I’m in a bad mood.
I feel like Alexander, but instead of having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, it’s been a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad couple of days. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s been kind off a rough week. I’ve been battling a summer cold going on ten days. I’ve had a sore throat, a dry cough, and some serious post nasal drip. I tried to beat it into submission with Vitamin C, Mucinex, and Nyquil, but it just won’t quit. This cold took all of those measures and doubled down, leaving me waking up scared that I had pink eye because my eyelids were glued shut with gunk. Thankfully it wasn’t pink eye, just (according to my doctor) the mucus in my sinuses leaving from my eyes as well as my nostrils. Wonderful. The sore throat comes and goes depending on how regularly I take a dose of Advil for my root canal.
Oh, did I forget that part? Yeah, I had a partial root canal last a week ago Wednesday that left the left side of my face feeling like it was sliding down to my shoulder. Last month, I chipped my crown and couldn’t get in to see the endodontist until last week. He brings buckets of good news saying, “Oh, well let’s clean this out and treat what looks to be some kind of irritation in your gums. Then come back in three weeks and we’ll put a new crown on!” My hopes of being able to use my whole mouth to chew were dashed. I thought I was going to go in there, have them pop the new crown on and I’d be on my way. I’m forever working against the clock: the girls are only at camp for three hours. The sitter comes for three hours within the camp time frame. I have to boogie to and from camp to get to the DDS and then back to get the girls. Thankfully, I had had the foresight to ask a friend to scoop up my campers with hers. What I thought was going to be a relatively routine appointment became a novocaine laced, dry mouth inducing two hour drill session. And all this time, I thought I’d been taking care of my teeth! In truth, my teeth are strong and healthy. I just bit down on something the wrong way and caused the crown to chip off. When I look at it, I can barely tell, but when I touch it with my tongue, it feels like the Grand Canyon.
So, root canal on the heels of a possible cold. And, I was supposed to go out of town for a girls’ week-end, too. Those plans got scrapped. Scratchy throat and puffed up face do not make for a good time. I slogged through the rest of the week, my left cheek resting in my left hand as I went about my routine. The pain in my face subsided as the pain in my throat gained traction. Thankfully, the Hubs came home over the week-end and played nursemaid, plying me with tea and urging me to rest. When he left to go on a business trip Monday, my cold peeped out of hiding and came back with a vengeance.
I kept pumping myself full of Vitamin C, orange juice, Advil, whatever I could get my hands on. The doctor urged me to rest, but that’s a pipe dream. I have kids. Rest and I broke up a long time ago. I tried to get brawlick on the cold and went to the gym, where I let the Cardio Kickboxing instructor jab, upper-cut and roundhouse kick us all into a sweat induced stupor. The cure for anything is saltwater, right?
Well, I felt better after having worked out, but there’s this little patch of rough, itchiness at the top (or would that be back) of my throat that won’t quit. I don’t have time for that! I kept up the sweat regimen with weight lifting on Tuesday, Zumba on Wednesday and Step Aerobics on Thursday. I feel like I’m getting the best of it, but part of me knows I do need to rest. When the kids go down for bed, I’m usually hot on their heels. However, we decided to break C of her pull-up habit this summer, which means taking her to the toilet several hours after she falls asleep and then again at the crack of dawn. When it’s lights out at 8, I’m ready to go with them, but I hang on until 10, put her on the pot and then knock out. Inevitably this past week, I’ve woken up coughing around 4. I’ll get up and put her on the pot, my only consolation being that by doing this, I won’t have to wash the sheets at 7 in the morning. Still, I think the only one being conditioned here is me. Hello, Pavlov’s dogs?
Add to the mix the Sisyphean task of getting my book published. Every time I think I’m ready to launch, I hit a snafu. There have been some production issues. There have been some printing challenges. There have been so many little aggravating sidesteps, I am starting to believe that this part is actually harder than the writing of the text. I’ve had such good feedback and momentum from FaceBook and Pinterest about Maggie Sinclair. I feel like I’m letting people down when another day goes by and the book is unavailable. I know, I know, good things come to those who wait. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Measure twice, cut once. Practice makes perfect. Patience is not a virtue I possess, but I don’t have a choice. Still, I’d rather it be exactly how I want it to be than thrown together just to meet a deadline. I’m getting there, and I have to remind myself of everything that I have accomplished thus far. The irony of that last statement is pretty strong because it is exactly what I tell the Hubs when he’s getting frustrated with his perceived lack of forward progress on his projects.
Like I said, it’s been rough week. My fridge looks like a barren wasteland — I think there’s a box of baking soda, a dried up apple and maybe a swallow of apple juice in the container. The girls have been clamoring for the pool, ice cream, screen time on their devices, and trips to Target. My good intentions and my execution are not in sync. I think I’ve maxed out all the help available to me, and even asking for that was difficult. You know how I hate asking for help.
I’m not throwing myself a pity part here — Don’t cry for me, Argentina! I just need to get some things off my chest. When I was laid up in the dentist chair, my mouth open wide, no clue what was being done and only able to see the different drill bits out of my peripheral vision, I thought I was going to crack. The dentist is a really genial, grandfatherly type of guy. I knew if he patted my shoulder and asked me if I was okay, I’d probably start crying. Shoot, when he jammed that needle full of Novocaine in my gums and told me what I great job I did, I almost did start crying. I think I was in need of some kind of comfort, milk of human kindness. What I needed then, and now, is just some comfort. I’m looking forward to the Hubs coming home from his trip and getting wrapped up in his arms.
In the meantime, I’ll probably stuff my face with something that will be a poor, but delicious, substitute and keep pushing forward.
Happy Friday, y’all!
Adapted from How to Cook Everything
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) butter, melted
1 cup (218 grams or 7 3/4 ounces for light; 238 grams or 8 3/8 ounces for dark) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (4 3/8 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour
- Butter an 8×8 pan
- Mix melted butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla.
- Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions (below).
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 20-25 minutes, or until set in the middle. I always err on the side of caution with baking times — nobody ever complained about a gooey-middled cookie. Cool on rack before cutting them
Further additions, use one or a combination of:
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, toasting them first for even better flavor
- 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon mint extract in addition to or in place of the vanilla
- 1/2 cup mashed bananas
- 1/4 cup bourbon, scotch or other whiskey; increase the flour by one tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons of espresso powder with the vanilla
- Stir 1/2 cup dried fruit, especially dried cherries, into the prepared batter
- Top with a vanilla butter cream or chocolate peanut butter cream frostingNew favorite combination of late (added 5/24/14): We’ve gotten on a kick making these again, but I’ve really wanted to increase the toasty butterscotch flavor and have done so by: browning the butter, using dark brown sugar but only 3/4 cup (I prefer these less sweet these days), increasing the vanilla to 1 1/2 teaspoons and the salt to 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, plus a few flakes crumbled on top. I use 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans as the mix-ins. Hope this provides some inspiration!