Salted Caramel & Chocolate Milanos: A Review

caramelmilano-01I have now eaten 2 cookies and feel fully qualified to give my naturally biased review.

I’m a bit disappointed.

I’m going to finish the bag.  Obviously.  I’m not disgusted and they ARE Milano, which I maintain are the pinnacle of pre-packaged manufactured cookies.  I think they have no real competition.

However, the current “salted caramel” tastes like a desperate and recently jilted sorority girl.  They are trying to be like anyone who is popular and hiding what is classically wonderful about themselves.

Milano doesn’t need to dip into every fad.  They are timeless and classic.  They need only introduce themselves to each succeeding generation.  They can stand on the recipe and live forever.

They should be above the sort of body shot trampiness that comes from the Oreos side of the aisle.  NOT that I don’t love me some trampy Oreos.  Lets face it.  Tramps are fun.  But if your natural way is not being a tramp, don’t try it.  You cannot compete with double stuffed tramp camp that Oreos works with such genuineness.

Milanos are Genteel Ladies of Easy Virtue and Convenience.  They really don’t know how to work a bar of men for free drinks and possible bathroom sex.  And their attempts at that kind of flash with silly things like “Salted Caramel” don’t always come off.  Better to avoid the embarrassment.

Obviously being genteel is not as much fun a doing flaming body shots with wild bunch of bikers, but not everyone is an Oreo.  And if you’re not, you look like an idiot trying to be.

However, to save them any feelings of awkwardness, I will, of course, finish the bag.  I don’t like to make them feel bad.


Breaking patterns.

I just watched this rather lovely video on how the ancient chinese philosophers considered rituals a way to break the mindless habits/patterns that we have burned into our life.

I have recently become very aware of how the breaking of patterns shifts my mental energy. I unexpectedly had to change my desk at work. Moving the desk meant all of my mindless work patterns had to change. And that meant that I was constantly being brought into the current moment to act on a tiny thing because my normal thoughtless reach and grab habit was not working. The thing I was reaching for was somewhere else.

On the one hand it’s annoying, but I found that I was also more… energetic, more aware of my space and my co-workers. It made the job less rote because the pattern of small actions was drastically changed. I think this idea of having a break in patterns is important to keeping me focused and positively engaged in my life, rather than wandering and reacting.

Do things up differently.  Be in a different space.  Use different utensils.  Eat different things.  It makes me more mindful.  And since the days of sunshine in my life are limited, I need to find ways to be more aware of them.  More deeply engaged in them, rather than drifting aimlessly and thoughtlessly through them.

The problem with the “do it differently” thing is that habits, ingrained deeply in my life,  are the thing that drag me through the dark abyss.  When I’m in abyss, the stillness of my life is profound.  I don’t do things no matter how much I think about doing it.  So I make habits that will push me through once I take the first step.  And most days I can manage a first step.  Some days I can’t but most days…

And so I need to make sure that while I break up patterns, that I don’t break the good patterns, those habits that keep me tethered to living a reasonable life. Because there be dragons beyond some these patterns.

Francisco Garces – La Furia Helada



The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

That’s what its called.  A book by Marie Kondo about how to implode my very fragile mental stability.  I say this from just reading the table of contents.

She appears to endorse

  • A tidying marathon:  Designed to kill me or send me to the darkest deepest parts of the Abyss of Stillness.  But I realize not everyone is working under the duress of Depression.  So Maybe for some people.
  • Says tidying a bit each day means you tidy forever:  Yeah but – you tidy forever either way, right?  Unless she has found a way around entropy?  💩
  • Storage Experts are Hoarders:  Uhm. Well, I’m NOT an expert.  So.  That shut her up.
  • What you don’t need, your family doesn’t need either:  Wow.  I’m single and I can see all kinds of things wrong with that statement.  Narcissistic Cleaning – I didn’t even know it was a thing. 💩
  • Sorting papers – Rule of thumb – Discard Everything.  – As the girl who recently paid $50 for 2 copies of her birth certificate, a piece of paper she definitely had 3 years ago before she was homeless and much of her life was thrown away – I cannot endorse this philosophy.  💩
  • Small change: Make ‘into my wallet’ your motto:  I don’t have a wallet. But coins are easy to pitch into a Coinstar. It’s costly but ultimately less costly than not spending them at all.   Which I don’t.
  • Make tidying a special event, not a daily chore:  That’s crazy pants.  Does she know the conditions that people (OK, I’m talking about me) will allow themselves to live in. This is NOT a good plan. 💩
    Also – and I don’t like to heap on the criticism – but cleaning is not a Holiday like event for me.  I mean who thinks it is?  Unless she meant it like a “Very Special Episode of Blossom”  But we all know those were Tearfests.

