Happiness is a Moment of Octopus

Like everyone else, I’m still Coping With Things, and that means that I have spells of despair, questioning everything. But in between those, I have moments of delight.

• Knitpicks just had a sale and I opened a box of yarn so beautiful it glowed.
• My adopted cat who I was prepared to wait years for before she was affectionate (she was a stray for at least two years) likes to sleep next to me and rub her head on my arm and runs into the house when I call her name.
• My daughter called the other day and we talked for two hours about absolutely nothing and everything.
• I bought a crepe maker and I’m now researching great crepe recipes (I got tired of running out of bread and not wanting to go to the store).
• I cleaned and redecorated my bathroom and it’s now a riot of color with two fish bags and an incoming octopus-holder-of-everything from Amazon (see right).

I mean, the octopus alone is going to give me a Moment every time I go in there now.

So what was your octopus this week?

41 thoughts on “Happiness is a Moment of Octopus

  1. Again, I am happy to be part of this wonderful community. Thanks to everyone for being you. Thanks to Jenny for being the host of this sanctuary.

    1. I copy and pasted and then was doubtful as I am of everything that calls itself a HACK. Then my eyes got wide, then wider, then in awe I had to pause and make that omelette/burrito thing. HEAVEN

    2. Truly impressive! Some of these I knew/had heard of, others were new but some I can see might work.

      I’m not too sure about adding salt to milk though – I have nothing behind this other than it just seems… wrong, lol. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has tried it though.

  2. Congrats!

    I’m selling my new thriller, White Lightning, which makes me happy.

    Our new dog, Bell, is learning how to sit better. Peed on the floor again, though. Now my husband is more paranoid about taking her out q 2 hours, which is probably a good thing.

    I made crêpes too, because I read The Crêpes of Wrath and wanted to make something fun for my family.

  3. That’s why I bought a bread maker. Particularly with Covid, it means the only reason I absolutely have to go to the shops is when I run out of milk.

    I got a posh Panasonic, because it gets lots of great reviews, and it’s surprisingly quiet. My last bread machine (that died over ten years ago) sounded like a fight had broken out in my kitchen, which is not what you want three hours before your alarm is due to go off.

  4. The octopus is incredible and the crepe idea is genius. I’m glad the cat has come around! We now have 4 cats: our 19-year old Siamese has been joined by a lovely mini black panther and 2 kittens, so our house is pretty hectic and cute these days.

    I’m happy that I moved back to my hometown and can spend time with my parents (mom 74, dad 83) and that my DH gets along with them and is loving living here. I spent Friday with my mom shopping in the nearest “big” city (pop 12,000) and we both were happy to be able to spend time together. Our income is greatly reduced but so is the stress from living and working in a 1.5 million population city. My little town is soothing to my middle aged soul in ways my twenty-something self would not have understood.

    Thank you for your sharing your life, Jenny, reading your books and being a part of this community have been bright parts of my life since I picked up “Bet Me” all those years ago.

  5. That octopus rocks. I never saw such a thing.

    My shop did well over Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, so it is nice to see that people are shopping local (even though we’re making everyone wear masks, which some people object to). I’m so exhausted I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, but I get to Zoom with my extended family (3 different cities in CA, 2 in NY, Chicago, Boston, and Tel Aviv, where my favorite cousin and his wife and kids are stationed with the foreign service) at noon, so that makes me happy.

    I’m happy your adopted kitty has adjusted so well.

  6. I am finally out of quarantine and went thrift shopping yesterday. Then I picked up a friend and we went grocery shopping together, which makes that chore bearable. It’s just so nice to be able to go out and do and see again…

  7. Thanksgiving went well, and we have plenty of turkey for sandwiches, which I love. Wonderful baked goods from multiple sources, including chestnut cake made by BIL, which I had for breakfast. AND really enjoying 4 days off. Only stopped reading long enough to check in on you Arghers.

  8. We bought Thanksgiving dinner and I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of the turkey. It was very good and only took 45 minutes to reheat. I did promise my Mom I would make bread this weekend.(I probably should get on that, since it is Sunday)

    The best part was taking my Mom shopping on Friday. We had a nice lazy mother/daughter day.

