, it doesn’t feel like winter. Everyone knows it is a temporary respite, but it a good chance to blow the winter stink off ya. Winter is still here for 6 more weeks, and in Cincinnati last freeze is May 7. My coats and gloves are still at the ready, but the windows are open.

Of course, spring weather meant a lot of people who hadn’t been out in a while made an appearance into the public sector. Findlay Market was extremely busy. The bars and street traffic downtown were very busy. The pandemic may not be done with us, but it appears a plurality is done with the pandemic. Still no dancing or live music, but mingling and mushing together is back for an awful lot of people. Luckily, an awful lot of people are still waiting it out. We’ll see.

The Week in Filled Dough – Spring Pastry Edition: While I wait for Easter’s hot cross buns, this week I bought Purim’s pastry, Hamantaschen. Purim is a spring Jewish holiday that I’m not even in the mood to look up, but I know it takes place in the town of Haman. The pinched corner triangle cookies are traditionally filled with apricot, plum, prune, or poppy seed jam. I was pleased that the young baker at Allez, making her first ever batch of Hamantaschen used Nutella as a filling. I gotta say, the gentile version is winner.

Spring dough! (Raspberry is pictured.)

The Week in Filled Dough – The Empanada Edition: On Saturday I was invited to a friend’s house to join her family for dinner. That is a rare treat in the Covid Era. I was in charge of an appetizer and was super pleased to see the Empanda Guy at Findlay Market because I knew the savory turnovers would be a great appetizer. The owner has been working with Findlay Kitchens for a year or so with the dream of getting his own restaurant. Since the empanada are delicious but the name of company is the not catchy Empanadas Box, I think he could use some marketing savvy.

I don’t mind standing in line waiting to purchase them because I love watching the owner’s heartfelt sales pitch. He explains what empanadas are, where you can find them around the world, and that his are Argentinian, where his family is from…though he is quick to point out that he’s from Miami.

I bought the sampler box and it was a big hit. Heck, I might even get invited back.

Oh, the Empanadas you will eta!

The Week in Going Big: I do not go out to eat or drink very often in the Covid Era, but on quiet weekday nights, every couple weeks or so I’ll meet someone for a drink or a quick meal. This week I went to Horse and Barrel because my friend wanted to try some different bourbons. They had several interesting ones on the menu, and a couple off menu selections that were lined up on a special shelf behind the bar. I picked the one I wanted. It was $25 for a 1 oz. pour. In non-Covid life I may have switched to something less expensive. In Covid life, with my entertainment budget severely in the black, I went for it. Rhetoric Bourbon Orphan Barrel turned out to be a treat. Very smooth, with oak and clove notes. Bottle of it are reselling for $400. This is not something I’m likely to have again.

Hit me with your best shot.

The Week in Feelin’ It: Walking around downtown I get asked for money all the time. Sometimes a person just asks for money simply by asking if I have some. Often, there’s a small backstory, as in can you spare some change for the homeless/a veteran or they want to buy bus fare, or a cup of coffee, or even a beer. Sometimes the stories go on for a couple minutes. Either way, for the most part, I don’t think anyone wants to be out on the street begging for change. I tend not to care if their stories are true or false. If I have a buck or two to spare, I’ll help out.

This week a woman and her dog stopped me with a long story of losing her job in Dayton because of Covid. Now she was back in Cincinnati but she was homeless and she needed 40 bucks to stay in a room for the night. She offered up a pair of cheap sunglasses and a cheap looking bracelet to barter. The story , though sad, didn’t quite ring true, though what do I know. I know this. People’s lives can get really messy and I would have given her a buck or two but I didn’t have any money at hand. For my own safety, I was not going to dig into my bag and open my wallet. For whatever reason though, I did feel bad about not giving her some money and I was surprised about the regret I felt. I only give money to a small percentage of people who ask but I hardly ever feel bad about it.

Several years ago I was a bar late, just before closing time. My friends and I were in the pool room at Arlin’s and the place was busy and raucous. A young woman walked in, close to tears, and started working her way through the room telling quite a story of her boyfriend leaving her in Clifton and how she thought she would need $60 to get back to her home in Indiana. She probably told about 10 people, none of who believed her, and none of whom gave her money. She got more and more desperate in the telling. Then Tony opened up his wallet and handed her the money. We were all stunned and wary even as she tearfully hugged him. She left the bar and we watched through the window as she got into a waiting car.

