Saturday, November 30, 2013

All Hail The Inventor Of The Clicky-Clicky Zapper Light Thingee!

For search purposes, I'm sure the folks at Ulta-Lit would like me to call their tool the LightKeeper Pro, and now I have, so you know what to buy, which you should, because hot damn, the thing is magic!

I have a pre-lit tree – that it is artificial is implied, right? – that I've owned for six years, I believe. I used to cut down a tree each year, and while that can be fun, weather-permitting, I really like deciding, "It's time for the tree!" and going downstairs and hauling up the components and fitting them together, plugging them into each other, and then plugging the whole shebang into the wall.

Ta da! Tree!

Except that those little white lights don't last forever, so after the first few years, when I'd plug in the tree, some spots wouldn't be lit. Sometimes they'd come on if I jiggled the branches, but that always made me wonder if I was dealing with a fire hazard.

Of course, I wasn't the only one with the light problem. And who wants to root around in a tree looking for problem bulbs?

No one.

And so the Ulta-Lit people saw a need and filled it. Yay, entrepreneurs!

And lo, people like me heard of the magic light-fixer gun and we were awed by the possibility.

It's super simple to use. There's a short video on the front page of the site and you can root around for more information.

But with a click or two – or up to 30 – the lights come back on!

This year, I noticed in the instructions that once the lights are back on, we should still look for the dark bulbs and replace those.

So that's how I spent part of my day.

First, I needed "donor" bulbs. I had a strand of lights downstairs, so I pulled all of those out of their sockets last night. And I learned an important lesson:

Make sure the bottom parts of the new bulbs are identical to the ones you pulled. Some are flat and some have a weird little protrusion. The ones from my tree are flat but the ones from the string I tried had the protusion. Those bulbs completed the circuit so that the other lights came back on, but those bulbs would remain dark.

So pull one of the duds to use as your sample and then cannibalize a string of lights that you have or go buy a string but make sure the bottom parts of the new bulbs are identical to the ones you pulled.

I was going to go to the store to buy a strand of lights – after first checking the spare bulbs that are usually included to make sure I was buying the right kind – but Mom mentioned that she has a slew of lights at her house since she and my dad don't do the full complement of decorating outside anymore.

So I went over there today to get her tree fully lit. (We have the same tree, purchased on the same night from the same store.) I found a string of lights that had bulbs that would work, pulled out of all of those to use as "donor" bulbs (you can recycle the part of the string that's left; Home Depot accepts dead strands, I think, or you can find places online where you can mail them; they recycle the copper wire and the plastic and such) and then spent some time looking for the duds in her tree. Every time I looked at the tree again, I found more.

Once I got home tonight, I did the same thing to my tree. It was mostly lit, but there were some duds. I swapped those out with the donor bulbs – 30 so far, and I expect to find more – and hopefully, next year, when I put the tree together and plug it in, I'll be in business. But if not, I have the clicky-clicky light thingee!

By the by, having done two trees now, I have a system: I'm wearing a hoodie with separate pockets. Dud bulbs went in the left pocket when I pulled them. Good bulbs were in my right pocket. I held the socket and pulled on the dud bulb, wiggling it if necessary to get it out. (The zapper thingee has a tool built in to help you pry out bulbs, too. But wiggling and pulling usually does the trick.) And then I kept holding onto the socket as I fished out a new bulb. Otherwise, it was too easy to lose sight of the socket I just pulled from.

Also, my donor bulbs are a slightly different brightness than the original bulbs, but I don't mind the variation. They're mixed in enough that it's a pleasant mix. But that's something to note, lest you end up with a tree that looks weird from very different lights.

So there you have it: Your holiday-light hassles solved for about twenty bucks, twenty of the best bucks you'll ever spend.

In Place ...

The tree is up and decorated, for the moment, with only the latest ornament from my mom. I rather like the minimalism. But I'll probably add a few more.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just In Time ...

