Just A Little Comfort

When I sat down to write the draft for this post, I consulted my memory for screwball things that had amused me lately.

The pickings were slim.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m still incredibly grateful to be living where I do and doing what I love. Despite all the crap going on in the world, most of it hasn’t really stunk up my life too much.

Still, I think we’re all feeling a bit frazzled right about now. We’re in the throes of a huge second wave of COVID, and even though Hubby and I have zero social contact and only go out for groceries every two weeks or so, it’s just one… more… worry… added to all the stresses of daily life.

We could all use a little comfort right about now, so let’s share a few of our favourite things, and maybe we can all feel a bit better. I’ll start, but I’ll warn you up front that I’m a bit of a weirdo. My ‘comfort’ stuff is probably someone else’s ‘are you kidding me?!?’

Houseplants: My Christmas cactuses are putting on a show!

Comfort reads: When I just want to retreat under a (metaphorical) soft fuzzy blanket, I return to the gentler books of my past: James Herriot’s series about a country veterinarian in Yorkshire (first book “If Only They Could Talk”, and Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series (first book “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax”) along with her lesser-known novels “The Clairvoyant Countess” and “Thale’s Folly”.

Funny escapist reads: Sometimes you need a few snickers with your escapism. Katy Munger’s Casey Jones series does it for me (first book “Legwork”.) I almost never read romance because it’s annoyingly predictable; but if I want a laugh-out-loud read with a warm-and-fuzzy ending, Tawna Fenske’s Ponderosa Ranch series (first book “Studmuffin Santa”) is full of raunchy humour, oddball situations, and quirky characters.

Comfort food: I love food of all kinds; but when my defenses are down, my ultimate comfort food is soft-poached eggs on buttered toast.

Decadent dessert: When only something rich and decadent will soothe my soul, it’s time for Hello Dolly bars: Only five ingredients mixed in the pan (no dirty mixing bowls, hooray), and enough sugar and fat to induce a blissful coma:

Hello Dolly Bars (8″x8″ or 9″x9″ pan)

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (300ml / 10 oz)

Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together and press them into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Sprinkle coconut over chocolate chips. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the whole thing. (The other ingredients should be completely covered.) Bake at 350°F until top is bubbly and browned (approximately 30 – 35 minutes). I like it best when it’s room temperature or a bit chilled, but I can never resist a few pieces right after it comes out of the oven!

Comfort music: It’s crazy but true: When I’m feeling fragile, I don’t retreat into meditation soundtracks or classical music. Nope, barbershop harmony is what comforts me the most. It’s not the music of my childhood. It’s not even the music of my parents’ childhood. So maybe I’ve been reincarnated from someone who lived in the late 1800s? Who knows, but here’s a modern sample:

Guaranteed belly laugh: Here are a couple of video clips that always make me laugh helplessly. The first is an ancient one from when BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) was all over the news. I’ve never made it past the 22-second mark without doubling over:

And here’s one that pretty much sums up how I feel about COVID right now:

Whew, I feel better! 🙂

Now it’s your turn! What are your comfort goodies? Make up your own categories, or copy and paste any or all of these into your comment:

  • Comfort reads:
  • Funny / escapist reads:
  • Comfort food:
  • Decadent dessert:
  • Comfort music:
  • Guaranteed belly laugh:

Book 16 update: Another good week of plotting and figuring out everybody’s twisty motivations. I’m on Chapter 24, and Lola and her geriatric CRAPS cronies are on the case!

48 thoughts on “Just A Little Comfort

  1. “Also also wic” JK! Love Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail” and, for funny books check out Terry Pritchett if you haven’t already. Great satire.

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      • Terry Pratchett’s books always make me smile — just a glance at the titles, and I’m grinning! Monty Python makes me laugh, too (although I have to be in the right mood for that kind of craziness). My all-time favourite is the Dead Parrot sketch from “Flying Circus”. By the time he gets to “This is an ex-parrot”, I’m in hysterics!

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  2. Love your comfort books! Didn’t think anyone even knew about those anymore. Although Herriot’s books are published under different names in the U.S. Also, my Hello Dollies include butterscotch chips and pecans ‘cause I’m ‘Murican, and too much is just enough. Try it!

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  3. I had to stop at your Christmas Cactus……we grew up with them in our house, but none of them ever…..and I truly mean ever looked like yours….wow!! it’s Christmas Cactus Forest!!

    Comfort/Escapism reads: waiting for your next one!!
    Comfort Food: Pizza….any kind with as much hot sauce as possible.

    perfect escapism for me: My 1.5 year old grandson running up to me with his arms outstretched yelling “papa”…”papa” and then giving me a bear hug and wanting me to read to him.

