It’s been a busy week around here. For starters the ants are out so as I walk through the house I find myself doing the cha-cha-cha to kill them. Even Henry is getting disgusted with the ants. He found one crawling across the floor and called it to my attention. Though we weren’t looking at each other at the time I soon noticed we were both doing the same thing. Our elbows were bent with palms up and hands waggling as if to say what the heck. Well, I was saying “What the heck” but Henry was saying “Darned it!” That’s his new phrase that he says about a hundred times a day, even when it doesn’t fit the scenario.

This week was also our anniversary and I wanted to surprise the hubby with a recipe for stuffed shells that I saw on the internet. I normally shy away from trying new recipes but I love stuffed shells so after memorizing the ingredients I headed to the grocery store.

 It called for whipped cottage cheese but I went rogue and bought ricotta. Maybe rogue isn’t the word I want. Sane might be better because ricotta is delicious, and cottage cheese goes down hard. Plus whipped cottage cheese is hard to find.

I bought the shredded parmesan and the jumbo noodles, but I did not by the marinara. I prefer a meat sauce so I adlibbed again.

I got home, looked over the list to make sure I was ready to start and “darned it!” I forgot the mozzarella. I headed back to the store.

Then I began my masterpiece in the order it was written. Why they put “boil the shells” in the number three spot I’ll never know because they were still too hot to handle even though my oven had already pre-heated to full temperature.

My filling was more or less ready, though it was looking thick — and skimpy compared to how many shells I had. Was I supposed to have boiled all of the shells? I checked the recipe. Yes. Were the amounts right on the ricotta? “Darned it! No.” I should have bought twice as much but I would have rather punched myself in the face than run to the store again. Did I really need parsley flakes since I didn’t seem to have any? Nah. Garlic cloves? Seriously? Garlic powder is good enough.

I then put this sorry concoction into a bag, cut off the tip and began to stuff the way-too-hot shells. The biggest problem with this, I think, is that I wasn’t born with three hands. The shells did not want to stay open.  I also didn’t have a proper bag so I had used a quart zip-lock bag, which fought me at every turn. I couldn’t get a good squeeze going because of the zip-lock, in fact I had almost as much filling trying to squirt out the edges of the zipper as I did the hole. This is where I needed four hands.

They said the prep time for this meal was 20 minutes. They were full of excrement! Just stuffing the shells took longer than that and my overly heated oven continued to rub that in my face. The shells looked like a five year old had filled them and thank goodness the mozzarella covered that ugly sight.

The only good thing about this recipe was eating the results. It was amazingly delicious. I hope I can replicate it — considering I murdered the ingredients.

Then there is my birthday, just four days after my anniversary — a faux pas that will forever confuse and befuddle the hubby as to which is when. I’ve actually turned it into a game to see what he does.

But this year my birthday was different. For the first time in eight or ten years I didn’t go to my retreat in Old Forge. Therefore I was spoiled rotten. My sisters held a lunch for me the day before, making me feel really special. The next day Trisha and the kids brought me lunch. Jodie popped in. Jeremy called. Friends phoned to sing happy birthday. All day long I received texts, emails and posts from people I rarely see anymore. It was awesome, and it took the sting out of turning 65. 

June will always be my favorite month, but June 2020 was the best!


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