Peace & Dinner Rolls

Ahhhhhh….. sweet relief.

I fucking love quarantine and unemployment doesn’t suck, either. Losing my health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic isn’t very exciting, but there are far greater problems in the world and it was the first time I’d ever had it- so c’est la vie.

The Dumpling and I have settled into an easy routine. Our days begin around 9 when she climbs into my bed to cuddle. The favorite cat; Dazzle, loves to snuggle in the mornings and you can hear her purr her way from the living room to the tiny space between us. Gone are the stress-filled mornings of me yelling “WE HAVE TO GET IN THE CAR, NOW!” and in its place is a lovely bunch of peace.

Life has calmed the hell down and I’m living for it.

It turns out, two cups of coffee is what I need to get shit done and a few bites of scrambled eggs each morning are helping me overcome the aversion to the little chicken embryos. I still prefer them as a light coating on a veggie stir-fry, but I’m trying.

img_8270My seeds have started to sprout in the greenhouse and I had a lovely chartreuse pop of baby blue curled kale peeking up at me this morning. The shallots are doing their usual crazy root explosion and my gardenia is setting three buds instead of one on each branch. Spring is still coming, in the midst of all this chaos. img_8268

I could have sworn today was Tuesday, but no! I just went to check how much longer my bread needs to rise and it’s Wednesday! Surprise! I can’t remember the last time I lost track of the days of the week, not to mention spent a few in a row in my pajamas. All my clothes are clean and every last bra is washed and hung- with no intention of putting one on. This is bliss, y’all. Pure, unadulterated BLISS.

Since I’ve realized I’m on the wrong day of my domestic plan, I have a snoozy little afternoon full of folding linens, changing sheets and watching the Tiger King live his best life.

I’ve perfected my dinner rolls and finally remembered to write down amounts and take pictures, so here you go! Wash your hands, bake some bread, enjoy your jammies and STAY THE FUCK AT HOME. β™₯

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Jenni’s Bomb Dinner Rolls (or bread if you like slices)

  • 2 cups of water ( fairly hot- I like about 110*F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast
  • 1 1/2 salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 cups of flour. I prefer half bread flour and half unbleached wheat flour but play around and find your favorite.

Combine the hot water, sugar and honey. Stir to combine and add the yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes. img_8232

In the bowl of your mixer, combine 1 cup of flour, salt and olive oil. Mix thoroughly and add the liquids. Add one cup of flour at a time until it is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on medium speed in the mixer for 5 minutes or do it the hard way (by hand) for about 10 minutes, it’s up to you.

I am obsessed with my Instant Pot for how well it proofs dough. If you don’t have one, go buy one right now. You genuinely need it. img_8235

Spray the inside of your Instant Pot with non-stick spray and plop your dough in there. Set it to Yogurt setting on low, and set the time to 60 minutes.

Prepare to be amazed. Also clean up your mess- you’ll be lazily eating rolls soon and you won’t want to do it after the gluten coma hits. img_8239

After an hour, open your magical countertop time machine and fall in love with it all over again. Punch that beautiful dough down and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about a minute, then shape into two loaves or two dozen rolls.

60697291656__b97711e7-0dfd-4cf4-ba39-14798444e351Let rise for about a half hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes!

Mmmm…. They’re delicious! Enjoy! img_8242

 

 

 

 


Day 28: What’s in your purse?

Uh… that’s awfully private… but here goes. I can honestly admit that I have no idea. πŸ™‚