Antidote to my retail grumpiness: A bit of holiday cheer from my mom, for tree decorating on Friday. I love the loopy bit at the top!

Thanks, Mom!

Dear Some Retailers: You Can Open Your Stores On Thanksgiving But You Can't Buy Another Soul ...

So, it's come to this.

Consumerism and materialism have finally trumped everything else in our culture.

Why, I remember a time when it was notable that stores opened at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.

"Who the hell wants to go shopping at 5 a.m.?" I wondered.

Not me, thanks. I'm not a fan of shopping in the first place, but the idea of getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning to be in a store by 5 a.m. never held even the slightest appeal.

I had friends who would go. They thought it was great. "We're done and drinking by 11 a.m.!" they'd gush.

Whatever. You know what I'll probably be doing at 11 a.m. this Friday? Bringing up Christmas decorations from downstairs. Placing little bits of holiday cheer around the house. Drinking more coffee. I may or may not be wearing pants.

But 5 a.m. wasn't enough. Soon, 4 a.m. was the norm. Then 3 a.m. Then 2. Then retailers said, "Oh, to hell with it, let's open at midnight."

Again, I think that's nuts. But fine. Midnight. People wait in line to go to midnight screenings of blockbuster movies. People waited in line to go to midnight parties for the release of Harry Potter books. People camp out for the next iPhone. So midnight. Fine.

But opening on Thanksgiving Day is, in a word, bullshit.

Don't give me this "Oh, people are done with dinner by 8 p.m. Why not let them get a jump on their shopping?"

You know why? Because the people who have to work in the stores may not be done with dinner at 8 p.m. But that's not even the point. The point is that they shouldn't have to work on Thanksgiving. Because nobody has to buy anything Thanksgiving night. And if they do, they can shop online.

I was seeing ads last night for "Black Friday." They annoyed me. I tweeted:

This morning, I still wasn't over it. So I added:

I know that plenty of people will shop tomorrow, justifying it with "Hey, the stores are open!" (I just mistyped "stores" as "sores." How appropriate.)

But if people didn't show up tomorrow after all, next year, maybe retailers would respond and stay shut.

Ah, well. A girl can dream.

Meanwhile, though, if you'd like to patronize the stores that are staying closed and shun the stores (I just mistyped "sores" again. Way to go, subconscious!) that are open, here's a handy-dandy guide, courtesy of ThinkProgress. (Click to enlarge.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

'Wheat Belly' ...

Sometimes it can take me a while to get around to doing the right thing.

Like, oh, say ... years.

I wrote this post about Mark's Daily Apple and Mark Sisson in 2009, but I was hip to him and his site before then.

So here I am in November 2013, more than four years after I wrote that post and finally — finally — what Mark teaches has finally sunk in.

Because I read Wheat Belly.

It's not that I needed corroboration. I trust Mark — always trust a man with eight-pack abs — and his books are very worthwhile. I recommend them, too. (I have The Primal Blueprint and the first cookbook and the 21-day transformation.) But I follow the Wheat Belly page on Facebook and the other day, a woman posted Before and Current side-by-side photos and I nearly fell out of my chair.

Since October 1, she's rid herself of many of her joint-pain problems, IBS problems, fatigue problems, and 31 pounds.


Thirty-one pounds in less than two months?

That's astonishing.

Every Friday, Mark's site features the stories of those who have adopted a primal lifestyle and have amazing photos to share, but for some reason, Myah's story on the Facebook page is the one that truly clicked.

I went out to lunch with my mom that day – I had a lovely composed salad with no bread in sight and I didn't miss it – and mentioned wanting to buy the book to read and then share with her.

She suggested I try the library first.

I'm not sure why that hadn't dawned on me. I love the library.

So when I got home, I checked the two libraries nearest to my house. Both have it but it was checked out at both, so I put holds in place to reserve a copy.

And the next day, I received an email that a copy was waiting.

So off to the library I went.

