SYW: On Ice Cream & Traveling During Covid

I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to participate in Melanie’s Share Your World until today!

QUESTIONS

Restrictions are being lifted all over the world.  Do you feel it’s safe to go out and mingle in crowds in light of the Pandemic?
To a certain degree, yes, although the delta variant is causing the cases to increase at an alarming rate, such as we haven’t seen for several months. I just saw a Facebook post from a cousin’s son announcing that he was a “breakthrough” case – fully vaccinated yet got the delta variant of Covid.

COVID Breakthrough: About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not  had a deadly breakthrough case, CDC data shows - ABC7 Chicago
Notice that there are no “green” states on this map!

His symptoms were not serious and he’s OK now, but it made me think that I ought to be a bit more cautious. Mask mandates have been reimposed here so I’m carrying one around again and having to wear one even when I exercise. The mask came in handy last night, though, when a homeless man “joined” our book discussion group at the library (the discussion is held outside). The moderator was nice to him and the rest of us tried to be casual and welcoming, but I did put my mask on.

It’s a strange situation – there is no lockdown, because of the vaccine, but the vaccine isn’t perfect and the delta variant is spreading fast so we have to wear masks again. Yet I feel Covid-19 fatigue, as I’m sure most people do. I have not tried to go out into a crowded place, such as a theatre. I would, however, love to travel again. I don’t know if I want to get on a crowded airplane right now, though. To go on a road trip, I would consult Covid statistics to see if our destination is more or less safe.

What are some things that are okay to do occasionally,  but definitely not okay to do every day?
Having a drink, eating ice cream – anything in excess is not okay.

Would you relocate for love (romantic or otherwise)?
I have done – moving here to this senior community was my husband’s idea. I didn’t feel ready for it, and it’s still strange to be surrounded by white haired people who have children close to my age, but I’ve gotten to enjoy it. You’re only as old as you feel, and many of the folks here feel young!

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories (no judgment)?
Not the quack-a-doodle conspiracies promoted on social media today, but there have been some conspiracies worth looking into. There are still people trying to find out if JFK’s assassination was a conspiracy and Oswald/Ruby were just front men. I’ve heard enough convincing and reasonable evidence that I believe it might have been a conspiracy.


GRATITUDE PORTION (Optional to participate, as always)

Please share something sweet (take that as you want)

Chocolate ice cream | Chocolate recipes | Ginny Rolfe for Jamie magazine

February Love Me

Yikes! I have a few days to catch up for Paula’s February Love Me challenge! Here are 3 more, in no particular order…

Feb. 6: I love…ice cream! Even though it is winter, and quite cold here, I can’t resist the temptation of ice cream once in a while!

Ice cream in France

Feb. 7: I love…art. I love to visit art museums whenever I can as well as do my own artwork! I just finished the book Frida in America by Celia Stahr, a new biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo focusing on her years in the United States with her husband, Diego Rivera. While reading the book, I explored her artwork on line and, although I was quite familiar with her work, I discovered a lot of her paintings I hadn’t known about before. I also love mural art wherever I find it – and usually stop what I’m doing to take a picture!

Claude Monet, Bordighera, 1884, oil on canvas; exhibition at Chicago Art Institute, Oct. 2020
My artwork: Painted Bunting, sharpie and pastels on construction paper, January 2020

Feb. 8: I love…traveling. Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally knows how traveling is absolutely the thing I love most to do! And while traveling, I engage in one of my favorite hobbies, photography, and when I come back, I engage in another favorite activity, writing (or blogging). Below is a gallery random sample of travel photos from 2018-2019. There are no travel photos from 2020 due to not being able to travel during the pandemic! I have two international trips booked for 2022 and hopefully we can do a road trip in the fall of this year.

SYW/HP: On Haunted Houses, Crowded Concerts, Bell Bottoms, Cockroaches and More…

I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.

SYWaerosolworldgobfire

Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

  • Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen?
    No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
  • The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended?
    Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.

    The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?

    The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
This is a fraction of the crowd we could see from our spot on the lawn.

This was the set up of the people next to us.
  • When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool?
    I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
  • Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made.
    It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!

    Muggle Questions (from Melanie):

What is the last song you sang along to?
I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up.
What food do you crave most often?
ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general
What’s your grossest bug story?
The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.

When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!

FDDA: I Scream…

Fandango has a special challenge for the month of August called Fandango’s Dog Days of August. Every day this month, he posts a theme to get our creative juices flowing! Today’s topic is “favorite food.” I know I’ve written about this before, but I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to really extrapolate about my favorite food, which is…

ice cream!

My favorite food is ice cream. It’s part of why summer is my favorite season. I actually have more than one favorite food – I could name a favorite in each food category but right now I’m staying with ice cream.

