Things I Loved/Hated This Week #17

LOVE:

Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted Popcorn:

Growing up, I lived on microwave popcorn. I was obsessed and would have several bags a day. Then, I got over it. Not sure why. Probably because the popcorn you get most frequently is crap that tastes of chemical butter and death. My world changed when I came across this popcorn. It’s perfect. The kernels are tender, it’s wonderfully salty without making your mouth feel as if you’ve been sucking on natron, and though there’s no butter, it tastes wonderfully buttery. It’s a triumph of popcorn and the perfect snack. It’s vegan, too, which thrills me as I’m trying to move towards more of a vegan lifestyle. Do try it out. Orville also makes a popcorn with cracked black pepper and it’s divine, but I prefer the simple delight of plain popcorn. I’m craving some now.

“Hallelujah, I Love Him So” by Connie Francis:

 

I’m very rarely without music. I wish that my life had a soundtrack and a DJ that would constantly put on music that was fit for my mood. I think that would be divine. When I’m blue, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” would come on or if I’m in the mood to dance, “Déjà Vu” would begin playing. Alas, this is not yet a technology I’m aware of. So, I just listen to Spotify all the time. Last night, I finally found Robbie Williams’ new album and listened to “Candy” all night long. I love that song.

 

I’m still waiting for the live Amy Winehouse album the BBC put out in November, which I was fool enough not to buy when I was in England. Le sigh… Anyway, onto the topic. I watched Where The Boys Are a couple weeks ago and was enchanted by the song of the same name by Connie Francis. I found album after album of her music and enjoyed it tremendously. I love female pop music from the sixties and fifties and forties and thirties and twenties and seventies and eighties and nineties and the two thousands and beyond. I just love female vocalists. I’ve never been into male singers. Don’t know why. Anyway, this song is always stuck in my head. I walk around the halls at work mumbling in a sing song voice, “How do I know? I just tell em that he told me so. That’s why I know…hallelujah, I love him so.” It’s a gorgeous song, so simple, but so catchy. Listen.

Writing:

Betty Cuddling With Unknown 2

A few weeks ago, I believe, I wrote about how much I hated writing. I still do, but I also love it. It’s one of those things that changes based on my creativity level and mood. Lately, I’ve really gotten into it as I’ve once again started developing the plot for my next novel, tentatively titled Hôtel-Ker-Maria. I’ve discussed it before, I’m sure. If not, it’s a romance that takes place in post World War II France in a tiny village along the Mediterranean. If I do it right, I think it has the potential to be excellent. I write a page every day, which isn’t much, but it does slowly add up and for the fifteen minutes a day it takes me to do this, I get to go on a mental vacation, walk around in the sunlight along ancient village streets, stare off into the sea, and carry on a steamy affair with a handsome Frenchman. I would recommend you all do that once in your life, in real life, not in your novel writing. It needn’t been an affair, just date a French guy. It’s fun.

Power Walking:

1ixsmfI hope you get where this image comes from. If not, we’ll never be good friends.

My favorite exercise is easily power walking. It’s mindless, not difficult, and puts me in a good mood. Exercise is supposed to release “feel good endorphins” and this usually does it for me. I put the treadmill on four miles an hour, hit play on some Beyoncé and start moving. If not Beyoncé, maybe some sixties pop. Doesn’t matter, it’s a good time. Before long, I imagine the treadmill is a runway and it’s New York Fashion Week and Tyra is waiting for me at the end and I’ve got to stomp down as fiercely as I can–and I do. Someday the Universe will make this a reality. It had better. My life was not meant to be what it is. Dullsville.

Whole Foods Salad Bar:

Even though I wasn’t as impressed as I usually am when I was at Whole Foods last night, it was still a bitching salad bar. There wasn’t any sesame seed spinach or marinated mushrooms or sundried tomatoes, which was a huge bummer. I love sesame seed spinach. I had to have kale instead, quelle horreur. Kale is alright, but I prefer spinach. I still made a great salad though with: artichoke hearts, faux chicken, eggs, Parmesan, feta, onions, mushrooms, farro, quinoa, some grain I can’t recall, cottage cheese, olive oil, and other stuff I’ve forgotten. I toasted some sesame seeds at home and put them on top. Loves it.