    We finally bought a new oven. The Old one has been dead for over a year. I have gotten so used to using the toaster oven for everything, I’m not sure I will use the big oven on a regular basis.

  9. It’s been a pleasant weekend at my mom’s. We’ve definitely had some squabbles, but other than masks when outside all the time it’s felt like 2019 again. Had a nice fancy Thanksgiving dinner out, did a little shopping, saw Hairspray. Going to see Encanto later. I also got out of work (in person) at 2 p.m. Wednesday, which is spectacular.

    I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

  10. It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Hope you all are ok.

    Started trying to study again. Doing a certificate EFL course. Here’s hoping it sticks this time. If yes, then I’ll try to complete my academic studies. Fgbvs to all.

  11. Thanksgiving made me very happy. Emmy and Tom’s house is very cute and I got to see a part of Milwaukee that I never saw while growing up. Hanging out with my sister’s kids was a treat and a half and I even managed to resist getting cat hair in my eyes and triggering an allergy attack. Their cat looks a lot like the one I grew up with (although she has a very different personality) so it was hard to resist giving her a cuddle.
    My Minnesota niece and I shared a motel room for one night and it felt so good to be able to spend time with her that she is probably still sleep deprived because I wanted to stay up talking.

    I’ve been looking forward to today’s outing for well over a week. My friend Harriet has told me for years that she is not a fan of Trader Joe and I haven’t been able to convince her otherwise. In the run up to Thanksgiving, she discovered their Portabello Mushroom Soup and has decided to add them to her grocery shopping routine. This afternoon I plan to wander around my local store and compile a list of the products I think she will enjoy. And if the Brandy Beans have come in, I will buy a bunch and start distributing them to my retail warriors. Last week I saw one of Dave’s holiday only employees and it felt like old home week. I still don’t feel very much like baking, but chocolate will make an acceptable substitute until I do.

    While I was in Milwaukee I got some ideas of what I can give Tom and Emmy for a housewarming present. I’d love to give them all three of my ideas, but that would be too much. However, I am looking forward to checking out my options and trying to decide what they will enjoy most. If I say that the present is also for of both of their birthdays, perhaps I can justify more than one item.

  12. Jenny, could we please see some pictures of this riot of color? I could use some inspiration.

  13. I volunteered to be the Board of Director lead to create a pollinator garden at a local community garden. Very keen group of volunteers and even though I’m up to my eyeballs in homework, I’m excited about this project. This is exactly what I want to do after I finish the Horticulture program (6 wks left!).

    Bought new running shoes and started slowly running again. We’ll see how my hips and knees hold out, but it’s an incentive to get outside. Despite the cold and snow.

    My brother sent me a scan of a recipe from an old cookbook of my mother’s. I can see the grease and other stains on the page and brings back happy memories of baking Gumdrop cookies in my mother’s kitchen.

  14. Getting on with things has made me happy – clearing the allotment and updating my gardening info file (creeping back up to 60,000 words, having lost 10,000 in the initial edit). And today I caught up with an old friend and my sister-in-law – and the friend might come for the solstice, depending what happens with this new variant.

  15. Grandkids and granddog came over like the thundering hoard they are on T-day. Youngest granddaughter even dressed up for the occasion. Her jeans didn’t have any holes in them compared to the holes she usually wears with bits of fabric in between. She recently applied for a part time job in retail and is upping her game in fashion.

    About fifteen years ago I made a pair of earrings that dangle at the end with tiny pewter octupus charms and small pearls. I only wear them in the summer because they are quirky.

    You gave me idea to put a hook over the shower door to place a tool to scrub down the shower walls, it’s a rod with a mop like thingy so people will take the hint. It can’t always be my job.

  16. Adopting Pixie. Yay!

    I have to see about getting her a license. I usually spring for the lifetime license since the the chip info is on record with the county. But, it requires another trip to the vet to have the paperwork completed.

    It snowed- a ground cover amount. Enough for Pixie to do zoomies at 6:30 AM.

    A nice quiet day.

  17. Thanksgiving. I gave thanks. My last fully employed Thanksgiving, and I gave thanks for that, too. Dietarily, I colored inside all the lines. I was a good “Do-bee.”