    Have a great week!!

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  4. You just always find ways to entertain yourself and find humor and laughs in so many things, Diane! I love it.

    In our van, there aren’t too many choices when it comes to comfort this or that. No time for me to read, so I have to skip that section too. The easiest comfort food I can think of: a grilled cheese sandwich with a dollop of mayonnaise. Plus, there’s always room for music, especially since my husband bought “better mini speakers” last week. Can’t think of any favorites, though.

    But I did think about you during my birthday breakfast yesterday (as I read your post a couple of days before writing this comment)! Because… Mark prepared home made buttered English muffins with softly-poached eggs! 🙂

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    • Oh, yum! It sounds like a perfect birthday breakfast!

      I can imagine how creative you need to be to carve out time and space for comfort from your nomadic living quarters. But as long as there’s grilled cheese, there’s hope! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Now I have to reread the James Herriot books. Within the last six weeks, not only did I read “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax”, but I watched the movie–I think it was on Amazon Prime. I haven’t thought about the Casey Jones series in ages.

    As for romances: give me: Elizabeth Lowell, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick as well as a plethora of lesser known authors. They cover different time periods. I like romances because they are predictable. Like any other book, it’s how the characters get to the end. I’m also notorious for falling asleep while reading…and a happy re-reader . The fifth time through a book frequently results in, “I don’t remember THAT happening!”

    I’m also a huge fan of Louis L’Amour. Tell me how that fits in.

    Belly Laughs: Many of William C Anderson’s books from “Pandemonium on the Potomac” and “Penelope, the Damp Detective” to “Roll up the Wallpaper, We’re Moving” and “How to Survive Hospital Care”

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    • I love funny books! I must check out William C. Anderson’s. I’m a re-reader, too — some types of humour never get old. I even have a couple of Stephen Leacock’s books, published in 1910 and 1911, that still make me laugh. (Especially the parts where he mentions getting a drink in a saloon for five cents. It’s a rueful chuckle, but a chuckle nonetheless.) 😉

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  6. I’ve really enjoyed the answers and of course yours too Diane. Clearly I need to move past the comfort food stage of all things chocolate with a follow up of chips. Food for thought, or perhaps less of it, in the days ahead. I’m going to be laughing at that song all day. Truly COVID appropriate.

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    • I dunno; “all things chocolate” sounds pretty comforting to me! I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and I’m ashamed (okay, not too ashamed) to admit that I ate an entire pan by myself before they even cooled. Hubby did the same. They were small cookies, but still…

      And I’m glad you got a laugh! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ouch! I didn’t get my email reminder to see your latest post! I’ll probably find it buried in my inbox somewhere. Heck, I just got a voice mail left Monday morning about a half hour ago. Server’s been hacked. Yes, that was a thing. (Not a server hack, but a compromised username and general mischief. Happy Monday for me.)

    About the barbershop singing…I grew up around it. My grandfather (and at one point, both uncles) were in the Lakeshore Chorus, one of the chapters in our area back then. So I’ve been to the state competitions, and more notably, each chorus would host a room at a hotel and operate a hospitality suite. It was not uncommon for many to go from room to room and be totally hammered by the end of the night. 😁 We got to know some of the names of the good quartets in the area (like the Four Fits–they all had clever names), who were from a few of the choruses in the area. Still know the lyrics to some of those old tunes!

    Comfort reads:
    Funny / escapist reads:
    Can’t say I read too much these days–mostly biographies, a few novels (including a certain Spy series). I do so much reading online while working that my eyes want to rest.

    Comfort food:
    Warm wintry foods. Beef stroganoff, stir fry, chili, spaghetti and meatballs. I’m simple. And anything Mexican. Homemade pulled pork enchiladas are popular here.

    Decadent dessert:
    Bread pudding…namely, one from a restaurant called Kruse & Muer. And they don’t offer it anymore.

    Comfort music:
    Generally jazz, Bossa Nova, instrumental, Latin jazz, salsa…my playlist for cooler months. Not enough room to list them all! Also don’t mind some Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Debussy or Bartok. (I have Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra playing right now– Chicago Symphony, Fritz Reiner cond., from the mid 50s. RCA Red Seal.) Sorry, that’s my record collecting side coming out. (Although I play digital just as much.)

    Guaranteed belly laugh:
    “Francois? Call the doctor. Then help be find my nose!” (Any of the first four Pink Panther films, including Shot In The Dark.) Much needed in these times…

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    • Yes indeed, the Pink Panther may be just what the doctor ordered! It’s Friday Pub Night, which simply means Hubby and I break out the deep-fryer and have french fries and chicken wings in our kitchen, along with our beverage of choice. A Pink Panther movie would top the evening off nicely.