I’m sure she means well, but I think she is basically just playing into the hands of people whose lives are out of control and want someone to tell them its OK to live out of control as long as once in awhile you have a Very Special Blossom Episode of Cleaning.

This is the delusion that people who let their homes escalate into chaos live in already.  I know.  I have lived that delusion in my twenties.  Its a bad and horrible drowning feeling.  And depression just plays right into that madness.

In fairness to her, there are several chapters that I think probably offer advice I could use.

  • Clothing Storage: Fold it right and solve your storage problems: I have always suspected this is true.
  • How to fold:  I’m seriously contemplating buying the book just to read this chapter. 💰
  • Keep things because you love them, not just because. Sounds suspicious but I’m willing to listen.
  • Designate a place for everything.  This is already a mantra in my life.  I cannot stand having things without a home, even if its not in the home, it should have one.
  • Discard First, Store Later.  At first glance illogical but I think shes not talking about the same item, but the process as a whole.
  • How to identify what is truly precious.  This is what was driving me batty me all day. So maybe I would buy it for this.  But if she is so loco on fundamentals, can I trust her on this?  I think… NOT.

Anyway, I’m afraid I can’t recommend this book, I haven’t read.  Giving it a 2 star rating based on no more than the table of contents.

Take the review at your own risk.

Have A Plan

I cannot tell you how deeply I think this is true.  It is advice I spew at the children who work in my office all the time.  Don’t just think of the goal.

Think about the plan.  The steps.

I also cannot tell you how often I fail at this very very good advice.

Today was one of those days.  I had a plan for the Pantry.  What would would happen in what order.

I didn’t have a plan for the chaos that now exists and so every time my timer goes off I just sort of faff about without accomplishing much.  For example I just threw a bunch of dusty tupperware into soapy water.  I want to use it for the all the pasta I have accumulated but which is all in different sizes boxes and it looks crappy and it’s harder to store efficiently.

This is actually NOT addressing chaos.  This is fine tuning the already done Pantry.  I’m doing this because I don’t have a step by step on dealing with the chaos, so I’m not doing it.

Admitting it is the first step – so, there.  It’s done.  Admitted.

Now we must create a plan.  What will happen everytime the timer goes off.  Small 5 minute tasks that can get done every 20 minutes or so.  If you are looking at cleaning out a closet or corner or room, I suggest this method.  I do it for everything in my life, but for normal adjusted people it helps with overwhelming projects.  You don’t exhaust yourself, you don’t overwhelm yourself with one task.  All of it is doable.  And usually transferable.  If you don’t get it all done today, the list of tasks remains and can be continued one at a time later.

In my case, there is no reason not get it all done today.  It’s not that big a problem.  Even without labels.  Which I think we all realize is the real barrier to finishing this project.

I’m running a deeply important poll.

You should participate.

Its on Twitter, that’s how you know it really matters.

Also, it’s about Labels.  These are important questions at important times in my life.

Also, I may need to buy labels in order to continue organizing my closets.

Also, for full disclosure purposes I must tell you, I may be using polls and blog posts as a way to defer ACTUALLY doing the reorg of the closet.  It’s possible.  Hard data on that point has not been fully tabulated.

Friends, I fear I may have misled you.

Yesterday, I was all about how organized I was being.  This may have led you to think that I FINISHED the project at hand.

But it turns out, upon waking up this morning, I have not.

I know, this came as a shock to me as well.  I was rather hoping that some kind of nanorobotic maid service would arrive and finish up the mess that represents the rest of my apartment.  But I guess I didn’t pay for that service because it’s still a mess here at Casa Sara.

But that Pantry though.  That is a work of art.  (although it is Labelless, so it’s probably not a masterpiece.)