HATE:

Lack of Toe-Kick Drawers:

I think that toe-kick drawers are just the bee’s knees and the most wonderful organizational element ever in a kitchen. They are the end! You probably have no idea what I’m speaking about because you never see them, and that’s a shame. Toe kick drawers are shallow drawers installed beneath your cupboards where the baseboard would normally be. They’re secret drawers. Sometimes they’re masqueraded to look like baseboards, sometimes not. They’re useful for storing big flat items like cake pans or jelly roll pans or a folding step stool. These need to come standard. So chic.

Not Being Allowed to be in a Bad Mood:

Everybody in the world is allowed to be grumpy and we all say, “Cheer up, darling, it’ll all be better tomorrow.” A kindly smile is offered as is a cup of tea. This might just happen in the movies I watch. Not for me, though. I’m in a bad mood maybe twice a month. It’s not even a bad mood, really, I just don’t feel happy and am occasionally a bit depressed. I just want to be left alone. But no. Everybody insists on telling me that I need to snap out of it and that I’m a jerk and that I’m being rude. Bitches. If they’re feeling out of sorts, it’s perfectly fine for them, of course, but not for me. Hypocrites. I hate being told how to feel and especially what to do.

Fear of Tap Water:

This has annoyed me ever since the first time I went to France. People would ask about my trip and the things I did, but the question would always come up, “Can you drink the water?” What do they think Paris is, Sudan in 1840? You can drink the water. It has a high calcium content and makes your fingernails grow in a bizarrely fast fashion, but it’s fine to drink. That’s always annoyed me. Like America has the only safe drinking water. Then, I recently discovered that people are afraid of the water here, too. A student flipped out when they asked if they could go buy another water bottle and I said no and told her to refill it from the sink. She looked at me as if I asked her to pour arsenic straight into his bottle. she tried to convince me that it was polluted water. I wasn’t amused.

Watery Soup:

Really thin, broth-like soup is one of the most unpleasant culinary things in existence. I like my soups to be substantial and hearty, the kind you have to scoop up. And if it’s going to be thin, I want it to have chunks of vegetables and grains in it, I don’t want to ladle water into my mouth. I made a roasted garlic soup the other night out of Martha Stewart’s new Meatless cookbook and was rather disappointed with the results. It was weak flavored and very thin. I was hoping for something more robust. I will try it again, I’m sure, but I’ll add some more potatoes to thicken it up or add an egg or serve it over a piece of rustic bread. Hopefully the other recipes will not be a disappointment as I’ve looked forward to this book’s publication for over a year and was even involved in the cover choice, albeit not in a very serious way. I’m a member of the Martha Stewart Advisory Panel. Très chichi, tu sais?

Teavana Employees:

I’m still on my tea kick, I love drinking it and I have even established a tea time for when I get home from work. I’m so classy, I ache. I’ve read that loose teas taste much better, so I went to Teavana to pick out some new things. I didn’t like it there. The staff was weird. I’m a fan of weird people, but they were a new level of strange. I was unsure of what to get since I’m only beginning to explore tea and thought I’d get a few little sample sizes. I’ve always enjoyed Earl Grey, and recently read about a blend called Russian Earl Grey that has grapefruit rind in it. Sounded fabulous, but they didn’t have it. Instead, they had a very lemony Earl Grey, which I liked, so I asked for a small portion thinking they would give me a little sachet for a cup or two, but the gentleman with the bad hair started shoveling it into a bag. Alarmed, I watched the price go up and stopped him trying to explain that I didn’t need a month’s supply of tea, I just wanted to try it. He declared that the lowest quantity they could sell was two ounces, which I don’t understand, but I bought that. Why would it matter if I bought a quarter ounce or a pound if it’s sold by weight? I’m going to have to write a letter about this. I also bought some Moroccan Mint Tea, which was much more affordable. I’m still looking for one that tastes like tea at the mosque in Paris. The closest I’ve gotten is mixing a Bigelow green tea with a mint green tea that I got in a cheap box at Walmart. We will have to see if this one is right. The salesperson would not stop talking about mint. It was exhausting. I’ll have to send somebody in to do my shopping the next time. Ain’t nobody got time for that! He also said that after two cups of this Earl Grey that I bought, I would be so happy. I’m not that happy. I’m just sipping tea. Tea people are kooks.

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