  1. My knitting. Always. I’m currently knitting a tiny pink dress for the animal I haven’t knit yet for my new baby niece, Eliza. I’ve worked so much in the last few years that every project I’ve started is half finished and lingering in the basket. I’m determined to use this time to finish some things (hopefully before she starts kindergarten).
  2. My very favorite! Carmex Comfort Care lip balm. I can’t encourage you enough toΒ carmex watermelon oatmeal lip balmtry it. I have one in every purse, in my car, in my desk and in the bathroom. It’s silky smooth perfection and makes your lips feel like heaven.
  3. Condoms, because safe sex isn’t optional, it’s necessary. Sidenote: I’ve never used one from my purse but have saved many a friends’ night by having one to give them.
  4. Hair ties. I recently cut 4″ off my hair, but I live in a ponytail/messy bun.
  5. A hair brush: This is for my darling child who hates to brush her extremely long hair. It’s one of those magical wet hair brushes that doesn’t summon screams right away when I try to make her presentable in a few wild swipes in the midst of school drop off. She hates the purse brush and it roams around the insides of my purse purely to provide motivation for her to remember to brush her hair in the morning.
  6. Hand sanitizer, because everybody is poisonous these days and I’m the token shopper for my family of quarantined loved ones.
  7. Travel wipes, for the Dumpling who forgets to wipe her milk moustache off, and now to wipe the corona virus off everything before we get out of the car.
  8. Anti-anxiety meds: These are new! I wish I’d asked for help a loooooong time ago because I finally feel like I can truly breathe again. I’m stunned that a simple antihistamine could give me so much relief from dissolving into a weepy mess. Vistaril saved me from hyperemesis gravidarum with my second pregnancy and now it’s putting the kibosh on my panic attacks. I’m a card carrying believer. Get some!
  9. A Nerf gun that makes my heart so sad I threw it away after I realized it was in there. It’s a remnant of the worst time in my life and anything that reminds me of him has to go.
  10. My checkbook, debit card, credit card and insurance card. My insurance is good for three more days and I only just used it for the first time. It’s a sad feeling to know that benefits really didn’t benefit me until I lost them, but oh well.
  11. Altoids, wintergreen to be specific. I love them.
  12. Loteria, the human body edition. This is Mexican bingo- the best damn drinking game ever… but my beautiful mother found a new version for us to play, made up of the human body. It’s the coolest and I meant to laminate it before I left work, but forgot. Too bad we’re stuck social distancing, because this game is a blasty blast.
  13. A plastic fork in the wrapper… because motherhood.
  14. An eyelash brush, allergy eye drops and a nail file zipped into a little bag.
  15. Cadbury mini eggs
  16. Wireless headphones and a phone charger.

No wonder my back hurts. I’ve got everything but the kitchen sink.


Day 26: What are your beliefs?

  1. I believe in the goodness of people. Even when I’d distanced myself from all but one of my friends, even when I stopped answering calls or returning messages… my friends refused to go away.
  2. I believe in washing my hands. I’m a little obsessive about it so the fact that this Corona Virus pandemic is teaching everyone to wash their damn hands, is pure bliss for me. I love hand soap and foam, love gardenia scented bars of triple milled goats milk soap… I love being clean and smelling good. Wash, wash, wash.
  3. I believe that Tide washes your clothes better than hippie detergent. Sorry. It’s true. My mother buys the earth safe detergent and uses dryer balls. I love Tide detergent and Snuggle fabric softener. She tried… πŸ™‚
  4. I believe that dirt fixes everything. Sad, worried, stressed, heartbroken… none of those bad times stand a chance when you’re planting shallots. Each one of these little treasures is going to turn into 10 more! shallots
  5. I’m learning to ask for help… because I absolutely believe the strongest thing you can do is admit you need it. I’ve dealt with major depression this year and can’t believe a little antihistamine would stop all my panic attacks. God bless you, Vistaril… I am humbly grateful.
  6. I believe in love, more than anything. The kind of love that sews your favorite childhood toys, the love that holds doors and offers the last of the ice cream to the little person who’d been craving it. Unconditional love is my superpower and I believe it can change anything.
  7. I believe in the magic of plastic surgery and can’t wait to remodel a little more. I’m having a tummy tuck and breast lift this spring and I. Can’t. Wait.
  8. I believe in apologizing when I fuck up. I accept genuine apologies just as easily as I offer them.
  9. I believe that bubbles with your best friend can solve the world’s problems better than anything else on earth.
  10. I believe in the power of thread count, and wish I could give each of you a set of my favorite sheets.
  11. I believe in the magic of intention. My darling Dick Appointment crawled out of the jungle twice in the last week to call me from a satellite phone. He can email me, so I teased him a little until he told me the sound of my laughter made his day. I’m probably not going to see him again, but he sure is making a trip to Africa sound better and better lately…
  12. I believe in dish towels, not paper towels. I don’t understand the mass hysteria for paper towels.. those are a luxury item in my house and an easily eliminated expense.
  13. I believe in the magic of mass on Sunday, even if I reject 2/3 of the beliefs held in the cathedral. I love being Catholic… even if I’m the most atheist version around.
  14. I believe in karma most of all. That karma fairy leaves scars on the most deserving and if I know one thing… it’s that there’s a cold dark hole in hell for the guy who named my puppy after his new girlfriend. I pity him for that. That’s gonna sting. I rehomed the puppy.
  15. I believe in thanking people for everything… even the bad stuff.