      Mmm, all your comfort food sounds delish! I love beef stroganoff. And Mexican. And… oh, hell, who am I kidding? I love it all! I want it ALL!!! (With bread pudding for dessert.)

      I envy your rounds at the barbershop harmony competitions — what a blast that would be! If the world ever gets back to normal, attending one of those is on my bucket list. I’ll be going alone, though — Hubby would rather stuff beans in his ears than listen to a barbershop quartet.

      I hope your computer woes subside soon!

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  8. I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s answers to these questions. So here are mine:
    Comfort read: right now it’s the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, but it could change next week😉
    Funny/escapist read: Noble Intentions by Katie Macalister. A “regency romance”. Don’t normally read romance but it’s got some great one-liners that get me every time and it has a ghost, and ghost stories are my favorite.
    Comfort food: roasted garlic butternut bisque soup. Yum. Chips are another but, like you I can’t have them in the house.
    Dessert: ice cream is my go to but for comfort I want soft warm chocolate chip cookies.
    Comfort music: my dad use to have a “reel to reel” tape player when I was a kid. He woke us up with it every Saturday morning. It started with the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey “ and “Ride of the Valkyries” (?) and ended somewhere around “American Pie” and “Hot Blooded”, with almost all genres in between. Any one of the songs on those tapes bring me comfort.
    Comfort movie: Sense and Sensibility. I know it’s a romance but my mom and I like to do a simultaneous viewing while we drink tea, because…Alan Rickman, lmao. Also any of the Harry Potter movies😂. But my favorite movie is The Changeling with George C Scott. It’s a ghost story and I can’t resist a good one.
    Guaranteed belly laugh: the “Smart Beep” double date commercial. Lmao!
    Good grief this is long. Have a great day!

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    • Uh-oh. More additions to my book wish list! I read the Kindle preview and got totally hooked on Nalini Singh. This blog post has ended up costing me quite a bit of (well-spent) money. 😉

      I could get onboard with your comfort foods, too. I love fresh chocolate chip cookies! In our house, minutes after the first batch comes out of the oven Hubby and I are standing beside the cooling rack with glasses of milk, snarfing down warm cookies. I don’t even want to admit how many get demolished. If any cookies stay around long enough to get cool we can leave them alone, but that first feeding frenzy is always ugly.

      I had to go and look up the “Smart Beep” commercial – BAHAHAHA!!! Talk about getting a blind date off to a “rousing” start! And I love your Dad’s eclectic soundtrack — clearly he had good taste.

      You have a great day, too!

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  9. Comfort activity: killing ogres, trolls, goblins, etc. After years of not being able to play, I found an on-line Dungeons and Dragons campaign. I look forward to playing all week, and after we’re done I’m in a good mood for days.

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    • Online D&D? Wow, that’s a blast from the past! We used to play a lot (with the old-school dice, etc.), and I’m not sure which I enjoyed more: The all-day game play, or the junk-food-fest that accompanied it. Ah, the good old days when I could eat whatever (and as much as) I wanted…

      Happy ogre/troll/goblin-slaughtering!

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  10. Comfort food: lasagna
    Comfort read: Outlander or any of Diana Gabaldon’s books
    Comfort desert: butterscotch pie made using my grandmother’s recipe
    Comfort music: classic rock
    Guaranteed belly laugh: watching MST3K movies with my son

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    • I had to look up MST3K — very bizarre. Those types of screwball comedy are always fun to share with someone else!

      And I wish I’d made lasagna and butterscotch pie for dinner tonight — YUM! (Instead, I forgot to thaw the roast I meant to cook. Oops. Gonna be another last-minute barbeque night…) 😉

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  11. Oh my goodness – that last clip of the music teacher was so funny! And while I’m not a big fan of barbershop music, I had to admire the second guy from left in the video – he sang with his WHOLE ENTIRE FACE!

    Your Christmas cactuses are just beautiful. You have the magic touch both outdoors and indoors. All I have are outdoor plants that I bring indoors in the fall to try to overwinter, which may or may not survive due to me forgetting to water them. I used to blame all my plant problems on one cat we had who would eat anything in a pot, including fake flowers, but when he went to live with our son, I realized the problem was me …

    My comfort food is Ruffles’ regular ripple chips, and none of that “low-salt” crap, please. Comfort reads at the moment are Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. I’m not usually a fan of the genre, but that’s what’s been getting me through the last few months of my husband’s illness. I’ve gone through about half of his two-dozen-plus books and am relieved there are still a good number I haven’t read yet. They’re engrossing and the bad guy always gets exactly what’s coming to him, so they’ve helped with the angst of watching the political scene in the US too. Sweets, music, and film don’t appeal to me very much, although I wouldn’t say no to a bag of butterscotch chips (you know, like chocolate chips) and I do like YouTube footage from The Pink Panther movies from time to time.