As you can imagine, the crowd went nuts calling Tony a sucker. He turned on the whole bar and said forcefully, “I did the right thing. She did the wrong thing.” We all shut up. And that’s what I was thinking about when I didn’t open my wallet for the (maybe) homeless lady with the dog.

What I Learned This Week: #182 and #183

Monday, February 8 – Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Week in Cramming: I was drafting out #182 of this here blog last Monday afternoon when I got an email from the member in my book club who is in charge of setting up our Zoom meetings, giving the information for “tomorrow’s” meeting. My first thought was, “Book Club is next week,” a good thought since my copy of the book had not arrived. It was an incorrect thought, however. After a moment of panic, I quick downloaded the book to Kindle and spent the entire day reading Haruki Marakami’s novel Norwegian Wood. I did not do anything else except sit and read. It was my first cram study session since my college days, and, for what it’s worth, I still have the skill!

The Week in the First, Second, and (sort of) Third Snow: The first significant snow of the year, and of the past several years came through town predicted at 2-3 inches. We got closer to 10. The second (and third) storm was predicted to be a one-two punch with upwards of a foot or more of snow. We got a couple inches. Ah yes, winter storms in Cincinnati are notoriously difficult to predict but we haven’t had to think about it for a while.

I work just a few blocks from where I live, so saying “I can’t make it in,” is, at best, lame. I suited up for the walk, putting on my best cold weather gear. I got to wear my rabbit fur hat, which is seriously so warm I only wear it during extreme cold weather – I haven’t worn it in years. For an hour or so after the big storm I had the entire office to myself, which meant I got to listen to my music a little louder, maskless and shoeless…lettin’ it all hang out. I’m calling it an in office snow day! Then my boss showed up and it was just a regular day. Boo!

The Week in Dining Out: One of the best things non-covid times about snow storms downtown is walking in the quiet snow covered street to a restaurant or bar and hanging out with neighborhood friends. That kind of activity is dicey during a pandemic but me and a friend gave it a try and ended up at Crown Republic. We planned on being there a short time for just drinks and appetizers. There were 3 diners in the high-ceiling restaurant. When the waitress asked if we’d dined with them before I felt like I was going to cry. Yes, I’ve dined with them. No, I haven’t stayed away on purpose. Yes, I was glad to be back. I hope I’m this emotional for every post Covid social experience.

The Week in Gumbo: The downtown lunch scene hasn’t stepped back up to pre-Covid levels, and I usually just go home or pack. But sometimes I need to eat close and I’m glad to have found the $5 cup of gumbo from the Kroger Food Court 1883. Nothing, food wise, makes me happier than a great tasting, cheap meal.

The Week in Egg-istential: For 10 days, I’d been working around the little, greenish egg who has been living in the carton with the other 11 full size brown eggs. On Friday, down to the last brown egg and the single green egg, I had to make a choice. I decided the green egg may have felt like the last kid picked for the kickball team so I finally gave it a chance. The yolk was full size, but the albumen part was short changed. Fine for breakfast but not for baking.

At the market this week I asked the seller about the green egg and she said their farm is trying to breed and raise more varieties of chickens and the green egg comes from the aracauna variety. The “ladies” as the seller referred to them, are just coming to laying age. Since the farmer’s market can sell a carton of eggs that aren’t all the same size, I’m probably going to see more green eggs in my cartons. I did not know I would be supporting chickens, but there you have it.

Egg choice!

The Week in Cooking – That was Easy: I need to use up 1/2 bag of frozen spinach before I forgot about it. Twosleevers.com, one of my go-to recipe sites came through again with their instant pot recipe for Cajun Pork Stew. It was so easy, just dumping stuff in the instant pot, I was really surprised how good it tasted. I served it over a baked potato, but rice or pasta would be good, or you can keto it out and serve on cauliflower rice.

The Week in Cooking – Planning: One of Sunday night’s cooking tasks was to use the scraps from cooking dinner to make a light vegetable stock to freeze and use in next week’s dinner…yes, I know what I’m cooking next week. No, I didn’t think two Roma tomato skins would have so much effect of the color. Doesn’t matter, though. Next week the stock will be part of a marinade for some pepper pork chops, one of my favorite Alton Brown Recipes of all time. Worth the fuss.