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Basically, I believe in myself and my ability to change the things that no longer serve me. I believe that bad days only amount to a bad time, not a bad life… and the good days are so common that I know the bad ones don’t count for much.

What do you believe in?


Day 23: What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

That all little girls should grow up and get married and if you get divorced you’re a big fat failure.

I was married once. I had the big white dress, the sparkling diamond and even a fancy limousine departure. It was a fun party. I remember waking up the next day in our hotel suite overlooking the lake, seeing my veil on the chair beside the bed and being overwhelmingly sad that it was over. I wore that thing for two more days in protest.

We were WAY too young but we had a 2 year old already and it was the next step in what felt inevitable. I refused to get married until I could legally drink a glass of champagne at my wedding. I was 21 for 22 days before I said I do.

I had no idea how to be a wife? I was an excellent mother and knew my way around the kitchen well enough that his friends called me Betty Crocker. I sewed, cross-stitched and ripped out the front yard in our trailer park so that I could plant some flowers. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to communicate my needs to my husband, and at 23 he was just as clueless as me.

We played house for 7 years and welcomed another baby a few years after that big party. Sometimes I think we were simply stubborn enough together that we refused to quit, even when we were both unhappy. We celebrated our 7th anniversary and he toasted me with a drink.

H- Just think. We were so young when we got married that we’ll be able to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary someday.

My blood ran a little cold and I felt nauseous. I looked at him and realized that I’d always imagined having my own life someday and I hadn’t considered the fact that he could outlive me and I might never know what that was like. When you’re a wife and mother, and especially one who is a homemaker and/or works from home, your life has everything to do with service and caring for the people you love, it doesn’t really have much to do with your dreams or goals. It’s all diapers and blow jobs.

I love being a mother and my son was the most incredible baby, toddler and little boy. I was hell bent that people who judged us for being too young would eat their words after five minutes with my bright and polite little creation. I taught him to read when he was 4, bought him a microscope when he turned 5, and tirelessly moulded both of my children into patient, well behaved, polite little angels.

I put on a hundred pounds and gave up thinking about what I wanted out of life or hoped to do with mine. It had ceased to be about me the day I lowered the blusher veil and let my dad lead me down the aisle. I was a wife and a mother, there wasn’t any room for Jenni.

Infidelity had been a problem in our marriage and people warned me that the threat of the 7 year itch was a very real thing. I had an affair and it destroyed me. I could no longer close my eyes to the things I wanted and needed in life. I couldn’t pretend anymore that I was what he wanted, either. Trapped in a bloated balloon animal version of myself, I contemplated suicide instead of ruining my family. I started running, mostly to get away from the problems that kept me awake at night and made the food I’d clung to for comfort all these years, taste bad. When I’d lost 50 pounds the real problems started to escalate. He’d loved me completely no matter what size my jeans were, but he was not comfortable with other men noticing and appreciating me.

One morning stands out in my mind because it was the day I decided that my life was important too. I woke up early, it was still dark out and he was asleep next to me. Bless his beautiful heart, he didn’t snore and I haven’t slept as well beside a man since then. He was silent and my heart was so heavy that tears fell quietly until the magenta sheets looked black beside me. I reached my hand out to put it on his chest and he shrugged and rolled over, turning his back to me.

I told him I wanted a divorce that day and life changed forever.

I’ve had the shitiest boyfriends, the biggest gardens and just enough joyful chaos to make me feel like it wasn’t a mistake. I’ve traveled, had different careers, fallen in love too many times to count and regularly make coffee in my panties- something that drove him nuts. He has an amazing wife that has loved my babies like her own and our lives wouldn’t be complete without her.

There are no accidents, and some of us are really quite content to sleep alone in a king sized bed, indefinitely. We got divorced in 2003 and I think people are finally starting to believe me when I say I’m never getting married again.

Because coffee tastes even better when you’re naked. πŸ™‚

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Day 14: Discuss your views on religion.

Oy…. I have such a weird relationship with God that I feel like I’d be better at speed dating than I would be at selling my Christianity.