That was Thursday.

I started reading and passages started resonating with me. I told myself I'd remember the page numbers.

And then I got off the couch and headed into my office to retrieve some sticky notes.

Remembering things is not my strong suit these days. And I was about to find out why.

I read for a while on Thursday and then set the book aside.

It is very dense informationally. My brain can only take in so much at once before it wants to take a break.

But I added sticky notes whenever I came across a passage that I wanted to note when I wrote this post.

It quickly became apparently that the gist of the post should be this:

Read Wheat Belly.

It's not that I don't want to write an informative blog post for you. I do. But to illustrate my point of just how much information you'll find worthwhile, I kept adding sticky notes as I read.

This is what the book looks like, now that I've finished it:

You see my point.

You can certainly check it out from the library, but I recommend buying it. (I am recommending it of my own free will, if anyone's wondering. I've not been compensated in any way to link to it, nor would I accept anything. I'm just making it easier for you to get your mitts on it. One less excuse, eh?)

It would make far more sense to own it and be able to highlight a copy and write in the margins and have access to the suggested menus and the recipes that Dr. Davis includes.

Dr. Davis, I should mention, is a cardiologist who shares his own story in the beginning of the book. He's traveled the same path he prescribes to others.

The erstwhile pre-med student in me really responded to the detailed medical information he shares in this book.

Know that going in: He gets into the weeds about the biological and physiological effects of wheat in our diets.

In a nutshell:

Wheat is bad.

Nonsense, you say! Wheat is a grain! Even the government tells us to eat more grains!

Yeah, the government is wrong. Big Food makes a lot of money selling tons of processed crap that not only lacks nutritive value but is literally destroying our bodies.

Wheat affects everything.

I saw myself in these pages. I saw my mom in these pages. I saw my dad in these pages. I saw my brothers in these pages. I saw everyone I know in these pages.

I thought about my friend Marc who is convinced the current push toward gluten-free is a load of crap. He is a very smart, very logical man. Marc, I encourage you to read the book. And then call me and we can have a lovely chat about it.

And I was astonished at the depths of the effects of wheat on our health. The detrimental effects are staggering.

Schizophrenics respond very well to the removal of wheat from their diets. Many experience a drastic decrease in symptoms. That's jaw-dropping.

Mind you, the wheat we eat today is not the wheat folks ate even 50 years ago. Dr. Davis goes into great detail about how wheat has been bred – no pun intended – into something very different in a quest to increase yields and make it pesticide-resistant and the like.

And he makes the very important point that none of these strains have ever been tested for safety in our diets.

So what, you may think. It's still wheat.

Yes, but consider his point that the only thing that differentiates men from women is a single chromosome. We're all human, but change one chromosome and radical differences result.

Dr. Davis covers in great detail:

— The addictive properties of wheat.

— The connection between wheat and obesity. (We've gotten massively, collectively fatter in just a few decades.)

— Wheat and celiac disease.

— Wheat and diabetes.

– Wheat as it affects our pH. (Paul, that chapter's for you.)

– Wheat and the aging process, including cataracts, osteoporosis, and wrinkles.

– Wheat and heart disease.

— Wheat and the brain.

— Wheat and our skin.

And within each of those chapters, I promise you, your mind will be blown to read about wheat's role in dementia, wheat's role in neuropathy, wheat's role in asthma, wheat's role in arthritis, wheat's role in cancer, and the list goes on and on and on. One woman was on three medications to manage her ulcerative colitis and was told she would have to have a colostomy. Dr. Davis advised her to eliminate wheat. Her entire life changed. She went from being on the brink of having part of her body removed and having to deal with a colostomy bag for the rest of her life to getting off of all of her medications.

That dietitians and doctors and so many continue to push "healthy whole grains" blows my mind. People are told not only to eat foods that are toxic to them but to make them the foundation of their diets. It's insane.