This ice cream dessert is called “schaum torte” – the ice cream sits on a meringue, and there’s both hot chocolate sauce and strawberries to put on top.

My favorite flavor of ice cream is peppermint. The problem (if you can call it that!) is that peppermint is often associated with Christmas, so it’s sometimes hard to find peppermint ice cream in the summer. I sometimes eat ice cream in the winter, but not very often.  Ideally, the peppermint ice cream should have hot fudge sauce on top. Skip the cherry and whipped cream, just hot fudge sauce please!  And then, if available, I like to put some kind of embellishment on top, such as sprinkles, m&m’s, little bits of brownie – in fact, if the ice cream is ON TOP of a brownie, that’s even better! Because next to ice cream, brownies are my favorite dessert! 

We used to have a restaurant in our area, called Baker’s Square, that specialized in pie.

It's been a slice: Patrons bid farewell to La Grange Bakers Square ...

But on their menu, they had brownie with ice cream on top listed in their dessert menu.  So I would ask for that – I didn’t really expect peppermint ice cream, vanilla was okay – and would ask for fudge sauce on top if possible.  When the waitress brought it to the table, it was really yummy because the brownie was WARM, as if it had just come out of the oven! Too bad they closed their restaurants around here, because nowhere else serves brownie with ice cream on top quite the way they did.

But I digress…back to ice cream!  While I do prefer peppermint, I like a lot of other flavors, too – chocolate, coffee, fudge swirl, mint with chocolate chips, you name it. One thing I do NOT like in ice cream is peanuts or peanut butter! I hate peanuts and I don’t like peanut butter used as a sweet – save it for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

I also find sorbet very refreshing in the summer, as well as frozen yogurt. These are usually considered “healthier” options – less calories, anyway – than regular ice cream. Anyway, I lump all three together as “ice cream” when referring to my favorite food.

Ralphs - Halo Top Mint Chocolate Chip Light Ice Cream, 1 pt
This entire pint is only 330 calories!

There is a relatively new brand of ice cream called Halo Top, which is sold in pints with the number of calories shown on the side in large numerals. So if it says “360” (but some are lower than that), that’s 360 calories for the entire pint! Of course, I never eat it all at once so I know the calories aren’t too high. Admittedly, Halo Top is not as good as Ben & Jerry’s, but that’s something I have sometimes been willing to sacrifice in order to “have my ice cream and eat it too!”

Here at our senior community, when we were eating in the dining room, ice cream was always one of the dessert options, and they often had several flavors. When the waiter would come by to tell us about the desserts, all conversation ceased as we listened to the ice cream flavor choices! Occasionally they would have one of two very popular options – Roadrunner Raspberry or Peppermint Bark Moose Tracks (the moose tracks being chunks of chocolate mixed in). I don’t know how prevalent this last flavor would be in the summer – we moved here in the middle of August last year, so my 6 months of eating in the dining room (until the pandemic hit and we had to lock down) hasn’t been enough to know if peppermint bark moose tracks is strictly a winter flavor. Anyway, ice cream is rarely a choice of dessert now that our food is being delivered to our house, and when it is offered, it’s always vanilla.

Raspberry Roadrunner (it’s made by Hershey’s) is also a delicious flavor and I wish I had real hot fudge sauce to put on it. Sometimes it’s available for purchase at our Mini Mart, which is still open on weekdays.

The best hot fudge sauce was made at a place that had a restaurant, bar, sweet shop and boat dock, called Bosacki’s, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. 

Bosacki\'s Boat house, Minocqua Wi, Dining Boat Rentals

We had a cottage about five miles from there and I worked there one summer (in the kitchen), so their fudge and hot fudge sauce was a real treat – they would give you the ice cream in a bowl and serve it with a tiny pitcher of freshly-made hot fudge sauce! It was their “secret recipe” – also used in making their delicious fudge – so when they went out of business, that flavor experience was lost to me forever! However, one of the Bosacki siblings, Cathy, opened her own sweet shop where she sold the famous fudge, as well as jars of fudge sauce, but since we sold our cottage, I never go up there anymore.

But again, back to ice cream! Ice cream is a wonderful treat to have when we are traveling, because other countries have different flavors and after an exhausting day of sightseeing, it’s just the thing to recharge my energy!