I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that I am going to have to reorg my Living Room closet, where I keep all the cleaning supplies and emergency whatnots and whosits.

This really does call for some super extra value added will power, because I really don’t want to. I just want the apartment to look nice.

But the apartment is now filled with detritus from the Pantry and it needs to be put away.  In the Living Room Closet, which is filled to its capacity with stuff.  Much of which, I cannot tell you what it is.

Do you have a closet where you have stuff but you aren’t actually SURE what the stuff is?  Or is that just me?

Please tell me I’m not the only closet hoarder.  I pretend I don’t hoard because normally my living space is nicely sparse.  But the closets… That is another story.

Trump, we made him

I was listening to a podcast yesterday about a man with autism who is in prison for life.  I was lamenting how terrible it is that he is in hell for the rest of his life, when the direction of my mind was changed. Said man is a racist Trump supporter. He literally said we need a bully in the whitehouse.

Here’s the thing. No matter who you are, you don’t deserve the life conditions we subject maximum security prisoners to. Our prisons are the clearest a reflection of us as a brutal society than almost anything else.  And yet… once I knew this man was a Trump supporter, I stopped being able to feel much sympathy for his plight.

Trump is the personification of a society that is drawn to extremes and wants the world to be dualistic. Them and Us. When I was younger, I generally had a preference for one candidate over another, but the idea of the other guy winning didn’t really bother me.

But these days we have pushed ourselves into corners and Trump takes full advantage of the boxing ring mentality with all of his ridiculous blathering, making sure everyone finds their corner and fights it out.

He is a product of us, all of us. Even those of us who think he is a diarrhea stain on the planet’s backside. Because we want to feel that there is a THEM. And that means that there should be no way to sympathize with THEM. No middle ground, no way they are like US. And Trump plays into that American Mentality quite well.

He is running a reality show not an election.  He’s working people’s greed and hate and fear so that he can be the last one standing.  I hope there is still enough sanity in America to flick him out onto the side of the road like a used cigarette butt, but I’m not going to stop worrying about it until he’s part of the litter in the gutter.

Have you ever forgotten to wear your bra?

I did.  Well sort of.  I realized as soon as I was outside.  Apparently my brain has some association with the outdoors that includes breast support?

I stood at the top of the steps and contemplated my options.  My hands were full of trashbags from cleaning out of the pantry and going back through two locked doors with those bags seemed hard.

And then I realized.  I’m the only one who really cares.  And I just won’t.  So I kept walking.  And when I was driving to Kroger I was wondering whether I could ACTUALLY do it.  Go into Kroger with the girls unleashed.

I got gas and spent the whole time feeling like I was naked.

I parked the car, sat in the car, then reversed the car out of the parking space and went home. I couldn’t face Kroger with my boobs undocked.

It’s hard to say how much my natural antipathy for Kroger played into that, but it’s definite that my brain was screaming at me that I was naked.

It’s amazing that these free blowing breasts that I am so unaware of when I’m at home could become so all encompassing in my mind when I’m not at home.   Our brains are a blizzard of irrational associations and urges.  Today, despite fitting all the criteria for legal decency I felt like a naked school girl on test day.

Dilemmas in Organizing

You know what the problem is with cleaning a pantry or closet?  The resulting closet and/or Pantry looks MARVELOUS.  The rest of the residence, not so much.

Because there are things that don’t really belong in the Pantry but lived there for reasons unknown, and it would be CRAZY PANTS to return them there… After all, that was the reason for the reorg.

But now, I need to find homes for them.  In other closets.  But those closets could use a good rubbish clearing and organizing…and so just jamming in these new items seems sort of wrong when clearly I am just going to need to pull it out again…


Basically, I have just rearranged the mess and spread it about the place a bit.  I could reconsolidate the mess into a different closet but that does take the shine off the accomplishment of my pretty pantry.

You know what would fix this?  A label maker.

Trust me.  Labels would just make all of it work.

No, I’m not deflecting.  SHUT UP with your damn logic.

Labels are super important parts of the organizing process and I don’t have ANY!  All the articles and the youtube videos endorse the labels as the key to making your life organized.

And if they were CUTE labels that would of course make it nirvana.  But I’m willing to compromise on that since Cute almost always means Money and I’m cheaper than I am organized.