My lovely salad on Wednesday was my de facto start of saying goodbye to wheat. I don't remember what I had for dinner that night, if anything.

But I began my intentional no-wheat journey on Thursday.

Yesterday, Saturday, my head felt a little funny. Not worrisomely funny, just "Oh, something is going on in there" funny. Some folks experience severe withdrawal from wheat. I haven't had much of an issue, but then, I wasn't eating that that much of it anyway. (A very bad episode following too many slices of whole-grain bread a couple months ago had jump-started my process.)

Today, I feel fine. I'm more alert than I've been of late. Reading used to put me to sleep pretty quickly. Now I can keep reading. I'm thinner, not from having lost weight but from being less bloated.

Actually, I shouldn't say I feel fine. I feel better than fine: I feel good.

I haven't eaten much today and while I'm hungry, I'm not ravenous. Wheat wreaks such havoc with our blood sugar, so we're constantly looking for food on a wheat-based diet.

Even only being off of it for four days, I feel better.

And I'm not wistful for wheat. I'm not dreaming about a bowlful of pasta. I don't want it. Because now I really understand how it affects me. And the choice is simple: just don't eat it.

Earlier this year, I had finally, at long, long last, decided that I would pursue baking professionally. Folks have been telling me to do it for years and this year, it finally clicked.

And then, a couple of months ago, I read a story about a study that linked wheat and sugars with dementia.

And I decided right then and there that I couldn't go into business and profit off of something I knew would do others harm. Granted, studies have a way of contradicting themselves over time, but I already had plenty of exposure to the idea that grains were bad. I had already been wavering on the baking front. But reading that story sealed the deal.

Charmingly, though, when I posted a note on the Wheat Belly page on Facebook when I was 90 pages into my reading, a community sprang up immediately, chatty and informative and encouraging. More than one person, upon reading of my ditched baking plans, pointed out that if I can produce baked goods with approved ingredients – it's possible to bake without wheat and the usual suspects – that the world will beat a path to my door.

People still want baked goods. They just don't want the ill effects of wheat.

So my baking plan is back to being a possibility.

I'll take on trying to perfect baked goods in new ways. Perhaps my success in the baking world will arrive in a form other than what I envisioned originally.

But in the meantime, I'm so grateful to have read Dr. Davis's book. And I remain grateful to Mark Sisson and the wealth of information I've learned from him, too.

I encourage you to read Wheat Belly and I encourage you to give yourself a few days away from wheat and notice how you feel. It may be a bit unpleasant at first, depending on how much you consume presently. But any unpleasantness is all the more reason to push through. Let your body detoxify itself and feel what you're meant to feel like.

I have to tell you, it's pretty great so far. And I fully intend to keep going.

I'll let you know when the cookies are ready.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Good Times: November Edition ...

The November cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Vanilla Squares with Dark Chocolate and Scotch Ganache. An after-dinner treat in small bites. Have a little. Have a lot. Grab a spoon.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Particularly good show, rose! Nicely done!

Thanks, Mom!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Oh Dear God: Dillman's. ...

Look at it. Just look at it!

I was excited to go to Dillman's because I had fallen hard for Au Cheval, but I have to tell you: I love Dillman's even more.

The space is bigger and the tables are farther apart so there is far less din than at Au Cheval. (Au Cheval is wee.) Charmingly, though, Doreen and I reprised our table placement. At Au Cheval, we were tucked into the right-hand corner, all the way back. At Dillman's, well, see the bookshelves against the far wall in the image above, flanked by the sconces? We were sitting underneath the right side of those bookshelves and that right-hand sconce. Doreen nabbed the banquette, which is really a giant cognac-colored Chesterfield sofa, complete with a bevy of dec pillows.

As dinner was winding down, I said, not unseriously, "I want to live here." The checkered floor – one of my "Someday, I shall have it!" loves – transitions to a gorgeous herringbone floor – another of my "Someday, I shall have it!" loves.

