Following the longest week, in which I had to carve out an existence free from the very things that charm me most (i.e. dessert and anythingthatisnotmeatoreggs) came the realization that my journey was not quite 25 percent complete. Hence the second longest week was born, in which I had to continue to eschew the likes of quinoa and hummus and beans, in favor of meat and eggs and vegetables and nuts.
This was all fine and good – it wasn’t, really – except the second week coincided with yet another Hallmark and Sugar collaboration: Valentine’s Day. Each time I walked into a store, my retinas were assaulted by large displays….of candy. Chocolate in boxes. Chocolate in bags. Heart-shaped chocolates. Lindt balls. Lindt balls in bulk bins. Lindt balls in heart-shaped boxes.
Is there anything more cruel for a sugar addict in recovery?
Maybe, not unlike liquor stores, it’s time to get tasty treats out of grocery stores and send them over to ‘sugar stores’ so fragile people like myself can shop in relative peace. (Actually, this may not be the worst idea I’ve ever had – imagine, grocery shopping without having to endure children begging for Kinder eggs or boxes of Smarties or specialty Kit Kats. Oh wait, that was me.)
The Saturday before the 14th, when the professor was still in Winterpeg, I found myself in my beloved Superstore, listening to three boys begging me for the ‘free’ chocolate chip cookies they hand out to children aged 10 and under at the bakery counter. Ever since he found out that there is an age limit on the free cookies, the Gort has been on a mission to ingest as many un-good-cookies as he can before he turns 10 next month. (I haven’t bothered to explain that, technically, he should be able to enjoy them for a whole ‘nother year.)
As I was in a time crunch, and desperate to get out of there as quickly as possible, I obliged; pushing the cart towards the bakery section. While I waited for the cookies, I noticed a store employee wearing the tell-tale blue shirt and black vest, standing by the counter, seemingly waiting for someone.
He held, in his hands, a half dozen red carnations and a bright white rectangular envelope.
The sweetness of his gesture reminded me of the Valentine’s Days of my youth. It was the cutest thing I have seen in a very long time. (Cuter, even, than the rather elderly, hearing-aid-wearing gentleman at the bookstore who, while standing in line said ‘oh, I ought to get a valentine for Kay.’)
Unabashed eavesdropper that I am, I stared at the adorable, pint-sized man, unable to suppress a smile. Though I’d already received my three crummy cookies, I stood waiting to see how the carnation-situation would unfold, to get a glimpse of the object of the smitten man’s affections.
An older woman wearing the white bakery uniform emerged. We exchanged glances and barely concealed smiles at the sweetness before us. And then, I can only guess, she explained to Romeo that his valentine was not at work.
Unable to witness the conclusion, I pushed my boy-laden cart towards the check-out and left the Superstore. Though I’d return two or three more times over the course of the second-longest week….because I kept running out of fruit and vegetables.
And almonds. (And almond butter and almond milk.)
As an added bonus to the second longest week, the boys were off from school on Thursday and Friday (and Saturday and Sunday and Monday) which made it extra special.
For Valentine’s Day, I tried to channel the spirit of the Superstore Romeo by overusing my heart-shaped cookie cutter and heart-punch. There were 77 valentines for the boys’ classmates. And small gifts for the boys decorated with cardboard hearts.
There was heart-shapped egg toast for the boys’ breakfast. A detail that was very nearly lost on them, until one boy said: ‘oh, I see, that’s a heart.’ There was an egg-shaped tomato and kale omelet for the professor. Though he seemed to look right past the heart, noticing only the presence of kale.
(Note to 2015 self, cookie cutters and omelets don’t really go together. The effect is more ‘gross’ than ‘pinteresting’.)
And there was bacon….made without sugar. Allow me to say that bacon sans sucre, is decidedly salty. ‘Tastes kind of weird,’ the Gort, who loves nothing more than making observations, opined.
Later, in an effort to continue the Valentine’s spirit, and to kill some time, I made cookies for the boys to decorate. Yet another tough spot in heart-week, as I’m fairly fond of sugar cookies with icing. No worries, I stashed two in the freezer for when March 5 (Victory Day) arrives. Because I’m sure frozen, three weeks old sugar cookies are going to taste out of this world.
That evening, in lieu of any tasty treats, the professor and I binged on 5 episodes of House of Cards, season 2. Because, boring plot aside, I think I could watch the creepily calculated Frank and Claire Underwood all day. But not Meacham, Frank and Claire thankyouverymuch.
At one point during the weekend, inundated with almond pulp-meal from my nearly-daily almond milk making, I made some ‘pancakes’ for the boys. That is, if you can call pumpkin puree mixed with an egg and almond meal, a pancake.
I expected a revolt from my pancake-loving boy-children, but Percy insisted they were delicious and ate at least five. The Hen refused to try a bite and the Gort complied, eating two or three, but not without letting me know: ‘I think you’re taking this health thing a bit too far.’
Come to think of it, this sums up their personalities to a T.
Sixteen days down, fourteen to go.