1 Second Video

When you make up your mind to do something, often it’s best to start as soon as possible. When I decided to make a 1 second highlight video in 2022, I determined that instead of waiting for New Years Eve, I would start right away — on December 11th, 2021.

In the calendar year that spanned Dec 11, 2021 to December 11, 2022, I caught Covid twice. Scott had appendicitis. We went to Israel, Dollywood, Disney and Florida. My grandmother turned 100 years old. Times changed. New milestones were met.

Some days are skipped altogether and some days have more than 1 clip. But I think it captures the gist of a wonderful year.

If you don’t see yourself in the video and wonder why, it’s probably because as I drove away from our time together I said, “Aww man! I forgot to get a video!” — so please remind me next time.

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Banana Bread

Bananas go brown too soon? I got you, boo.

INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

3 tsp vanilla extract

3 medium bananas

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tsp molasses

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Small sprinkle of nutmeg and cardamom

Tiny splash of whiskey (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together sugar and softened butter in the mixer, and mix longer than you think! Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Mash the bananas in with a potato masher. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Put parchment paper in a loaf pan, let it hang over the sides so it can lift the bread out when done baking. Sprinkle the top with demarera sugar or plain white sugar. Bake for 55 minutes and double check it’s done using the ol’ toothpick trick.

Serve with butter (or if you’re feeling fancy, make salted maple butter by mixing together a stick of butter and a few tablespoons of maple syrup with a sprinkle of salt). OR, you can try this with cream cheese! The banana bread is best when slightly warmed.

Pumpkin Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 15oz can of Libby’s Pumpkin Purée
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 9×5″ loaf pan with canola oil. Line the pan with parchment, leaving a generous overhang in order to be able to lift out the bread easily.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix together the eggs, pumpkin purée, oils and grated ginger. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients together in one bowl.
  4. Transfer batter to the pan and then sprinkle the top with sugar.
  5. Bake bread for 80–90 minutes.

This recipe is inspired by (but not exactly like) the one demonstrated by Molly Baz, which you can find here.

Fair warning: this recipe will ruin Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf for you forever. There’s no going back when you realize how cheap and easy it is to make at home- and tastier too!

Cream Cheese Frosting

In honor of turning 34, I’m sharing my favorite frosting recipe. It’s excellent on cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, red velvet cupcakes, sliced fruit, hummingbird cake… or right off the spoon.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, never fat free (you might as well eat salad)
  • 1 stick Salted Butter
  • 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract (and/or Rum)
  • 1 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • Sprinkle of Cardamom
  • Use a mixer on high speed to combine the wet ingredients above and beat well, then add the powdered sugar last and beat again- just when you think you’re done, beat it for another 2 minutes, then chill well.

Pop Quiz— Do you know the difference between frosting and icing? Frosting is thick and spreadable and made with a fatty base, often butter. Icing is thinner and usually made of powdered sugar mixed with a liquid such as water or milk.

Pesach 2022

Somehow, and I do know exactly how, I didn’t end up with hardly any photos of our Seder(s) for 2022. Largely because I was too busy soaking it in. By it, I mean a Seder- not virtual, not cancelled– just an in-person, sharing food and wine, reading the Haggadah together, Seder.

Our family Seder was slightly delayed this year due to Covid. I don’t mean Covid in the abstract sense, I mean Scott and I were isolated for being Covid positive on the original date… so it ended up a little later and smaller than planned, but that’s ok. There was no way we were going to cancel altogether, not after the last 2 years.

One photo I did nab was this snapshot of the candles Mom bought in Safat especially for Passover. If you don’t know, safat candles are a *thing* and these were not only gorgeous, they literally did not drip. Contrast with the regular ol’ Shabbat candles I usually get from Kroger (which I used for my Aunt Cheryl’s Seder) which drip allllll over my candlesticks every time and inevitably lead to me standing over the sink with ice cubes and a butter knife trying to scrape the dried wax off the sticks, and, because I forgot to put down a plate or tin foil… the tablecloth.

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Altoid Tin Watercolors

Watercolor was never my favorite paint. When I was young I fell in love with the slow blending work of oil, but turpentine and work space limitations being what they are, I later transitioned to the beautiful imperfection of acrylics – usually with an element of mixed medium (metal foil, glue, papers, etc).

My Grandmother, however, prefers watercolors as her first choice. I once took a water color class with her as a child and I remember disliking the opaque nature of the paint (and ultimately, painting a grey cat far too thickly so it looked terribly muddy).

March 2, 2022

But now, time is of the essence. And quickly adding a bit of art to my day- in ten minutes, or even 5- is a highly desirable concept. Enter: the homemade Altoid tin watercolor studio.

My first painting “out and about” while getting sushi for lunch.

How to make a pocket-size watercolor studio: Buy an Altoids tin, a $1-2 watercolor palette and some cheap brushes. Glue the paints into the bottom of the tin, trim down the paintbrushes to also fit (I suggest using garden shears!), and cut watercolor paper into small rectangles. Voila! An art studio in your pocket.

No to War

Independent Russian news outlet TV Rain was forced to shut down on Thursday, March 3, 2022 due to the Russian government’s crackdown on local media stations broadcasting unfavorable coverage of the war in Ukraine. Journalists signed off by saying “no to war,” before walking off the station’s set.

The network then broadcast Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a nod to the 1991 coup attempt against the government of then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. As that coup was taking place, the ballet played repeatedly on television, an indication to viewers that something was wrong.

Another Piece of String

[excerpt from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh: the House at Pooh Corner, chapter 8.]

The above paragraph describes the scene in chapter 8 of The House at Pooh Corner, during which Owl, Piglet, and Pooh all find themselves trapped inside Owl’s house which has been blown over by the very Blustery Day. At this stage of the pandemic sometimes I am Owl, sometimes I am Piglet, and sometimes I am Pooh.

Owl, the unflappable healthcare worker. Vaccine breakthrough with omicron? Ok, we lean on therapeutics for high-risk patients. Monoclonals no longer working against omicron? No problem, we become experts on using Paxlovid. We run short of Paxlovid? We try Molnupiravir or Remdesivir, and clamor harder for the shipment of Sotrovimab to arrive or figure out how to deploy Evushield… as Owl says: “If the string breaks, we try another piece of string.”

But I am also Piglet, who caught Covid. Will I have long-term effects from my Covid infection? And if I had delta, and I am re-infected with omicron in the next couple weeks, what will that mean- to have both so close together? Piglet is really wanting to know (since it is the same him who will always come tumbling down), although he agrees there seems nothing else to do.

But then I am Pooh — who, although he has very little brain, is the one to reassure Piglet that the string won’t break (because Piglet is very small) and Pooh will stand underneath anyway. If you catch Covid and are vaccinated, your risk of severe outcomes is steeply reduced. And if you do worsen, and your Covid infection becomes serious, we know so much more about how to help you now than we did in 2020. “You are vaccinated, you won’t fall seriously ill. But just in case, we’re at the urgent care and ER to help. We will catch you if you do fall.” And Pooh reassures Piglet that the story will end very well; although right now we are all three stuck in this tumbled-down treehouse together.

And then once again I am Piglet — who rises towards the ceiling, and sees some tiny signs that perhaps this is close to the end… but doesn’t call out just yet, because what if we collectively let go of the string too soon?

The E.H. Shepard Archive, University of Surrey.