But look at me, getting head of myself by writing about dinner winding down when I've not yet written about dinner winding up.

Doreen opted for vodka – "No vegetables, no fruit" – and I opted for a glass of Barbera. Barbera is always a winner with me, no matter what I'm opting for from the menu.

We started with the shaved Brussels sprouts salad with pecans and golden raisins, and the baked goat cheese with tomato and garlic toast.

I love Brussels sprouts. I love them. My love for them cannot be overstated. But I think I would have preferred that salad during a warmer month. Though the hit of lemon dressing was nice, I wasn't wowed by the Brussels sprouts salad.

But I damn near fell out of my chair with the goat cheese. Oh. Dear. God. That dish alone may be the sole reason that I never fully give up wheat.

If you've ever had a goat cheese appetizer in a restaurant, you may be thinking that what arrived at our table was a small baking dish containing an unremarkable round of goat cheese with some tomato sauce splashed on top. And you would not be more wrong.

No, no, at Dillman's, the goat cheese arrives in a gratin dish, from edge to edge and side to side. A lot of goat cheese. And it is topped by a lovely bit of tomato sauce with just enough texture to be interesting but not in any way to truly detract from the cheese. And alongside the gratin dish, on the larger plate: the garlic toast. Again, you may be thinking of sliced baguette or ciabatta. And again, you would not be more wrong.

No, no, at Dillman's, "garlic toast" means "rustic bread torn into large hunks, dipped into garlic and oil, and baked until the crust is shatteringly crisp and served so immediately out of the oven that it's almost too hot to tear into pieces."

Now imagine – because imagination will have to suffice until you can get there – tearing off a piece of the soft, hot, garlicky bread, just crispy enough from all of the toasted torn edges, and dragging it through the warm tomato-topped goat cheese. Now imagine the creamy tanginess and the soft, hot, crispy garlickiness that you've just set onto your tongue.

Right? Yeah, you need that. We all need that. Every day. For the rest of our lives.

Doreen opted for the chicken pot pie, as it's a signature dish, and indeed, it arrived looking very adorable, nestled in among a happy island of mashed potatoes with just enough jus-like gravy and roasted garlic cloves to equal perfection. And I opted for the roasted chicken, which, too, came with jus and roasted cloves of garlic. I didn't opt for mashed potatoes on the side. I wouldn't have had room, after the earlier bread extravaganza. The chicken was cooked perfectly with impossibly crispy skin and a bit of fried sage for good measure. I brought half of it home.

Doreen had requested dessert menus while we were marveling over our main courses, so she could decide if she would finish her dinner or take half home to save room for dessert.

Once she homed in on coconut cream pie, there was nothing else she needed to see. But the dessert menu was lovely: chocolate layer cake, carrot cake, cheese blintz, pistachio ice cream, malted vanilla ice cream, rice pudding, and more.

I opted for none of it, as I knew I'd have a bite or two of Doreen's coconut cream pie, but much, much more importantly, because I'd spied the "Dessert Drinks" section of the menu.

It is very short.

It contains two drinks.

I do not remember the other one. Because I was fixated on ...

Scotch & Honey with steamed milk.

I couldn't not try it. I couldn't not.

It arrived at the table in a classic rounded coffee cup, on a saucer, with a demitasse spoon on the side, all looking very much like a cappuccino topped with soft foam.

I took a sip.

I took a second sip.

It was perfectly, drinkably hot.

It was sweet.

It was creamy.

It contained just enough scotch to be present but not so much as to be overpowering, as scotch can sometimes be.

It was, in a word: fascinating.

Doreen tried a sip. And then another.

It is absolutely a two-sipper for anyone giving it a try.

Oh. My. God.

Angelo, you must have one. You must.

Doreen's dessert, by the by, was perfectly lovely. I had more than one bite.

But oh, my scotch and honey. I scooped up demitasse spoonfuls of the remaining foam. I didn't want it to end. It is the most perfect thing I can remember having, ever.

