Slow Down Hippy Child: The One About The Haircut That Wasn’t

Plans change. Often.

When I became fully vaccinated [Moderna] in late May, I made an appointment to get my hair cut. My last real haircut was February 2020, with a fast trim in August 2020.

The upshot of not getting my hair cut every few months is that I’ve got hippy hair now. It’s long and frizzy and curly. The texture looks similar to Carole King on the cover of Tapestry.

“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue.” Her life, my hair. Of course in my case the royal hues are mostly dishwater blonde and gray, but you get my point.

My appointment was for late June, yesterday in fact.

HOWEVER a few weeks ago I got a text telling me my appointment had been cancelled. Not postponed, mind you. Cancelled.

Bummer, said I.

Then I went to check my email because I thought that Janelle, the stylist who has cut my hair for over 20 years, might have sent me an email explaining what was going on. And she had.

Come to find out Janelle was having hip replacement surgery, immediately. She didn’t say why she was having this surgery stat so I can’t explain the backstory, but she said that she’d be back to work by late July.

To me this seems a little too soon after surgery. Of course I know nothing about hip replacement surgery so maybe it’s okay, but I’m not scheduling another appointment until late August. That’d be one year after my last trim.

I figure I’ve got a good hippy vibe going on now and I’ve come to like wearing my hair in a plump curly ponytail. Bring me those colorful elastics, I can make this work.

The thing is that over the years I’ve spent time and money to keep my hair looking blonde and professional, *neat* as my late mother would have said. So the oddest part of having long unruly hair is that I’m not upset about looking like a hippy child.

MAYBE this who I am meant to be in my later years as I head into my dotage. That could be the message here.

Be that as it may or may not, in the meantime, I think we can all agree that plans change. And if the pandemic has taught me anything it’s you gotta make the best of whatever comes your way, whether it be Covid-19 vaccine availability or delayed haircut appointments.

Yes, with a hat tip to Simon & Garfunkel’s famous song ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ I’m slowing down, talking to lampposts, and living hippy for two more months.

Why not, huh?

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

You’ve made plans, which ones did not happen?

What did the pandemic teach you about making plans?

Are you feeling groovy?

• • •

A Glimpse Into The Time Before Morsels: A Recipe, A Realization, A Research Project

Maybe you know this already and I’m the last to know, but I’m going to tell you my story anyhow.

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I HAPPENED UPON A WRAPPER from a Nestlé Semi-Sweet chocolate product [see photo immediately above].

I found it among the recipes that my mother had saved, filed loosely in an old notebook. The recipes, ranging from the 1940s to the 1990s, are from her mother and newspapers clippings and friends and packaging. No rhyme or reason to them, just saved.

My best guess is the wrapper is from the early 1940s. It intrigued me.

After glancing at the front I looked on the back at the recipe. I skimmed the recipe and it initially looked about the same as any chocolate chip cookie recipe you’d see today.

The copy on the wrapper states that it’s THE ORIGINAL Toll House Chocolate Cookie recipe created by Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, MA. And it could be. However the current Nestlé website says that this recipe, a recipe that differs in one significant way, is the original Toll House Cookie Recipe.

You see, it wasn’t until I turned the package over again and looked closely at the front that I realized this WASN’T a package for Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate morsels [chips] that we have today. It WAS for a bar of chocolate that was to be cut into “pieces the size of a pea” by the person making the cookies.

As in if you want chips of chocolate in your cookies, do it yourself, darling [see photo immediately below].

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I HAD A DUH! MOMENT because I’d no idea that chocolate chips had not always existed, which is a rather lame thing to say. Obviously someone invented them. They don’t fall from the heavens above fully formed, now do they?

After a bit of research I discovered that chocolate chips were originally a kind of molasses chocolate-coated candy made popular in the early 1890s by Kauffmanns of Pittsburgh, PA. In 1897 a court case involving the use of the trademarked name “Trowbridge Chocolate Chips” also described chocolate chips as being molasses chocolate-coated candy.

However by the 1930s as Wakefield’s recipe grew in popularity the term *chocolate chip* morphed from being a kind of candy into being an ingredient in cookies, so much so that by the early 1940s Toll House cookies were often referred to as chocolate chip cookies.

Seeing an opportunity for increased sales, in 1940 Nestlé started making and selling manufactured chocolate chips that they called ‘morsels.’ This was in addition to the semi-sweet chocolate bars for which they were known.

So with that short history lesson on what I’d call the primary ingredient in Toll House Cookies, I’ll end this post by asking you:

Did you know there was a time when you created your own chocolate chips [aka morsels] to put in your cookies?

What do you call cookies that have chocolate chips [aka morsels] in them: Toll House Cookies or Chocolate Chip Cookies?

And more to the point, made any of them lately?

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SOURCES:

A Brief History of the Chocolate Chip via Mental Floss

Chocolate Chip Cookies Chip versus Morsel via New England Recipes

The First “Chocolate Chip” Was a Molasses Candy via Smithsonian Magazine

Who Baked the First Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie? via Chowhound

The One About My Change In Attitude & A Relaxed Spring Blogging Schedule

Plans change.