    Black Friday, I made up for it. Over 2,00 calories, 160 grams of carbs and 4,680 milligrams of sodium. That’s so far outside my lines I was coloring on the tablecloth!

    No matter. Nobody died, as Wes would say to Phin. I’m back on the straight and very, very narrow… unlike myself. I even woke up this morning, post binge, weighing 251.8 (unofficially).

    Your octopus is very cute. Enjoy it.

    I have plugged in all of my Christmas decorations. All three of my 7″ trees are glowing, or twinkling or cycling through shades of fiber optic color, as is their wont. I thought about taking the curmudgeon route and giving them to Goodwill, going with “Bah! Humbug!” or some level of grinchiness, but I can no longer dredge up those feelings.

    I blame Argh Ink. I’m just Too Damn Happy!

    I went to Walmart to pick up my prescriptions, and cleared out sections of their Atkins Snacks. Not many sections, but nobody else is eating chocolate covered almonds until they restock. Does that constitute hoarding? I managed to get out of the store without adding to my Rubbermaid storage collection. No new skillets. The only food I left with was five packages of Juicy Fruit sugar free gum – the dotter has that habit, and I am her enabler. 🙂

    (There was also a Healthy Choice Beef Merlot but that’s a secret. Don’t tell anybody.)

    I leave you all with two thoughts:
    1. Be as well as you can possibly be. It’s your civic duty.
    2. They have got to put Bruce Willis in a Santa Suit. “Merry-ki-yay, malefactor!”

  18. We’ve just handed back the keys on our old rental house, and we’re settling into the new place nicely, so I’m happy about that. It’s got a good vibe, and it’s surrounded by lovely parks and bike paths. And yesterday we hired a truck and collected a whole lot of new furniture – a couch and shelves and so on – so we will be Organised! I’m looking forward to unboxing out books and shelving all my crafty stuff.

  19. You brought up crepes. I’m recycling a LiveJournal post from 2007. My brother asked me for Mama’s crepe recipe. Alienor, who replied, was an acquaintance in and from France.

    The Crepe Recipe
    November 27th, 2007
    Current Location:The Kitchen

    I promoted this from being a reply to my brother in the previous thread to its own topic. My brother had asked me to email him the recipe for crepes our mother used . . .

    Email you the crepe recipe??? HA! If anyone is watching (reading) along while the Brothers Jordan compose their tell-all book, Momma Couldn’t Cook, they deserve the recipe for their patience.

    Things I Remember About Momma’s Crepes:
    She could only cook them one at a time (that’s true for me, too), so everyone sat at the table with their plate ready and fork and knife in hand, drooling.
    She cooked them in a cast iron skillet, so anyone that says you need a special pan owns stock in a special pan company.
    They were all plate-sized.
    We used to butter them, sprinkle some kind of sugar on the butter, then make a spiral of maple syrup all over it. Then we’d roll them tightly and slice off spirals of crepe to fork, dripping, into our gaping maws.
    You could eat one in the time it took Momma to make the next one.
    So, here is the secret, and you can get it by Googling “Basic Crepe Recipe.” Most of the results are the same as Momma’s and Ma Tante Cil’s recipe.
    Flour – 1 cup
    Eggs – 2 or 3
    Margarine OR Butter OR Veg. Oil – 2 Tbsp
    Salt – a pinch, but no more that 1/4 tsp
    1 Cup of Milk or Water or half of each, or skim milk.
    Now the fun part.
    Mix the egs, milk and/or water, butter/margarine/oil and the pinch of salt in a bowl. I use my four-cup pyrex measuring “cup” because it has a handy handle for pouring it all back out. You use whatever floats your boat.
    Ma Tante once told me you could use straight water with no milk, and it tastes pretty much the same. I like skim milk in mine, but I used to use milk and water, 50/50.
    I go easy on salt for obvious reasons.
    I’ve used all the oil options, and can’t claim butter is marvelously tastier.
    Next, start adding the flour, not all at once, blending it in as you do. You’re going to have a very smooth batter, here.
    You can use a slotted spoon, or an egg beater, or whatever you like. I use a stainless steel whisk because I’m a crepe snob, and all crepe snobs use whisks.
    Finally we get to the tricksy part.
    Neither of us owns a crepe pan. Not even the crepe snob. Stupid pans are convex instead of concave, and way too messy. I no longer own a cast iron skillet – couldn’t keep them properly seasoned. I have used stainless frying pans with copper bottoms and aluminium pans with non-stick coating. The key to pan choice is that the sides slope instead of a ninety degree wall. Set the skillet on the eye or whatever at “Medium”.
    Spray-on vegetable oil is the greatest… Anyway, I spray my pan, and despite that throw in a pat of butter for flavor sometimes.
    The net recipes say “1/4 cup” of batter, but I usually eyeball it. If I pour too much, well, it ends up coating the sloping side of the pan, because you have to roll the pan around to get the batter to spread thinly. Better to pour too little than too much.
    Those web recipes will tell you two minutes then flip and brown the other side. I’m gonna tell you, “Watch for the formation of bubbles, all over the upside, and for the edges to get crispy and curl up.” Then you can check the underside done and flip ’em. THAT is the trick to crepes.
    Your first crepe in a batch is almost always over or underdone, no matter how many crepes you cooked over the years. It exists, I think, for the purpose of establishing the temperature of the pan and getting the timing right for this batch. More often than not, I toss that first crepe. Guests look at me funny.
    Yes, you can make the batter and refrigerate it for a day or two. Yes, you can cook crepes and refrigerate them to be reheated in a microwave. I don’t have a good feel for how long to nuke them – start at 15 seconds, until warm enough for you. Separate them with wax paper if you do that.