This week, I cooked up some chorizo with onions, hot peppers, and peeled roma tomatoes (see how this all goes together) in a large pan. I pulled some previously cooked black beans from the freezer and stirred them in to make a sausage bean concoction to serve over corn bread.

I have a favorite cornbread recipe that took me years to find, but every now and then I try a different recipe to see if I need to switch. I used a Cook’s Country recipe (which is behind a pay wall on line) from one of their magazines I bought years ago. The recipe was fussier than mine and didn’t yield a better loaf. Not worth the fuss. Once again, the recipe I cut out of a newspaper (source unknown) is the hands down winning (Northern style) corn bread in my house.

The House Cornbread!

The Week in Schadenfreude: Oh boy, is there any greater feeling in the work world than seeing one of your old jobs show up on the job boards? This week Linkedin pushed a job posting for a job I had a few years back and left because I was so bored it was making me cranky on the job. At the time, I’d held the job longer than anyone, and based on the timing of this posting, I still hold the record. None of this means anything, of course, it’s just personally amusing.

What I Learned This Week: #181

Monday, February 1 – Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Week in What Day It Is, Is it…Friday?: I lived a true, brain-fog Covid week this week as everyday at work felt like Friday and every night I had to shake myself to remember to go to work the next day. I think I said, ‘”oh, it’s not Friday?!?” a dozen times. And by real Friday I was too shaken to believe it was really here. Five Fridays in a row was not as fun as you might think.

The Week in Pot Roast: Whew. It’s a frigid start to February and my body wants to cozy up to some beef. I mean, I’d like to cozy up to a beefy dude, but it’s Covid, so actual beef will have to do. I decided to try a pot roast, something I haven’t made in years. Big cuts of meat require a lot of planning and freezer space when you live alone, like I do. I’m a planner, though, so bring on the meat.

The four pound Chuck Roast seemed smaller when I ordered and looked at it across the butcher’s counter then when I unwrapped it and looked at it on my counter. Four pounds weighs more than my brain (which I just googled clocks in at approximately 2.5 pounds). The plan? I made a simple pot roast in the Instant Pot and defatted the broth. I’ll make some gravy and I’ll have a couple meals of pot roast with vegetables. And mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes get their own sentence. The remaining strained broth and the remaining meat will make an appearance in a beef, barley, and vegetable soup. Mom is going to take some roast on both ends of the plan. And done. There might not be a lot of degrees outside, but it’s hot and roasty (and beefy) in here.

Some beet fat. Gross!

The Week in a quiet Super Bowl: Super Bowl parties are the easiest. Kids can come. There’s tons of food. And, it doesn’t matter if you watch football throughout the year. If you don’t try to drink as much Bud Light as you can shove down your gullet and the game keeps moving, you can be home relatively early on a “school night.”

This year of course, most of us are already home and, at least for me the snack “table” is guac and chips followed by shrimp cocktail. I miss trying all the dips and trying to eat wings while balancing my plate. But hey, I can double dip to my heart’s content. Plus it’s good practice for a quiet, at home, Mardi Gras. Man, Covid is stupid.

The Week in Tea: It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Churchill’s Fine Teas at Findlay Market, like years. When I walked in today I surprised by a large menu of tea choices. The menu covered most of a wall. It was color coded by the types of teas, and, it was a bit overwhelming. I came in for Earl Grey, a well-known tea. I know it is a black tea, but I somehow did not know Earl Grey is a flavored tea. What I was attributing to great tea leaves is actually Bergamot. Bergamot is not tea, it’s a type of citrus oil. I know this only because Churchill’s offers Classic Earl Grey and Earl Grey 2, with more bergamot. Now I know. For my money and from now on, in my head I’ll be drinking Earl of Bergamot tea. That’s just better marketing.

What I Learned This Week: #179/#180

Monday, January 18 – Sunday, January 31 – 2020

The Week in Resetting My Reset, Again: As I try to make sense of this Covid upended life, I’ve gone through a series of resets. I keep switching up my response of how I”m dealing with the collateral damage of living through a global pandemic. Every few weeks, as new information is available and the forced lack of social activity grinds on, I find myself getting kind of down. Because I hate that, I find a way to reset myself and my mental state and I ride that till I need to reset again. What else can I do?

