So bad it’s funny

Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? It’s not sitcom-worthy; it’s not even the worst day of your life. It’s just a bunch of small grievances when you were already feeling down, all adding up to choke your blood pressure. So you hop into your car to escape for a bit, only to hit a massive traffic jam. And then there are bees.

I may have to explain.

Nine years ago–seriously, it was September 17th–I was having a tough time. To cheer myself up, I put on my version of a daring outfit: a nice camisole (that didn’t hide my collarbone!), with a long-sleeved but slightly translucent shirt worn open over it. I think I even pulled on a pair of heels. Presumably there were khakis or something as well, because nothing says “daring” like khakis. Thus armed, I set out for a drive.

Cue: traffic, traffic, getting lost/confused a couple of times, more traffic, and finally stopping at a vista point to try to de-stress.

That was when the bees arrived.

Maybe I glimpsed a few drifting around the other cars as I climbed out. But that didn’t prepare me for what I found when I returned: a lazy mob of yellow bodies congregated around the tires and below the door. Waiting for me.

I had two choices: I could charge for the door, braving bees and risking letting some of them into my car; or I could stay at the vista point forever.

Or… use my fancy outfit to my advantage. I took off my shirt and started waving it at the bees, trying to chase them away.

As I was doing this, I realized that from a distance, no one could see the bees. All they could see was this girl in heels and a camisole waving her shirt around.

I think that was when I started laughing.

Nine years later, the bees have turned into needles.

That may also take some explanation. As I mentioned before, I have Crohn’s. It’s not my favorite blogging subject, but it’s been kind of hard to avoid recently. Between doctor’s appointments and dental work (which was my fault, but still unpleasant), I’ve had more needles in me in the past few weeks than I usually see in a year. Which would be trying on a temporary basis, but it looks like needles are going to become a regular part of my life for who knows how long.

Not that they won’t have upsides; hopefully, with this treatment, I’ll start to feel better. But that doesn’t change the fact that I hate needles, and I hate needing treatment, and there’s a gap between “not as bad as it could be” and “good.” Being able to get medical care is a wonderful, incredibly important thing. Needing medical care, not so much.

So this hasn’t been the most upbeat time. Then, on Thursday–which was supposed to be my day off–I got a call. And guess what my day off was now going to involve?

No, really. Guess.

That’s right. A needle.

It was for a procedure I badly needed, so I couldn’t complain. What I did do was laugh, ridiculously, on and off all day. And text a picture of my IV hand to my sister so I could be amused by her horror. (Tempted to post picture here too. Will resist.)

And the whole thing really was–still is–funny to me. Not that I’m happy about the needles; there are just so many. (“Hypochondriac Girl, meet your new sidekicks: the Needle Army! Try not to look directly at them.”) But I thank God for that switch in my brain that turns the exact same situation from overwhelming and depressing into inexplicably hilarious. And to all the people who create things that make us laugh at just the right times: thank you, too. I think sometimes laughter may save our lives.

All of this, anyway, is why I’ve had a hard time keeping up with the blog lately. I’ve had needles on my mind. Or, you know… other places.

But that’s enough seriousness for now. Have this random doodle-comic. (There, see? An art-type thing. I didn’t break my schedule.) I’m sure it’s relevant if you squint and look at it cross-eyed. And who knows? Maybe next week, I’ll have an update about the Copics.

Life in ComicP.S. If you’re wondering how I escaped from the bees: eventually, another car parked to the right of mine. The wind from its arrival shooed the bees away. I used the opportunity to climb into my car through the passenger’s side. Another thank you to whoever owned that car. I hope you escaped the vista point and its apparently hitchhiking bees as well.

Angel Food Cake Tasting Spree

I love food. I can go on an incredible vacation, see beautiful things and have experiences I’ll remember for years, and what will I talk about when I come back?

It was an amazing eclair.

It was an amazing eclair.

That doesn’t mean I have a varied diet, though. Instead, I often go on stints where all I want is one particular food item. (And I’m definitely not a gourmet. Not to say I don’t love high quality food, but sometimes what I really crave is Oreos.) I’ll plan shopping trips because of it, try it in various iterations, and basically eat as much of it as I can get away with for a week or so before moving on to something else.

Most recently, that item was angel food cake.

Before I talk about my favorite angel food cake, a quick word: I have Crohn’s. It’s not something I was planning to bring up on this blog, but it’s tough to explain why I like certain things without touching on the fact that I have some dietary restrictions. My system *hates* fiber, for instance. It isn’t too crazy about dairy, either. It’s given me mixed signals for gluten; I’ve tried going gluten-free, and I’m not convinced that it helped, or helped enough to make the sacrifice worthwhile. Still, some of my beloved baked goods pack an unpleasant punch, which is what made me pick up my first angel food cake sample. I wanted:

  • Emphasis on the “cake” part of the name.
  • Something lighter, that wouldn’t hit my system as hard as a full-on cake or cupcake.

When I found that angel food didn’t seem to bother my stomach unduly, and that it satisfied my craving for… well, cake, the spree was on. I tried five specimens, including mini cakes and a loaf, from 4 supermarkets. Mostly I compared by slight overlap, with the survivor in each round squaring off against the next contender. I’m not going to go down the list in its entirety, though, because I’d much rather focus on the goodness that is my winner.

Angel Food CakeI love pretty much everything about this cake except that it doesn’t come in individual portion sizes, meaning I have to rely on self-discipline to stop me from eating embarrassingly large percentages of it at a time. Also, the pricing is a bit high; at $5.99 for one of these, it’s the most expensive sample in the group.

But it’s moist, smooth, and has a really clean taste; I wasn’t surprised to see that the ingredients looked quite basic compared to a couple of the other labels. Maybe the constituent ingredients just aren’t broken down as comprehensively, but that basic feeling tastes true. *And* it has 0 grams of fiber. Meaning technically two slices of bread have more fiber than this whole cake. Just saying.

My runner up wasn’t as forthcoming about its fiber content, but it was still pretty good.

Angel Food LoafThat’s right. WinCo. And if you can see that price tag–sorry, the photo’s a bit blurry–it’s $1.98 for 11 oz. (No amount of squinting will help you see the weight–it’s printed on the lower part of the label, out of frame.) That’s the same weight as my Whole Foods cake.

The ingredient list on the WinCo version looks more complex; the taste isn’t as basic, and the texture isn’t as smooth. But between these two denser, cakier angel foods, it seems like a matter of personal preference–or perhaps what companion you’re planning to pair the cake with. The Whole Foods one is so good that I like to savor it all by itself, but I can see where the WinCo one would be lovely with ice cream and strawberries. Something about the texture; it puts me in mind of shortcake. And if denser angel food isn’t your preference, I saw rounds and mini cakes at WinCo as well. I suspect those might be lighter than the loaf.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t believe I’ll be testing those any time soon, because I sense that the (current) angel food cake era is coming to an end. I might check in next Wednesday with another food type post. I haven’t decided yet. We’ll see where the week and the grocery store aisles take me.