Wednesday’s post was the last one I had in my blogging files. Yep, for once I’ve absolutely nothing planned or researched or started. That is a rare turn of events for me, a wordy girl.

Then I woke up Thursday morning to find my WP editing page was different. Again. Of course.

Today I can’t help but feel that the events earlier this week were a sign nudging me to change my attitude about how often I post to this blog. Not a dramatic change mind you.

More like a sign encouraging me to SIMPLIFY, my word of the year.

So here’s the dealio.

For this spring, maybe summer too, I’m going to write and publish one post every two weeks, showing up here on Tuesdays [probably]. Nothing remains quite the same.

The posts will be my favorite kind of blog post, the ones filled with flapdoodle and twaddle. If we couldn’t laugh we’d all go insane, right?

Then with my free time I’m going to read what you, my prolific bloggy friends, write on your blogs. Not everything you write of course, but many things.

This relaxed approach to blogging will give me the latitude to stay in touch & share the comment love you all deserve– while politely stepping away from blog land every so often.

You understand. ❤️

A Dilemma: To Cliché Or Not To Cliché, That Is The Question

I think that this resource, Cliché Finder, could be useful for writers. 

A cliché, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is: “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” More information about clichés here: 50+ Examples of Cliches: Meaning and Origin & Definition and Examples of Cliches.

I’ve nothing against most clichés I suppose. I’m too easygoing to run around snarking about the use of them, BUT when writing something it’s good to learn/confirm that you’re using a cliché. And that is precisely what the free online Cliché Finder does for you.

For instance, even though I’m mellow yellow about most trite overused phrases I vehemently dislike one particular cliché: “thinking outside the box.” It’s so old I’m sure Moses used it. Adam probably used it before him just to annoy Eve. 

That’s how old it is. Quite rightly.

But thanks to Cliché Finder, I know for sure not to use my disliked cliché so that my writing is fresh and original, not stale and antiquated– because that would not do.

Anyhow, as a way of showing you how the Cliché Finder works, I wrote the following scintillating little flash fiction story, popped it into the Cliché Finder that told me I’d used SIX* overworked phrases.

Bad me. 😁

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

What’s your least favorite cliché? You know, the one that makes you stop listening to what someone is saying or to stop reading what is in front of you. We all have one, don’t we?

[Extra credit to anyone who gets the Donovan reference.]

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* The six clichés are: old as the hills, think outside the box, read between the lines, matter of time, busy as a bee, writing on the wall.

A Bedroom Transformed: Goodbye Ceiling Fan, Hello Chandelier

THE CHIT CHAT PART

I enjoy looking at shelter magazines and interior design websites and home decorating projects on IG.  When I began to notice photos of bedrooms with chandeliers, instead of ceiling fans or ceiling lights, my curiosity was piqued.

Why, you ask?

Welp, after 20 years of looking up at a large white dusty boring ceiling fan in our bedroom, I was ready for a change.  I never liked using the thing, especially at night when rotating fan blades above my sleeping head worried me.

Made me fretful, they did.

So I decided that we’d replace our dodgy old ceiling fan with a pretty, useful chandelier that’d hang from the spot where the ceiling fan had been.  Here are a few things we learned along the way with this DIY project.

THE INFORMATION PART

√ A rule of thumb about the width of the chandelier: add the length of your room [in feet] to the width of your room [in feet], then use that number in inches to determine the size you need.

For example our bedroom is 17′ x 13′ so I added 17 + 13, which meant that we needed a chandelier around 30″ wide.

√ The chandelier we picked was 26″ wide, smaller than recommended, but for a good reason.  Keep reading.

√ We have a sloped ceiling in our bedroom.  We had to choose a light fixture that was sloped ceiling adaptable.  Not all light fixtures are.

√ A rule of thumb about how far down a chandelier should hang: the chandelier should be between 8′ to 9′ off the floor.  This is accomplished by allowing the light fixture to hang from a chain from the ceiling.

√  The trick here is that depending on the slope of your ceiling and the height of the chandelier, you have to allow for enough space above the top of the chandelier for it to hang down on a chain.

In our case because of where the junction box was in the ceiling we couldn’t have a chandelier that was taller than 25″ because there wouldn’t be any space for it to hang down from the ceiling.

√ Thus we picked a chandelier whose height allowed it to hang down from the junction box in the sloped ceiling, even though it meant that the width of the chandelier was a bit too small according to the rule of thumb.

In other words, we thumbed our noses at the rule of thumb.

THE GOOFY PART

As is the way with any home improvement project we tackle, there was a problem.  One of the globes for the chandelier arrived broken.  Thus we had to email the company and wait for a replacement globe, crossing our fingers that it’d be the same color as the other four.

It came within days, was the right color, and looks perfectly at home with the other shades so all is good.

However, keeping in mind that I can be a silly person, while waiting for the shade to arrive, whenever I walked into the bedroom I began singing the following lyrics to the tune of One Toke Over The Line:

One bulb over my head, sweet Jesus
One bulb over my head
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.  

Awaitin’ for the shade that goes on, sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the shade is delivered on time
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.

THE END