I have settled in, as most of us have, but I still give myself so many pep talks I’m like a coach for a mediocre team that shows signs of brilliance but can’t get it’s act together. I’m living through Covid like any sports teams in the first half of any sports movie but I’m not sure if I’m a scrappy winner or hard luck loser. I mean, I’ve never even met my opponent, but I feel the force of Covid every day. Gah! It’s not easy!

The Week in Vege-ing Out, Literally: I treated myself to one of those single-topic cooking magazines that are always up by the registers at groceries and book stores. The topics are endless, 60 Soup Recipes for Fall, A Month of one-Skillet Dinners, 50 Meals in 30 minutes or less, and on. At 10 bucks or so, these are cheaper than full on cook books and they usually have some great ideas to get out of a cooking rut. I bought a copy of “America’s Test Kitchen’s Best Ever Slow Cooker Recipes, 90 Foolproof Favorites.” They don’t use exclamation points, but they should.

Their Vegetarian Chili looked really good. Of course, I had to work with it a little, as shown. America’s Test Kitchen recipes are designed for home cooks in a hurry. They minimize dishes used, ingredients, and fancy techniques and still come up with great food. I have time to do dishes and add an ingredient or two. I also like that they test ways of getting flavor that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own – like using soy sauce in chili. The result was outstanding. It is the best vegetarian chili I’ve made and with way less chopping than the usual versions I’ve tried. Plus, I got to use bulgur and I like to say bulgur. That’s a recipe bonus!

There were edits.

The Week in Reproduction: A friend of mine suggested that I make Copy Cat Olive Garden Tuscan Soup, a potato, sausage and kale soup. So I did. I haven’t been to Olive Garden in years and I’m actually not familiar with the original soup. I should note that I’m not an Olive Garden hater. For the price, I think their food is decent. And, like most chains, they are great sometimes, and mediocre others, but it is an easy restaurant to go to.

I always order minestrone probably because my brain thinks minestrone is the most Italian soup. Also, my brain often see the word Tuscan as Tuscon, which is decidedly not Italian. Anyway, using some high quality hot Italian sausage and traditional smoked bacon from Findlay Market, and following Delish.com’s recipe to a T, I produced a very fine Tuscan/Tuscon Soup.

The Week in Patience and Cookies: Here’s a rare glimpse into single living where I illustrate the proper, uninterrupted way to eat a tin of cookies from worst flavor (the practically gross Finnish Bread Cookie) to the sublime Coconut Cookie. #singlelife #evenagrosscookieisanokaycookie

Protestant work ethic applied to cookie eating. Save the best for last.

The Week in Snow Moves: Snow! I got to wear my snow boots on my walk to work! Probably an over-reaction to an inch of snow, but, I’m pretty stoked about wearing my snow boots. Best part…The squeaking sound they make on the floor at work and that is the closest thing to a basketball move that I have in my repertoire.

The Week Book and a Beer…During Wing Week: Here’ proof of my participation in Cincinnati Wing Week, featuring Asian style wings from Dope! Asian. Delicious, though the walk home with hot wings took a toll on their crispiness. Also, a big damn book and the not photogenic Bell’s Two Hearted IPA. Truth is, I’d rather have wing week at the restaurant, but this will do for now!

Truth is…I like wings

The Week in Screaming at Trees: In the background of the wing picture you can see the progress of my colossal struggle with a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that has been torturing me since the beginning of the month. After the water part came together so easily, I was surprised how difficult the rest of the puzzle was. And I was surprised at how much aggression I worked out cussing at the trees.

Freakin’ trees!!!

The Week in Hey Boo – Not a Really a Literary Reference: Possibly my favorite line in To Kill a Mockingbird is way at the end when Scout finally is face to face with Boo Radley, “Hey, Boo” she says. It’s a pivotal moment in Scout’s understanding of humanity, and it is often at the back of my mind when people call each other Boo. Yes, it’s a term of affection, but it’s a also a modern way, slightly less sexist way of calling someone baby. It’s also a young person’s term. I aged out of being called Boo about the same time it came into fashion. But this week on my evening walk I stopped to talk to a random neighbor and as I stepped away he said “Take care, Boo.” Aww!