    Voy-la! Bawn Appateet.
    Tags: food, food porn, recipe
    ( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
    2007-11-28 08:47 am (local)
    There are lots of variations on crêpes. Some replace part or all of the flour with corn or potato starch. Others replace the milk with water. My favourite version is from Brittany (the “nose” pointing West on a map of France) and uses buckwheat flour. I’ve also seen recipes with an insane amount of eggs, which really turns me off. If I want to eat an omelette, I’ll do just that.
    2007-11-29 01:42 am (local)
    Since My brother and I are of “Canadian French” descent (on one side – the other is Texas German), I should have dragged you in as the “Authentic French” foodie at the start.

    I was well aware that lots of variations in the “basic” recipe exist, without discussing possible fillings or toppings or setting them ablaze. The recipe above is strictly what we inherited, plus what I’ve learned about preparing them.

    I’m going to try your buckwheat crepes. Besides using buckwheat flour, what else differs?
    2007-11-29 04:12 am (local)

    Your usual recipe should suit well. I’m not sure of the amount of milk I use – enough to get the batter to the right fluidity. I also let the batter sit for an hour or so, so that the flour soaks up the liquid, so I sometimes add a bit of milk after that if it gets more thick than I like.

    Most people here tend to reserve buckwheat cakes for savoury toppings, but I love them with butter and sugar.

    I cook my pancakes breton style, on a flat cast-iron griddle called a bilig. In most of Brittany, those buckwheat crêpes were the basic food – like bread. An older friend of mine says he was raised on the traditional buckwheat pancakes with fermented milk. Morning, noon and evening.

    1. That is my crepe recipe except mine goes “some flour, some eggs, some oil, some water”. And I’ve never heard of a crepe pan.

      1. At one time, BisQuick printed their crepe recipe on the box, and it differed from their pancake recipe by eggs and milk. But it worked just fine.

        I don’t know where I got the impression that crepe pans were convex. Probably some movie with scenes in a hoity-toity restaurant. Now I know they’re just very shallow pans. I still don’t own one. No need. Even less need, given my diet. I mean, look how we ate them: butter, sugar, maple syrple, roll, gobble. It’s a wonder all the Jordans (and Levesques, and Daignaults, and LaVallees, and Budreaus, and other relatives) don’t die young.

  20. I have made pancakes in my time, but never crepes. Probably still won’t — that’s a lot of effort for a single meal, to my mind.