Ice cream flavors at a shop in Mont St-Michel, France

In 2010, Dale and I went to Spain for a month under a study abroad program run by a local community college. We spent the mornings in Spanish classes and in the afternoon, we either had group sightseeing trips, or we explored on our own. We stayed at a dorm near downtown Madrid, so we walked everywhere. It didn’t seem like a long walk to the Prado and Reina Sofia art museums, for example, and en route we would cross plazas surrounded by colonial buildings and traverse narrow alleys, so there was always something to see. Being summer, the temperature in Madrid was always hot so people didn’t go out in the middle of the day – that’s siesta time, so we usually would wait until mid afternoon to go exploring.  To this day, if I were to go to Madrid, I would know exactly how to find the gelato place on the Gran Via! After walking around for hours, we’d be on our way back to the dorm and at some point I would be so exhausted, I couldn’t go a step further…and what do you know, that point was at the gelatería! After a soothing, cool ice cream sundae sitting outside under an umbrella, my energy would return and I could make it back home! (By the way, Madrid also has some excellent chocolaterías, where you get hot liquid chocolate to dip churros in, which are kind of like an elongated doughnut.)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! That’s what we used to say as kids in my family, and in late spring, we would begin hearing the tinkling of the ice cream truck as it meandered the residential streets of our neighborhood. Occasionally Mom or Dad would give us a quarter or fifty cents to buy something from the ice cream truck – what a treat! That incessant tinkling melody always takes me back to summertime in Janesville, Wisconsin. This is the one we always heard then:

But when I lived in Des Plaines, we would usually hear this one:

Here’s another saying: Whenever we were begging for a favor, we’d embellish our “please:”

Pretty please?
Pretty please with sugar on top?  
Which I changed to –
Pretty please with ice cream on top?
Pretty please with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top?
Pretty please with a hot fudge sundae covered with sprinkles and whipped cream?
Pretty please with a hot fudge sundae with sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry?
…and so on.

Well, I’d better end this because I just remembered that I have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Boom chocalatta! cookie core ice cream in the freezer! *Smack!* OHHHH, so good!

5 Things: Summer Desserts

Dr. Tanya is back with her Five Things Tuesday. The topic this week is favorite summer desserts. That is one of my favorite summer topics!! 😀

  1. ice cream, especially hot fudge sundaes! My favorite ice cream is peppermint but Hershey’s has a superb flavor called Roadrunner Raspberry! It’s vanilla with raspberry swirls and chunks of chocolate. A similar one, although I don’t know who makes it, or whether it’s strictly a Christmas holiday flavor is peppermint bark moose tracks – peppermint with chocolate swirls and pieces of chocolate!

2. Frozen yogurt – it’s almost like ice cream, really, but there’s a frozen yogurt chain here where you can serve yourself from many flavors and then add whatever toppings you want. They charge by the weight (which is a problem – mine ends up being expensive by the time I’ve loaded it up with toppings!).

3. Sorbet (is there a theme here???) – to me, sorbet, or sherbet, is a non-dairy but ice cream-like frozen treat made with fruit. I love raspberry, mango, passion fruit, and coconut the best. Passion fruit is the hardest to find here in the U.S. but I used to eat it often when I lived in Brazil.

4. smoothies – I like my own version of smoothie, although others are good too. When I make smoothies, I get out the blender (which I don’t use for anything else!) and put in fresh and frozen fruit – preferably something compatible. Usually I make it with fresh and frozen raspberries, blueberries and whatever other berries I have on hand. I add a cup of yogurt – preferably nonfat, and either vanilla or raspberry flavor, a little bit of milk – about 1/4 cup max. If there is no frozen fruit, the substitute would be crushed ice. This berry smoothie is my favorite – I even use special glassware, metal straws and long handled spoons when I serve it!!

Doodle of a half-slurped smoothie

5. fresh fruit and/or fruit salad – my husband makes a great fruit salad, using only fruit, no juice, etc. that would add calories. Fresh fruit in the summer is a wonderful treat! I like the strawberries and raspberries, but I look especially forward to cherries (in June-early July), fresh peaches (July-Aug.), and crisp apples in the fall. I buy most of my summer fruit at a farmer’s market. There is nothing like a ripe, fresh peach on a day like today! (about 90º F/33ºC) Fresh mangos are available here in the summer also, but not at the farmer’s market because they are imported from Mexico.

See the source image

Photos of ice cream and fruit salad downloaded from Bing images.

5 Things Tuesday: Make Me Smile

Years ago, there used to be a weekly feature called “5 Things.” I don’t remember who hosted it but I really got into it. Every week the blogger would write about five things pertaining to a certain topic. I think it is great that Dr. Tanya is resurrecting it! And what fun for us all to share our five things every week!

A happy topic to start:5 Things That Make Me Smile!

  1.  Kittens – really cats of all ages. I have a whole separate blog about cats, but I don’t add to it much. I mostly post my cat pictures/stories here!

SONY DSC

Kittens and cats

2.  Flowers – I love to discover them, photograph them and admire them!

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Daffodils are special because they are the heralds of the beginning of spring.

3.  Ice cream or anything chocolate

Chocolate-Sauce-Hot-Fudge

Oh, how I’d love to have one of these right now!

