Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

COVID Crazed

I’ve gotten crazier in the last year. I blame the pandemic.

All of that time I had. Secluded. Social distancing. Avoiding people.

A good time to work on the many projects I hoped to finish: Write a book. Sort through bins of mementos and organize them into scrapbooks. Design and sew a wrap skirt like I had in the 70s. Learn Spanish. Lift weights and sculpt some dope (… working on my Millennial Slang) Baby Boomer biceps and triceps. Take an online woodworking course and build a breakfast nook. Find friends I haven’t seen for decades and reconnect. Read all the classic novels that I have yet to read.

Sigh.

I did none of that. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

What I did do was watch every single season of Schitt’s Creek, Shtisel, Frankie and Grace, RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Handmaid’s Tale. Those titles will tell you, and my therapist, everything you need to know about me.

Oh yes, and I did eat. And eat.

And eat. And eat.

No weight lifting, no working out. My upper arms are still flapping in the wind like an old weathered flag against a osteoporosic pole.

No Spanish. Except nada. And perezoso. (lazy, sluggish, slothful)

I never got through the first of many bins full of old pictures and mementos. Was I ever really that young? OMG, my parents were so young at the exact same time I thought they were so old. A son’s letter to Santa, asking for a mousetrap and a screwdriver. (?) Another son’s handprint turned into a turkey, with the feathers giving thanks for Family, No Homework and Fried Potatoes. A picture of my daughter and her brother in matching outfits I sewed for them with my son sporting a bowl haircut and cute little embroidered shorts (that he would later blame for his career as a Marine Corps Scout sniper). I had to stop. I was dry heaving and nostalgia sobbing. My husband was dialing 911.

Anyway, I did find some old friends and reconnected with them, albeit through the daily newspaper’s obituaries.

And, oh yes, I bought copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina.”

They’re both right there, by my bedside, stacked with the others. Waiting.

Cooking, Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

ButterNutting My Way to Pandemic Cuisine

How bored and anxiety-ridden am I? Enough to turn French.

 le freak; le maniaque; le sot.

My attempt at growing butternut squash is shown in the middle. My baby is flanked by the giant, mutant GMO squash on either side.

My son gave me the last of his fall harvest — two mutantly large (oh yes, those GMOs) butternut squash — and I decided to make butternut squash soup, for the first time in my looooong life (aged 20 years in 2020 alone).

It was simple, I guess, but peeling two butternut squash the size of Volkswagens is akin to finding head lice on Rapunzel.

However, once I had that out of the way, I was full throttle to the Ultimate French Cuisine Snobby Pandemic Chef From Hell.

I decided to make crème fraîche (pronounced kram fresh-ha) and toasted pepitas as a decadent topping for the decadent full-fat creamy butternut soup. That extra COVID+19 around my waistline was not attained by munching celery and sipping lemon water.

Those two mutant squashes yielded SIX(!) freezer bags of future French cuisine — or freezer frost, depending on my mood.

Since I couldn’t find crème fraîche in the store (“Cream, right? Dairy aisle. Fresh ah, veggies? Produce aisle.”) , I decided to make it. Turns out adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and letting it set for 8-24 hours renders a delightfully thick luscious type of French cream. Je suis très impressionné!

I cooked the cubed squash with chopped onion, apple, celery, carrots, garlic, veggie broth and salt and pepper until soft, blended it all in the blender (one small batch at a time) and poured it into bowls. Topped with a dollop of salted, roasted pepitas (come on — regular ole’ pumpkin seeds! Aldis —under $2 a bag!), fresh, chopped parsley and crème fraîche — and voila! A masterpiece!

For no one.

Bon appétit!

Just me. Always me. I have NEVER been so sick of me.

Well. there’s also my husband, who is also sick of me and whom I run into once in a while in the hallway on weekends. Alas, he could not see the splendor of a perfectly blended and exquistitely-plated butternut bisque and magnificently executed crème fraîche when all he really wanted was a dozen smoky BBQ wings with steak fries.

I ate it all. Thus, I upgraded the COVID+19 to COVID+24.

Would I do it again? Geesh, it was a lot of work. But, during the pandemic when there’s a lot of me, me, me time, I might foray into that French cooking arena once again.

When this is all over, though? Pretty sure I’ll forget the soup and enjoy a mixing bowl of the crème fraîche and toasted pepitas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. grossir pendant la quarantaine.

Coronavirus, Vintage chicks lol

Lofty Goals Crumble on the Sofa

What is it with old people these days? And by old people, I mean me.

Pappy, 87-years-young

An 87-year-old named Pappy climbed Mount Katahdin and has already logged in over 1,000 miles on the Appalachian Trail; 74-year-old Rosie Swale-Pope successfully completed a five-year around-the-world run, and; 103.4-year-old Al Blaschke qualified for the Guinness Book of World Records after taking a tandem skydive at 14,000 feet.

Good grief.

I consider it a major accomplishment if I can fasten my own bra in the morning.

However, after reading about these incredible seniors, I was motivated. I carefully inked my plan: Start with the 8.2 mile trail in a local state park five days a week, followed by the Springfield Sputter, Mutter & Putter Marathon in April and culminate in the Old Geezers Gasp n’ Collapse Triathalon in June.

I’m pretty good at writing action plans while sitting at my desk. Writing is not a problem. Action is the problem.

Viv’s Do It Or Die Journal

Caffeine in the only motivating factor in the author’s life and even that is short-lived.

Day 1: Walked out front door and down the five porch steps. Very cold out. Walked back up the steps, retrieved a warmer jacket and some gloves. Walked back outside and down the steps. Still cold. Walked up the steps and back inside to retrieve a hat. Both cats ambushed me, cursing “Raaoh!— Raaoh!” Quickly dumped some cat food into their dishes and walked back outside. Just as I got to the car, it started to rain. Went back into the house, put my pajamas back on and curled up in a defeated ball of lost ambition. I’m exhausted.

Day 2: Was almost to the park, all set to hike, when I found a coupon in the van console for a free latte at my favorite coffee shop that was only a few miles away. Made a quick U-turn and headed toward Jumping’ Jack Java. Had no choice. The coupon expires today.

photo by Mehdi Thomas Boutdarine

Day 3: Didn’t make it out the door. My son needed me to babysit while he ran some errands. The grandkids and I made cookies, which is akin to powerwashing the kitchen with a 10-pound bag of flour and swabbing the deck with frosting. Really did plan to go on my hike after they left, but it was impossible. I have a triple case of Distended Cookie Belly, Preschooler Sitter Fatigue and COVID Burnout. Took a nap, instead. I’m exhausted.

Day 2: Looked out the front window and thought for quite a while about hiking. While thinking, I climbed in the recliner under my blankie and read the paper front to back. Also did the crossword and sudoku puzzles. Got up and looked out the window again. Screw it. It’s cold out and it took me all morning to get my bra fastened. I’m exhausted.

Besides, I’m right in the middle of season 4 of Schitt’s Creek.