I struggle, (a lot) to embrace the many things that comfort and pacify those of us who grew up believing. I did not. My parents were escapees from devout childhood upbringings that caused more harm than good, forever changing how they approached teaching us about any of it.

My mother was a Mormon and still proudly defends her relationship with Jesus. I just don’t have that conversation with her. One of my little sisters went through a Christian phase in high school that terrified all of us a lot more than drugs and sex.

Mom- I thought it was rough with you, with you climbing out windows and boys sneaking in the basement. This is far worse.

J- Jesus is way more invasive than any of the boys I dated, mom.

My father was an absolute heathen. Card carrying. My beloved stepmom got us up, put us all together to look like the perfect Mormon family and carted us all to three hours of hell, while my dad enjoyed the peace of an empty house.

I knew early on that I was more of a football and beer sort than I would ever be an iron a dress and spend half my day off with people I avoided for the rest of the week, kind of lady. Football is life and beer is delicious. I can’t say the same about sacrement, relief society, etc….

I grew up sleeping in on Sunday and watching my mama love making us a big family dinner. Those are my religious moments. I find the magic in the everyday details that I took for granted for so long.

That’s what I believe in more than anything else.

Then I got pregnant at 18… and had a baby with persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous. Essentially there is a blood vessel that connects the parts of the eye while forming, and when babies are born that vessel dies and a perfect eye is born. If that vessel continues to thrive… you have a baby that’s blind in one eye. They have you bandage the good eye, which causes that same sweet baby to tear violently at their own little face so that they can see. It’s more horrific than I can describe, and I was not at all prepared to deal with it at 18. I did though. I schlepped that sweet boy to and fro, scaring eye surgeons and opthamologists alike. I saw the scariest shit that motherhood has to offer, before I could legally drink a beer.

What could I turn to? What did the world have to offer me?

Prayers. That was it. Science said it was a life sentence of safety glasses and my sweet son never knowing how to ride a bike, play sports or fly a plane.

I realize that last one sounds crazy… but when you’re a baby holding your own newborn, you die inside if anyone limits their potential.

We went to the Casey Eye Institute and saw the best eye surgeon in the world for PHPV. They put the clamp in his two month old eye to hold it open and his screams caused my milk to let down. I’ll never forget standing in the public bathroom of a major medical center, mopping up the breastmilk I couldn’t get to stop while the screams of my baby made me want to pull him out of their hands and and walk home. Some moments stand out in your life when you want them to the least.

Jesus was nowhere to be found and whoever this God guy was that everyone kept telling me had a plan, wasn’t a favorite of mine either.

Something happens to you when the whole world turns sideways and everything you thought you knew your life would be, isn’t. I cried a million tears for the loss of his ability to fly that plane, and then we went to church.

I threw myself into Catholic motherhood and bought all the bibles. I wore a St. Christopher, carried a rosary, taught CCD and Boy Scouts. We made our first communion, gave our first confession and I found my voice in asking for help with my faith.

In the depths of my terrified despair… I found God at the Catholic church down the street. I was so painfully awkward at every other church that I was relieved to find one that didn’t confront us at the front door. The Catholics left us alone to figure it out and find our way. They didn’t comment on our being out of place or unknown, they let me quietly find peace in a pew full of people willing to hold my baby or me if either of us needed love or support.

I found a church family that filled all the weird holes my atheist childhood left, and that’s why it’s always been important to me to take my children to church. Not because I don’t see peace and tranquility outside of organized faith but because I know how hard it is to unearth it when you need it the most and also what a huge burden it lifts just to belong to something.

I love being Catholic and there’s a peace I can’t find outside of Mass. My knees hit the kneeler and I have to fight back tears for all the stuff I need to be grateful for, pray on, hope for and work out. I’m not waiting for the man in the sky to answer me, I’m more humble about having a minute to remind myself what’s important and needs my time and attention, first.

Religion for me is about doing what I know I should. It’s about snuggling and reading more than washing and working. It’s about taking a minute to stop and smell the gardenias.

Mine came from a beautiful boy/man who’s done more with one eye than the rest of us have with two, since the day he was born. He never liked sports anyway, he had no problem learning to ride a bike and is successful enough to buy an airplane ticket.

It all works out, you just have to have a little faith…

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