Dillman's, bless its heart, takes reservations. (Au Cheval does not.) So book an evening and go.

I'll probably see you there.

I really, really want to move in.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Really, Jayson? Really? This Is My Wheelhouse Edition ...

It arrived like a challenge: "find gifts for the epicurean on your list."

Oh, really? We shall see about that, I thought, clicking through.

I landed on a page without too many offerings. I scrolled. I spot-checked prices. Hmm. Not entirely insane.

Maybe there was hope. This time.

I spied some pewter bowls. Pewter-finish stoneware bowls. Hmm. Interesting. Pretty. More, perhaps, than I would want to spend on a bowl, but not entirely outside the realm of a reasonable bowl price, especially if the larger one is to be used as a centerpiece year-'round.

Pewter Stoneware Bowls – Starting at $98

I kept looking. Lab evaporating dishes? OK, that's a bit odd. They're quite wee. And so not entirely functional. It's not like someone is going to buy a bevy of them to use for mise en place, not at $16 a pop. But, OK, if you want to buy a host or hostess gift for a chemistry teacher or fan of Walter White, why not?

Lab Evaporating Dishes – Starting at $16

Annnnd, then I saw this. A cookbook that comes with a tote bag? Is it that heavy? I like Indian food but I never try to make Indian food. Because Indian restaurants make Indian food and I am more than happy to let them deal with recipes that require two dozen ingredients or more. But for those who might want to tackle Indian cuisine at home, a good cookbook is a must. So I'm a bit bemused as to why Jayson is offering this book, given that part of its description contains this:

"Nicely labeled color photos adorn each of the nine food chapters, highlighting various snacks, entrees, breads, and desserts. However, the presentation of the recipes is another matter. Comprehensive to a fault, but with no commentary and all the welcoming charm of an auto parts catalogue, most are presented two to a page with boilerplate listings of origin, cooking time, ingredient list, and basic directions."

If, as a retailer, your reaction to a cookbook is "This has all the welcoming charm of an auto parts catalogue," perhaps you'd like to offer your customers another option.

India: The Cookbook – $49.95

Ah, Jayson, don't ever change. I get so much blog fodder from you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sweet Gratitude ...

To the first person who looked at a slab of cream cheese and thought, "I can make a cake out of that": I salute you.

Thank you, cheesecake benefactor.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Resonance ...

Last night, I took in a bit of culture.

A friend called earlier in the week and invited me to join him and his wife at a performance at the Beverly Arts Center, near their home.

So I went.

It was, as The Source proclaims, astonishing.

"County of Kings" is a one-man show performed by Lemon Andersen, his memoir of growing up.

I marveled at Lemon's ability to hold the entire show in his head and to deliver every syllable flawlessly.

But there were three words in particular that pierced my heart. Three words among thousands that so poignantly spoke to everything his life had been and had been not:

"... bliss shocks me ... ."

Bliss shocks me.

Those words make me cry. To contemplate his life – and the lives of so many – for whom struggle and strife and just getting by are the norm, for whom true happiness is a concept too foreign to entertain.

There was a reception after the event. As it wound down and the crowd thinned, I approached him. Others were chatting with him. I waited.

I wanted to compliment him on his performance but I particularly wanted to compliment him on those three words. He thanked me. And then he introduced me to his stage manager who was standing nearby and told me how much his director helped shape the show. Which made me admire him even more, that he is so quick and generous to share appreciation and praise.

If you have the opportunity to see him perform the show, go.

Or, at the very least, read it in book form. In 2010, it was awarded the New York Book Festival’s Grand Prize.

It is a marvel, truly. An extraordinary journey.

It was beyond a pleasure to see it performed.

It was astonishing.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Little Meditation On An Upcoming Birthday ...

Next week, I shall have another birthday.

At least, I plan to have another birthday. I plan to be here for it.

But really, no one ever knows.