The Week in Time – More of a Literary Reference: At some point early in the Covid Confinement I looked up at old St. Mary’s Church and realized that, though the church bells still chimed, the clock hands were gone. Of all the big neighborhood changes taking place during early Covid, the simple disappearance of clock hands weirded me out. George Orwell’s 1984 uses a clock striking 13 as a cue that all is not well. Clocks symbolize nostalgia. At the time, when it felt like I was losing everything, I appreciated my own nerdiness in remembering an arcane literature allusion. My brain still worked! Anyway, last week, the week of the inauguration, I realized the hands were back, and shinier. They must have left for some cleaning and TLC. I get it. And I’m glad they’re back.

What I Learned This Week: #178

Monday, January 11- Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Week in Covid Exposure – Maybe My Fault: This week everything revolved around Covid. I couldn’t escape it beginning with word on Tuesday evening that I had a one-on-one exposure. One-on-one exposure used to mean sexually transmitted, but now it just means that I ate dinner with someone who tested positive for Covid.

The social call was too much for me to resist. Before I went to dinner with her and another friend, I hadn’t eaten inside with anyone since September. Of course, it just takes one time and that’s the point of closing things down. We were only out for about 2 1/2 hours, at two places, the first busier than the second, but neither felt unsafe. We went through the evening as safe as we could, but it’s still a pandemic out there.

When I found out, I texted my boss and was thrust into Covid protocol, meaning I couldn’t come back to work until I tested negative. The walk-in urgent care was busy with people being tested, the workers say Covid tests are essentially what they do all day. I assumed Covid particles, if only just a leeetle bit, were in the air as I waited. I opted to pay out of pocket for a rapid test, $125 instead of the insurance-covered two-day wait test. And I was negative officially in 15 minutes, but I felt “negative” before, during, and after the test. For work purposes, I still had to stay home for the day, so thank you Covid for a free ($125!) day off work.

The Week in Covid Exposure – Not Really My Fault: I walked into the corner soul shop to pick up an order and walked right smack into a trap yoga class. They had moved the merchandise to the side and about 8 women were mid-exercise. It was awesome! There was so much energy in the room, I didn’t even bat an eye when I realized I had walked in as the owner was posting a Facebook Live video. I bought my item and left and about 5 feet away from the store I remembered the pandemic. And as I relived the hot, exercise class and the health warnings about exercising indoors I hoped my inadvertent error wasn’t costly. (It wasn’t…whew!)

The Week in Where Covid Has Got Us: My Mom’s 80th birthday was Friday. 80 is big. We should have had a party. Instead, me, my Brother, and a family friend had takeout at Mom’s house. We sat at the dining room table the entire time, with the window opened slightly. The food was great, the conversation was great, and the evening was short. This is the zen of Covid where I can’t dwell on what could have been, but treasure what we were able to do. The evening was fabulous. Not the evening we wanted, but the evening we got.

What I Learned This Week: #177

2021: Monday, January 4 – Sunday, January 10

The Week in God Dammit America!: I’ve been very quiet this week on social media in light of the events at the Capitol because, although I have a lot to say, I don’t have anything positive to say. A reading of history suggests we are in for several years of upheaval. The American political class is rotten to it’s core and they have brought us to a Civil War. The insurgent force, a group of delusional and violent American citizens, was temporarily pushed back this week, but they aren’t done. They will regroup and cause greater terror. I’m loathe to predict anything, but will not be surprised when they start to direct their violence on civilians, beginning with their own neighbors. As much as the right magnifies Antifa, they are a nothing but a loosely knit group of kids that will be ready for skirmishes, but will be no match for the para-military forming all around us. Our war of facts vs. fiction takes place in front of the backdrop of a raging pandemic that a third of population (mostly the insurgents) believes is harmless, And, just thinking off the top of my head, I would not be surprised to see border skirmishes as a new wave of people decide a broken America is still a place they would like to be. Someday it will be again, but for the foreseeable future, we have to keep working to reclaim that status. We can do it, I will never lose hope for the rise of the good people, but we’re in for a rough ride.

The Week in Hoping for Next Week: My little anecdotes don’t seem very important this week. But…

The Week in 5 Day Work Weeks: After two shortened work weeks I hauled my not enthusiastic self to work 5 days in row. And I had to do all the stuff I put off the previous two weeks because the people I needed were doing “holiday” things. Whatever. I made it, dramatically! Work is back to regular programming and next week I hope to be in a better frame of mind to post my little shining lights of humanity.

In the meantime, I’ll spend the week thinking about the marketing team that put a cactus on a package of toilet paper. What does it mean?