Day 39: Zooming with Ross

Remember Ross Gay? The poet whose book, The Book of Delights, inspired this blog? Well, I was in the same room with him tonight. Okay, Zoom room. Needless to say, it was a delight. You can watch it on YouTube. (note that I am not shown, but I was there — just off camera). Aimee Nezhukumatathil was so sweet. I think I will buy her book, World of Wonders.

Other delights today were rainbows and sparkles in my study and kitchen

Finally, I got a photo of the cardinal climber’s flowers.

Day 38: Dinner and a Debate

Remember yesterday’s reprieve? Ha. I didn’t do anything but caramelize the onions and make lists, but I felt like I was busy all day long.

Today I was actually busy all day long but having had yesterday’s delightful reprieve and a good night’s sleep, it was not exhausting at all. Plus I had my list.

If you recall, the menu included deep dish pizzas, but I realized we had quite enough starch planned and I decided to make those another day.

It was all good and even though the tiramisu didn’t turn out exactly right (the whipping cream didn’t whip properly — it might not have been cold enough, or perhaps there was an issue with whipping it with the mascarpone cheese) it tasted like it should have.

I probably won’t make the lentil and cauliflower salad again.

But any time with Andrew and Alex is a delight. Even watching the shitshow of a debate was much better because they were watching it with me*.

Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President

*Dean had an ear infection and went to bed after eating dinner.

Day 37: Reprieve

I delight in both cooking for others and entertaining guests. However cooking for others and entertaining also wears me out — even if it is just cooking for family. That’s why, when Andrew texted me this morning that he’d gotten the day wrong when he and Alex could come over for Alex’s birthday dinner and would it be possible to do it tomorrow, I felt delighted. I’d planned a too-elaborate menu* (which is typical for me) and was not sure how I would get it all done in time for dinner. I’d planned on starting the risotto by caramelizing the onions yesterday, but I was too lazy to do so. I’d also planned on roasting the eggplant for the caponata. Ditto. Finally, I was going to completely make the tiramisu so it could chill for at least 24 hours. Nope, that didn’t happen either. I was also going to start the focaccia (the sourdough version that rises in the fridge).

So when I learned that I had a whole day to do what I’d planned on doing yesterday, I felt like a schoolgirl hearing that my history exam was postponed because of a snow day. I made the caramelized onions today and the house smells delightful!

At least I made a plan today!

*Planned Menu:


  • Cheese (two Italian, one cow and one goat) and crackers
  • Caponata served alongside focaccia


  • Caramelized onion risotto
  • Deep dish pizza
  • Cauliflower and lentil salad
  • Roasted red peppers


  • Tiramisu
  • Espresso

Day 36: Bread

One of my retirement plans was to make bread more often. Well, because Dean is not eating bread like he used to, I’ve not needed to make bread very often at all. I’d bought some bread that I’d stored in the freezer, but that ran out a couple of days ago. I was missing my occasional peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches so I decided to bake a loaf of sandwich bread today.

It looks okay, but in my opinion, it is too short (as in its texture is more like cake than bread) but it tastes good. That does not surprise me since there is a lot of butter and oil in it. That said, it was delightful making bread again today.

Day 35: A few delights at an aquatic garden


I was able to truly test out my new camera today on a visit to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens this morning. It is not an optimal time to visit the park, and part of it is closed off due to the pandemic, but there were some photographic opportunities.

The lotus flowers were all gone, leaving their trypophobia-triggering seed pods in their place. I tend to get a little squeamish when looking at the pods, but I also find them delightful.

Most of the wildflowers were gone, but there was still some color. I especially delighted in seeing the jewel weed. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I grew up calling it touch me not, but I think I like jewel weed better — it is supposed to be good for poison ivy rashes.

This pile of dirt brought back a delightful memory. When I was quite young — maybe seven or so, three homes were built on our street. For a time there were large piles of dirt on the lots as the builders dug out dirt for the foundations and basements. I remember climbing those hills with friends, and alone, and purposely falling down them to recreate my favorite scene in the film Snowfire where the main character, a girl slightly older than I was, falls down a large hill, maybe even part of a small mountain, and breaks her wrist (leg?). This is a pivotal part in the film, if I recall correctly, because her parents think the horse has harmed her and plan to kill the horse. Anyway, I fell down that pile of dirt a lot that summer and this pile of dirt made me remember that other pile of dirt in my life (although this is much smaller than mine was — I think).

The last delight of Kenilworth was this blue kazoo on a picnic bench. I was sure that it was left there by a child who’d recently been delightfully blowing on it and making squawky kazoo music.

Day 34: Cornucopia

There’s a small store in Bethesda that specializes in Italian food. Anything you could possibly want when making an Italian dish can be found at Cornucopia. Are you going to make homemade pasta? The owner will show you several kinds of 00 semolina flour to choose from. How about risotto? You’ve used arborio rice before? Try carnaroli this time! Cheese? How about Taleggio — that buttery, spreadable cheese (also good in risotto)? In the mood for something unusual? How about Stracchino? This cheese is also called “tired cow cheese” because it is made from the milk of cows that have come down from the mountains in the autumn.

The owner is Italian and returns to Italy twice a year to visit family and order items for his store.

I needed ingredients for risotto and tiramisu that I am making for Alex for a belated birthday dinner on Monday so, of course, I headed to Cornucopia. The owner was, as usual, very helpful, kind and personable. Shopping there is an absolute delight!

Photo by Sahar from Google Maps/Reviews.

Day 33: Book Group Zoom

I’m not a fan of video conferencing. I had lots of them at work, although most of the time I didn’t turn my video on. The last month or so, in one of my projects, we were required to turn on our video (and make sure we were wearing work-appropriate clothing and not look like we “just got back from the gym”).

Neither of my kids have suggested having video chats, and I have not ever pressed them on it, although I did send Clare an Echo device with a screen so we could easily see each other. Her partner does not like it so it sits, unplugged in the hallway of her apartment building.

Outside of work and before this evening, I’ve only Zoomed a few times. Once with Andrew after his graduation ceremony; a couple of times with my neighbor, Catherine; twice with my blogging friends; and twice with a neighborhood “age in place” group.

This evening’s Zoom meeting with my book group — women, many of whom I have known for twenty-five years — was truly delightful. We’d considered Zooming earlier in the pandemic, but there was not much enthusiasm for it. Finally someone suggested it again and nearly everyone said they’d join.

One of our group members was concerned that not everyone would have a chance to talk, but she didn’t have to worry — we all talked, and we all listened. We do it again in a few weeks — but this time we’ll have read a book!

I didn’t realize how much I missed these friends until tonight.

Screenshot of Zoom participants laughing
Screen shot after someone told a joke.