five fun things

Cook’s Illustrated recently ran a little blurb about how xanthan gum keeps things like salad dressings and smoothies and homemade yogurt creamy and emulsified, and it eliminates the ice crystals in homemade ice cream, so I followed their directions to make a little of it (I had some in the freezer leftover from my husband’s brief foray into the world of gluten-free eating) into a gel: two cups of water whirled in the blender with one tablespoons of xanthan gum. Almost immediately, it transformed into a snot-like viscus mass which I transferred to a jar and stored in the fridge.

Now I just add a teaspoon or so to anything that needs a boost of creaminess. So far, this has only included ice cream and fruit sauce — I’m hardly an expert — but still, that counts, right? The gloop is weird and mildly creepy, but, best I can tell, it shouldn’t kill us. (I hope.)


Every time I hear the intro to Schitt’s Creek or see one of the characters or hear a reference, it’s like I’ve been injected with a shot of joy. I start grinning and can’t stop; I feel like a fool — I know I look like a fool — but I’m too happy to care. 


I found a hair product that works! When my hair is still sopping wet, I massage a couple generous squirts into my hair (for some reason, I’ve always felt like product makes hair gross, but that is not the case!), scrunch thoroughly, and then let it air dry. For years, I haven’t touched my hair with a brush, but now I also not longer even pick it out. Instead, each morning I wet my hair with fistfuls of water, do a comb-through with my fingers, and work in just a touch of product.

The curls are loving it.


I recently came across this girl and promptly fell down a rabbit hole listening to all her songs. I kept feeling like she reminded me of something, and then I realized: The Commitments! What a kid.


With one of the 30+ horses that she’s in charge of this week.

We’re going on a family vacation!!! To Massachusetts, of course, to see our daughter, and New Hampshire to visit my husband’s brother’s family, then on up to Maine to stay at a friend’s place and do all the exotic Mainey things like boat around a cove and eat lobster rolls and dig for clams and visit quaint bakeries. The last couple days, we’ll head back to Boston where we’ll go whale watching — when I told my daughter about the whale watching she was like, “Seriously? We’re going to go on a vacation and do touristy things like a normal family?!” — and take in the city sights. If you knows of any off-the-beaten-trail gems (food! hikes! little coves! etc), tell me! 

This same time, years previous: the coronavirus diaries: week ten, the quotidian (5.13.19), the quotidian (5.14.18), driving home the point, Captain Morgan’s rhubarb sours, crock pot pulled venison, people watching and baby slinging.


  • Janet

    Mass Hole Donuts in Arlington; Lawn on D Street (great half moon shaped swings); the North End for Italian food; The Boston Public Market; Rose Kennedy Greenway

  • Mary W.

    Yes Courtney is an amazing singer. You should check out Angelina Jordan. She is 15 but has been singing since she was a very young child.

  • Dee

    Thurston’s outside of Bar Harbor…not fancy but the seafood is fresh right out of the water and wonderfully inexpensive. You take the whole lobster to a table with newspaper on it and with a mallet, go to town! Acadia is fabulous and the views along the way to the top of Cadillac Mountain are watched into my brain. At Thurston’s, some filming was done in the movie ‘Cider House Rules’.

  • Hattie

    Shoshanna is speaking of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail that goes by 16 sites in Boston (e.g. Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church in the North End), but I second her idea to spend one day in Concord.Walden Pond has a new visitors’ center with a replica of Thoreau’s tiny cabin. If it’s too cold to swim in the pond, you can at least walk to or around the pond – a kettle hole formed by a glacier. It is very deep and pretty. Orchard House, where L.M. Alcott wrote “Little Women” is closed, but it’s worth driving the 10 minutes to see it on the outside; nearby is Emerson’s grander home, where the Alcotts and Thoreau often visited. And, finally, you could walk across the Old North Bridge, where the “shot heard round the world” in the Battle of Concord started the American Revolution. So much American history in one small town.

  • Shoshana

    When I was in Boston years ago they had red paint on the sidewalk and you can follow the trail of Paul revere or something like that. Also nearby Salem Massachusetts to learn about the witch trials and Thoreaus Walden Pond.

  • ccr in MA

    First, thanks for sharing that video, I loved her! Second, if you’re going to the north shore in Mass., I highly recommend eating at Woodman’s in Essex. They claim to have invented the fried clam, which may or may not be true, but the food is so good. I love their chicken! But of course the seafood is the big draw for most people.

  • Elizabeth

    LaVerna Preserve in Bristol, ME is a great (not too long) forest hike that ends up at the water. It’s beautiful. Also, if you like beer, the Maine Beer Company in Freeport has the best beer in the US. And then there is Holy Donut in Portland (and a few locations outside of it). I also recommend Shaw’s in New Harbor, ME–great lobster rolls, although I go back and forth between thinking Shaws are the best and Pemaquid lobster pound’s are the best, so I make sure to try them both several times throughout my visits. 🙂

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