I am back…….anyway, I think I’m back. As if the whole COVID pandemic isn’t stressful enough, my Multiple Sclerosis has decided that it would like to start acting up again after a year and a half of being off a Disease Modifying Drug (DMD) and doing really well, I have relapsed. This is a real bummer as both me and my Neurologist were fairly certain that my disease had transitioned into Secondary Progressive MS, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, unfortunately. You know, I had myself convinced that I had beat this thing……..but what I am continually reminded of, is that you don’t beat MS, the best you can do is learn how to live in harmony with it while respecting the power that it can potentially have over your wellbeing. That my friends is the tricky part, living in harmony with a chronic illness. That is something that I have to intentionally think of doing every day from the minute I wake up to the minute I go to bed. Oh well, suffice it to say, I am again humbled by this disease. A bout of steroids and a month and a half later, I am finally getting control over this relapse and can feel myself turning the corner. That being said, I have felt too yucky to do too much of anything but sit on the couch with Netflix, Apple TV, Prime Video and more mindless activities that didn’t require me to use the entire left side of my body and I mean the entire side.
So, let me start by saying that this post is not to minimize some of the negative effects of self-quarantine or self-isolation that is our new normal right now, this is merely a light-hearted take on a few things that I have learned during the last 8 months of COVID restrictions. Let’s be real, Mr. Rogers and Bill Nye were a couple of the best teachers you’ve ever had, but this quarantine has taught me some history lessons I missed out on at school, either because I didn’t listen or that I skipped was sick on those days. I hate to admit it, but I have been watching way too much TV and I’m finding that Netflix is way better than any encyclopedia I have shuffled through. So, I thought I would share a few things I have learned with Netflix as my teacher (you know, so you don’t have to rush to the library to find the right encyclopedia).
The Crown – This show follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century. I didn’t know she was only 25 years old when she became the Queen, I had a hard time deciding what to make for dinner when I was 25 years old, let alone decide what to do for a country. I also have always thought that Prince Philip just followed the Queen around like a little puppy dog, but it sounds like he was a handful, he was self-centred and had a difficult time accepting the fact that she was the Queen, and he was nothing more than her husband, definitely not her equal, to say that he was a prickly prince is an understatement. I also didn’t realize that Princess Margaret was such a rebel. Did you know that King Edward was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer? And another thing I want to know is why the heck don’t they just have one first name, one middle name and one last name like the majority of people out there? Edward’s real name is Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David) but apparently, that’s not enough names for one man, so he went by these as well:
His Highness Prince Edward of York
His Royal Highness Prince Edward of York
His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Cornwall and York
His Royal Highness Prince Edward of Wales
His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall
His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
His Royal Highness Prince Edward
His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor
Yet everyone in the show calls him David, I am so confused! And……..his brothers were known as Prince Albert Duke of York, Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester and his brother (before he became king because of Edwards abdication) was Prince George – Duke of Kent (didn’t they all live in the same place)? Is it any wonder that the Royal family titles have been confusing, surely I can’t be the only one? And that is just one little piece of the family – I feel like they just make up a name that sounds good and calls it a day! I can’t keep up, but I am still thoroughly enjoying The Crown. I have been googling events like crazy just to be sure if what is happening is something I should already know or if it’s just for TV knowledge. Turns out, I should already know some of it (like the Suez Crisis), did anyone learn about that in school or were you skipping sick that day too? We have just started Season 3 and I am looking forward to the arrival of Princess Diana, it’s no doubt that I will likely continue to learn more thanks to this show. BTW, I loved John Lithgow as the crotchety Winston Churchill and as a woman, I appreciate the fact that Queen Elizabeth hasn’t worn any outfit more than once, what I wouldn’t give to have a peek in her closet! And those crowns, everyone needs one of those!
The next lesson for me was a show called Black Sails – who doesn’t love a good pirate show (warning, there is a lot of raciness in this series, so if you have little ones, maybe stick to history lessons the more conventional way…… like school). Black Sails is a prequel to “Treasure Island,” and includes the characters of Captain Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, Israel Hands and Anne Bonny who were actual pirates in history that operated in the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. Much of the background on the island of Nassau is true to history, and many of the characters, from Charles Vane to the Guthrie family to the Maroons are strongly inspired by real people, and the show has included nearly all of the characters from Stevenson’s classic book. If nothing, this show is good entertainment. Hasn’t everyone dreamt of being a Pirate at some point or another?