    I enjoyed reading about your favourites and the comments too – great idea for a distraction from everything that’s going on … and on … and on …

    Stay safe and as happy as possible, Diane 🙂

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    • I’m laughing at your comment about his WHOLE ENTIRE FACE! It’s so true, and so cute. 🙂

      Mmm, potato chips. I can’t have them in the house… for more than five minutes. I can manage to walk past them in the grocery store but once they’re in my home, I can’t stop eating them. They’re not so much my comfort food as they are the addiction-monkey on my back.

      The Pink Panther! There’s a movie I haven’t seen in ages. Also one of my favourites for silly humour — I must watch it again one of these days.

      I’d never thought of Jack Reacher as a comfort-read, but I guess you’re right about the meting out of justice. We find comfort where we can.

      Wishing you the same: As safe and happy as possible.

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  12. I LOVE the Mrs Pollifax series – and reread at least some of them most years. I will try and track down the other books of hers you mentioned. I am also a fan of Miss Read’s Fairacre series.
    I love your Christmas Cactus. Ours are going gangbusters at the moment (outside). I may feature them in a Sunday Selections post.
    I find comfort in rather a lot of food. Which shows.

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    • There’s something deeply comforting about a lot of food. Some of my most contented times have been while I was cradling my slightly-overfull belly. Ahhh.

      I just checked out ‘Village School’, the first book in Miss Read’s Fairacres series. I’m hooked after reading the first couple of chapters! Yet another addition to my “to buy, to read” list: So many books, so little budget…

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  13. Comfort reads: Old westerns by Ernie Haycox I have read dozens of times
    Comfort food: homemade smoking hot chili
    Decadent dessert: not really a thing in Ukraine
    Comfort music: depends on the mood. Usually Bluegrass or other Hurtin’ music, sometimes classical
    Guaranteed belly laugh: any good pun group on FB. I swallowed a bunch of duck feathers and am still feeling down in the dumps

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Comfort food: Potato soup, crackers
    Comfort read: Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday (the sequel to C. Row)
    Comfort viewing: Cary Grant movies
    Comfort dessert: Nope. Swore off.
    Comfort music: Instrumental jazz
    Belly laugh: Not much this year. Worst ever. Too many disasters to list, and don’t need the reminders anyway. But soon, maybe. And no, I won’t explain. 🙂

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    • Swore off desserts. Wow. You’re amazing. I’ve sworn off desserts, for, oh… hours at a time. Once, a whole entire day. All in all, it wasn’t worth it.

      I’m sorry you haven’t had your quota of belly laughs this year — that sucks. Here’s hoping things get funnier soon. But in the meantime, at least there’s Cary Grant. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • When you’re diabetic, it’s a lot easier to quit taking poison every day. I was the youngest kid in a huge and old family. All my aunts and uncles were way older than my parents, and diabetes was common. And poorly handled. Lots of serious consequences there so I had a lot of good incentive to do better. My A1C is either 5.9 or 6.0, if you know what that means. I take only one light injection of Trulicity a week. The rest is diet. Along with as little overt stoopid as I can manage. It’s a crummy way to look at it, but it’s been a crummy year. Regardless, my numbers show I’m barely borderline instead of mainlining insulin like all my old kinfolk did.

        And yes, there’s always Cary. In my book, he was THE MAN. 👍

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        • Diabetes, oh, ouch. I can see where you’d be HIGHLY motivated to “be good”. That disease has a truly nasty range of complications. One of my aunts had diabetes with really unstable blood sugar, and she was the most disciplined eater I’ve ever met — her whole life was a careful balancing act. Hooray for you for taking care of yourself!

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Comfort food: Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich
    Comfort read: Power tool manuals
    Comfort viewing: YouTube videos of people using power tools
    Comfort desert: pop corn
    Comfort music: Sea Shanties – anything dating to the golden age of sail: 1810 to 1880.
    Guaranteed belly laugh: The sitcom, “Yes, Minister” on Britbox.

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    • Your comfort goodies would work for me, too! Tomato soup and grilled cheese is one of my favourites, and I still appreciate you introducing us all to sea shanties on your blog — another comforting musical form from the 1800s. Hmmm, what does that say about us?

      Liked by 1 person

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