4.   Baby animals – It’s so fun to walk around the campus of our community right now, because we get to see baby ducks, baby geese, and very soon baby swans!
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5.  Just the right music for my mood – from Beatles to Mahler

Dr. Tanya’s challenge and her answers remind me of a song, which is appropriate to end this post:

SYW: On finding one’s soulmate, my mother’s hats, schaum tortes, and 2-for-1 sales

Share Your World is Melanie’s weekly challenge to answer four questions plus sharing gratitude. These are her questions and my answers this week.

QUESTIONS:
1. Do you believe in soul mates? If so, do you think there is only one person meant to share that bond with you, out there in the world? (credit to Cyranny of Cyranny’s Cove)
I do believe in soul mates but I don’t think everyone finds one. You can fall in love and live with someone all your lives without being “soulmates.” Only if you are very lucky do you find “the one” out there in the world that is your true soul mate. My stepdaughter, for example, found her soul mate (now her husband) online. It is uncanny how much they are alike and how quickly they clicked.
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2. Ice cream cone, shake or other ice cream concoction?
I love ice cream in any form, but my favorite dessert is schaum torte. I usually have this dessert once a year, at Easter, because my niece makes the meringues. You put a scoop of ice cream on top of the meringue, cover it with strawberries and hot fudge sauce (best if homemade! My niece makes that too!). I used to have this dessert rarely as a kid. Perhaps because it is a rare, special treat, is why I love it so much. On my birthday, though, I want an ice cream cake!
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3. What would be the hat to end all hats? What could you wear on your head that would make people stop what they are doing and stare in awe and amazement?
My mother was the champion of hats. She traveled all over the world and always came back from her travels with a new hat, something native to the place she visited. She had so many hats that once when my sister had a Halloween party, my mother came as “the hat lady.” She pinned her weird hats all over her outfit! The strangest thing she did, though, was once when she was out with my dad and it started raining. She had no rain hat or umbrella with her, so she emptied the contents of her purse, handing these items to my dad, and then put the open purse upside down on her head!
I like hats but I could never beat anything my mother wore on her head!
hats4. What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?
I might have said “credit card debt” or “tax bill” or maybe something no one would want more than one of, (or at least I wouldn’t – such as two death metal concerts for the price of one…I wouldn’t even attend one) but since I read Melanie’s answers, I would have to say the same thing: Two Trumpelinas for the price of one?? Although we kind of got that with Don Jr. and Eric…anyway, the thought is too horrifying to contemplate!
No-Trump-Zone
HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!
Bonus Question. Please share a moment of gratitude that you experienced during the past week.
Seeing my son trying harder to make enough money to live on. Twice he came over last week because he couldn’t afford to buy decent food, so I invited him for dinner, and we had a nice conversation both nights. Since then, he’s been working more hours as a Lyft driver so that he will have enough to buy at least his essentials. But I think the part I’m grateful for was just seeing him behaving like the nice young man he can be.
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Cee’s Share Your World: On ice cream, keeping cool and cell phone use

Here are my answers for Cee’s weekly Share Your World.

Since we are approaching the hottest part of our summer in the northern hemisphere, what’s your favorite ice-cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet flavor? (Those of you who live down under I’m sure you remember what it is like in the hot summer months).
I always say my favorite is peppermint, but I also like just about any flavor with chocolate in it. I also love some of the tropical fruit flavors: coconut, passion fruit and mango sorbets. Ice cream or frozen yogurt – it doesn’t matter. I like them all! I also like toppings on my ice cream: usually hot fudge, but also sometimes you can get m&m’s, colored sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc. When I am really splurging, I load my sundae with those too!

B&J ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s is one of my favorite ice cream brands, because there are so many innovative flavor combinations. However, it’s too fattening, so I usually opt for Halo Top brand.

ice cream flavors

This photo reminds me of Mariano’s supermarket in the summer, where they have a lovely selection of delicious ice creams and sorbets!

How often do you people watch?
When I am somewhere with nothing much to do. I used to do it more often, and unfortunately, I now too often let my electronics distract me. I should do it more often to get ideas for stories and photos. In fact, a lot of my people watching is behind the lens of a camera (or cellphone) to capture just the right moment!No-Cell-Phones-at-the-dinner-table-cover_uydltv.jpg
If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert? This is a very tough question! Because it is hot and humid here right now, I would love to jump in a lake or a cruise ship swimming pool! I love walking on the beach, but don’t like to swim in the ocean really. I love the desert, though, and it is my favorite environment – the stark beauty of the desert really appeals to me.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. My cat, Hazel… 20180714_175036
…and the little boy in this photo as he runs through the fountain in Denver. His expression is priceless!SONY DSC

NOTE: The photos of ice cream and couple in a restaurant were downloaded from Google Images. All others are my own.