    I’ve been happy today because a local crow family visits my yard every morning — five individuals, but one of them is very knowledgeable about the yard, and lurks above the patio on a tree branch waiting for me to chirp at it in a crowlike trill. Then he calls out piercingly to his clan while I dash inside to grab the tupperware container of 4 or 5 previously frozen chicken nuggets, throw them in the microwave for a dozen or two seconds, then chop each one into thirds. I dash back outside making reassuring remarks in my best crow lingo, put them out fetchingly on the feeding platform we call Stump Mountain, and dash back to the house. The birds hurtle down onto the mountain’s slates before I even reach the back door most times.

    I think the lead crow of this group might be the needy youngster of a few years ago, who used to come with HIS family, but perch near the others and jerk his shoulders up and down as if to say “I’m a tiny fledgeling so someone has to Feed me! Feed me!” and so on. We thought of him as “Junior” in that family, but I think he’s become Senior Junior now.

    That family taught me to really love crows, and this new family now gives me great joy — enough to keep a 2-pound bag of frozen nuggets in my freezer year round for their dining pleasure.

    1. They’ve got you trained! Sounds great. I miss the daily convocation of crows in the big tree a couple of gardens over (it died and had to be felled).

      1. Crows are wonderful. Smart, inventive, and so social! I’ve seen video of crows mobbing a predator bird before, and I think my clan might have been doing that to a hawk, as I heard one going Scree! Scree! Scree! over my yard yesterday and moving very fast away from my (bird-filled) yard. I was inside, though, and couldn’t check it out visually.

  21. I’ve made crêpes, back in the day, and my favorite topping is a scattering of powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Warm summer morning breakfast . . . . I actually had a crêpe maker where you poured the batter onto a plate and then dipped the heated crepe pan into it. Worked just fine.

    The buckwheat version was celebrated in Aaron Elkins’ OLD BONES, set in Brittany. I think that’s my favorite Gideon Oliver in the series.

    Happy that Maggie is settling in — she’s snoozing near me right now. I found something for my cousin which will be a Total Surprise — she said today that she’s sure it will be!

    Also happy that the gifts ordered are steadily landing on the front porch. I need to find holiday wrap and a place to park wrapped gifts between now and the end of December.

    Happy Hanukkah, for those who celebrate the Feast of Lights.

  22. There’s a lot of happy here! That makes me happy. 🙂

    T-Day with our friends was really nice. Then I had a super-low-demand rest of the weekend, in which I made a pot of stock from the smoked-turkey carcass, produced a polished final draft of a novella I’ve been working on for ages, finished beta draft of another one that I started last month.

    Back to Day Job in three minutes.

  23. Happiness this week has been penicillin – DS got tonsillitis and a chest infection. He’s now cleared up nicely, thank you (thank goodness – his temp kept spiking towards 40, which was worrying)

    And yesterday we had our first snowfall of the winter. Which prompted us to start the holiday decorating, which makes all of us very happy. I’ve discovered as an adult that I am very into twinkly lights, so we have multiple sets throughout various different rooms. And I’ve now talked DH into our first set of outdoor lights too, so I’m making plans about how/where to hang those…

    I’ve also made my first ever vegan cake – a chocolate one, no less – with an eye to our entertaining over the festivities. It tasted… exactly like ‘normal’ chocolate cake, which was a very welcome surprise. It’s DS’s birthday soon, and we’re hosting a family gathering. He specifically requested a chocolate birthday cake for this, and his auntie is vegan, so I was a bit flummoxed, but Google to the rescue!

    Recipe link in case anyone is interested: https://veggiedesserts.com/best-vegan-chocolate-cake/

  24. We make crepes a lot, my 13yo pretty much has them mastered by now. 110g flour, 2 eggs, 200m milk, 75ml water, 2tbps butter. Cooked in butter in a pan, tilting the pan to coat. Afternoon tea, weekend breakfast, sometimes savoury versions for dinner (pretty much any recipe for cannelloni can be made in crepes). But most often a sprinkling of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

    I’m happy just thinking about lemon and sugar on crepes.

    I went shopping for new clothes a few weeks ago, and on Friday I wore this skirt for the first time (no, it doesn’t look quite like that on me!) and felt fabulous all day. It might be superficial, but new clothes I love is definitely happy-making for me this week. https://shineon.co.nz/collections/coop-by-trelise-cooper/products/coop-the-pleat-is-on-skirt-lily

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