I am very keen on birthdays. Not for presents or parties or hoopla. But for each one's arrival, the gift in itself.

The other night, someone on Facebook, who will be turning 50 this year, wrote that she is not going to acknowledge that "very icky day."

I left a comment for her. I considered not leaving a comment for her, but then I decided that it was important to encourage her to be grateful for this birthday, for every birthday.

A very dear friend of mine, I told her, died very suddenly at the age of 38. He did not get to turn 40, a milestone that arrived for me nine months after he died.

I was very pleased to turn 40. I will be very pleased to turn 50, should that be in the cards. And I will be very pleased to turn 60 and 70 and so on.

I will take as much time on this planet as I can get. And I will gratefully acknowledge every day of it.

Of course, I have moments when I forget how old I am, which is surely a sign of aging. Truly, sometimes I have to stop and think for a second. The good news is, it always comes to me. There is hope for me yet.

So, to the would-be birthday shunner and the woman I heard once declare that she is staying 39 forever, I offer a little hope that they will come to see age as a blessing, not a curse.

Because there is only one alternative to having another birthday.

And for that gathering, no one ever enjoys cake.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

A Biscuit Story In Four Acts ...



After After:

Really After:

Yesterday, a very delightful delivery arrived from Dean & Deluca from a very delightful – and very kind and very generous – friend.

Among the bounty were boxes of biscuits, "Made with real butter and cream cheese" and "Folded like puff pastry."

So, as you can see, I baked a couple of them today to try.

Oh. My.

On this blustery fall day, they were just the thing. Crispy on the bottom and flaky and warm and pleased to take on more butter.

Thank you, kind, delightful, generous friend, for the happiness in biscuit form.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Don't Dis The Dots ...

I love Dots.

I shouldn't love Dots. But I do.

And so this year, for Halloween, I decided that I would give out Dots and only Dots. Little boxes for most trick-or-treaters but big, theater-size boxes for the off-the-charts-adorable triplets who live two doors down.

I mentioned on Facebook that I would be doling out Dots and someone commented:

"Dots? Dots??? Oh, Beth. Even if it ends up being bright and sunny... you're not getting rid of that 'candy.'


I thought I knew you."

To which I replied:

"Not the hard nubs of dried toothpaste on paper, the chewy gumdrops in the yellow box."

Then added:

"And if you're maligning the chewy gumdrops in the yellow box, you clearly have no taste. Dots are awesome."

He replied:

"Yes. Those.

Your Halloween must be very lonely."

To which I replied:

"Dude. When I have a mixture of candy, folks *opt* for the Dots. You're just weird."

Weird indeed.

I had two specific moments when handing out Dots this year:

A very cute little boy – 5 years old, maybe? – came to my door and held out his plastic pumpkin for me. Plunk!, went a little box of Dots. He turned, made his way down my few steps, then went tearing across my lawn back to his parents on the sidewalk, yelling, "I GOT MORE DOTS!"

He was happy about it. Very happy. You bet, little man. Good on you. Your life is clearly on the right track.

And then the triplets arrived with their mom and dad. Thankfully, no one else was on their way to my door, so I was able to grab the big boxes of Dots and place them in their plastic pumpkins. Their eyes got huge. One of the girls grabbed her cellophane-wrapped box, thrust it at her dad, and said, "Can we open this?!"

Right on, sweetheart. Dots.

Mom and Dad reported that they love them, too.

So my Facebook friend is, indeed, weird.

Hope your Halloween was spiffy.

Next year, I may dole out big boxes of Dots exclusively. Come on by.

(By the by, I ended up picking up more candy, just in case, and it's good that I did, as I nearly ran out of everything. I bought Mounds bars — because the store seemed entirely out of fun-size Almond Joys because clearly, everyone knows how awesome they are, but I like the dark chocolate of Mounds; they need to make dark-chocolate Almond Joys — and Almond Snickers, which are really Mars bars. So chocolate was represented, as it deserves to be.)