When rummaging through Netflix in the spring, my husband stumbled upon the show Vikings and I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to jump on board with it, but once I did, I found myself enjoying it. Vikings transport us to the brutal and mysterious world of Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known legendary Norse heroes and who was notorious as the scourge of England and France. Ragnor was a farmer who rose to fame by successful raids in England and eventually becomes a Scandinavian King with the support of his family and fellow warriors. Now, there is only so much history that can be relied upon based on the writings from 200-400 years after the events they portray on the show, but many of the characters are based on (or inspired by) real people from history or legend and the events portrayed are broadly drawn from history although some of the history stories have been amended for a dramatic event, I found it fascinating and wished I had paid more attention not been sick on those important history lesson days.
If you aren’t in the mood for history and only want some good old-fashioned fun, I suggest you tune in to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime Video – Mrs. Maisel is a 1950s housewife turned aspiring stand-up comedienne and had both my husband and I laughing from the first episode so if you are looking for some light-hearted fun turn to Mrs. Maisel, if you don’t leave every episode laughing, I think your funny bone may be broken and you should get it checked out! That’s enough history lessons for today but I have also taken away many other deep and thoughtful life lessons that you can’t learn merely by living life, they can only be learned by watching hours of movies and television shows. I’m reframing my thoughts that my hours of television have been educational, not a total waste of time and I wanted to share some of these other lessons with you (in case you don’t have hours of time on your hands as I do). Here we go…….
- If applied properly, lipstick and mascara never washes off – even while swimming, scuba diving or having wild passionate hanky panky
- Men can take a licking and keep on ticking, except when their wife (or girlfriend) tries to clean their wounds with soap and water, then they whinge and whine like a baby
- During all FBI or police investigations, you will need to visit a strip club or brothel at least once
- Vikings, pirates, dog trainers & gang members all have pearly white teeth and a lot of cleavage
- It is a given that all single women must have more than one cat or bird at all times while still single
- A detective can only solve a case once they have been put on administrative leave and turned in their firearm and badge
- You cannot complete the download of files from someone else’s computer until that person is moments away from returning to the room
- If you are being held at gunpoint, simply start running when the shooter starts shooting, but be sure to tip over a table or chair to hide behind because bullets won’t hit you, they will hit everything else in the room, but you will be safe. The more shooters there are, the worse their aim is. Also, when shooting at a moving vehicle, shoot at the back window, never at the tires because you don’t want to really slow them down
- When you walk into a room and see your target, be sure to call out their name or yell “Stop” first giving them a sporting chance at a successful escape. The element of surprise is definitely overrated
- You can leave work in the middle of the day for hours and nobody will even notice you were gone
- No matter what your destination is, you will find a parking spot right in front – even in rush hour in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Vancouver, Seattle or LA
- While all ventilation systems and air ducts are a tight squeeze, anyone can fit in them and they will always lead you out of the building to a secret exit where a car waits to help you flee
- If you need to escape by jumping off the roof of a building, there will always be a car to land on, a garbage dumpster to land in or a pool to splash into
- When participating in a high-speed chase, traffic on the highway will be spaced appropriately so you can weave in or out without too much trouble. Additionally, when chasing a bad guy, if you turn down an alley, you will always come out either right behind or right in front of them.
See mom, watching too much TV can make you smarter! Who knew??
Now, I know that I owe you a yummy recipe so I don’t want to disappoint you! This yummy bread is sure to be comforting and satisfying all at the same time! And, whoever gets a chance to eat it, will think that you broke out of the house and snuck down to the local bakery. I won’t tell if you won’t!
Cinnamon Raisin Pecan Artisan Bread
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 3¼ Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1¾ Tsp Coase Kosher Salt
- 1¾ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1½ Cups + 2 Tbsp Warm Water
- ½ Cup Raisins
- ½ Cup Toasted Pecans Coarsely chopped
- Whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon gradually add the water, stir until incorporated.
- Toss in the raisins and pecans. Mix the dough gently and form into a rough ball.
- Transfer to a large clean un-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft free area at room temperature until surface of dough is covered with tiny bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size (this usually takes about 18 hours or so, however it still turns out great with just 12 hours of rising time).
- When the dough is ready, place your dutch oven into a cold oven and turn it on to 450°. Allow it to heat in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, transfer the dough to a large square of parchment paper (big enough to cover the bottom of your dutch oven). Lightly dust the dough with flour, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife, at a 90° angle, score an X in the top of the loaf. Each score mark should be about 3½ inches long and about ¼ inch deep. Using a spray bottle, clean toothbrush or pastry brush, lightly moist (or brush) the top of the bread with water.
- Carefully remove the Dutch Oven from the oven, Place the shaped dough into it, cover and return to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 8-12 minutes or until the top is nice and dark (not burnt).
- Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing to prevent a gummy crumbly mess.
- If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can use the insert of a crock pot (and the lid) or any deep enamelled stoneware you may have (like a round baker or casserole dish), just cover it with foil.