Friday, January 16, 2009

Noble Cow Sentinel, Bravely Watching Over Us All

Pin It The big news around here apparently has nothing to do with the NieNie book. It's the cow header. I've gotten at least fifteen emails about it, all, "SUE. WE MUST TALK ABOUT THE COW."

Poor cow. She's just doing her job, guarding the top of the blog for a couple of days while I fix up the old blogstead. (I'm working with a blog designer now, you know. I'm FANCY.)

But I do not want to talk about the cow. I want to talk about myself. (SURPRISING)

Tonight I was watching my DVRd Top Chef. I really shouldn't be allowed to watch that show, because it makes me think I can cook. I get all inspired to step away from the pasta - to shake things up a little and try something new.

Yeah. This is never a good idea.

(I occasionally get out my Betty Crocker red plaid cookbook and try to find an interesting new recipe, but half of them use words I don't understand like "seed" and "cumin" and "poach." Which all sound vaguely pornographic, if you ask me. Bow- chika-bow-wow.)

Anyway, I pulled out the cookbook and found something it said would take only 35 minutes to bake. Unfortunately, I interpreted this as - it would only take 35 minutes to MAKE. Basically it was a casserole with chicken and noodles and sauce and bread crumbs and assorted things. (Yes, it WAS as gross as it sounds, thank you for asking.)

It took more than 35 minutes. Much more. It probably would've taken less time if I would've just stopped and read the recipe and thought about it for three consecutive seconds.

Instead I ran around like a frightened monkey, "Boil a chicken! Boil a chicken!" I had no idea how long I should boil a chicken for, so I fried it instead. Then I made the sauce. Then I realized I was supposed to cook the noodles first so I put the sauce away and made the noodles. Then I took the sauce back out and finished making it. Then I realized I had the wrong kind of bread crumbs. Then, then, then, then.

By the time it was finished, my children were committing acts of violence against the refrigerator. (They don't really like it when I cook.)

I have a blogging friend who says it frustrates her when people say they can't cook, because really, how hard is it to just FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS?!

I'm here to say it's VERY VERY HARD.

THE END.

77 comments:

  1. Hi from an international lurker,

    Just wanted to let you know that I love it when you post late, as I get my working day off to a great start!

    Wonderful post, thanks for the laughs

    E from Paris

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  2. I came to leave some sort of funny comment but it was blown from my mind by the sheer coolness of E who is from PARIS.

    "Acts of violence" made me laugh out loud, though.

    Go, NieNie!

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  3. Will be buying Nie Nie book, thank you.

    I'm right there with you with the cooking thing. My husband loves to cook. I'm just not that into it. He is always trying to make me learn how to do new things ... but I'm busy thinking about myself, or something funny the dogs did, and so even though he gives great directions ... I can't remember them the next day. I think that cooking is a bore!

    As for the cow. It's beautiful. What a guard! Go cow GO!

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  4. I clicked over from google reader just to see the cow and I must say, I'm not disappointed. I like the cow. And since I was here anyway, I thought I'd tell you that.

    Also you are a funny lady. But you knew that. Just fry some onions in butter. Smells fantastic, and everyone will think you're cooking something great. Then you can serve them McDonalds, and they'll still be happy.

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  5. Hmmm. Nothing wrong with having a cow on your blog ;)

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  6. I like the Cow. I want a cow.

    Step away from the kitchen and pick up the phone. Take out is the only way to go!

    Go NieNie!!

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  7. I love the cow. I say keep her.

    In my book you are a hero for even being willing to take on a meal that would have taken 35 minutes to prepare. That's about 25 more than my limit. I hate to cook. I know I'm the mom and I'm supposed to like being domestic, but I don't. I don't like cooking.

    I do like eating. Does that count for anything?

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  8. Oh Sue, I love it when you exibit lameness I can relate to (I mean that in the kindest way of course). I'm infamous for following directions in my own way (read: with the ingredients I have on hand and step substitutions more related to my own skill set) so I completely understand what you are talking about! My sister has hundreds of cookbooks and emails me "easy" recipes almost everyday and she is completely exasperated with my ineptness. I may have received a few special gifts in the pre-existence, but cooking prowess was not one of them. If I'm ever in Utah, let's you and I GO OUT to lunch.

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  9. Aaaaah, I understand completely.

    Last week the red and black cookbook beckoned to me. I made (and I use the term loosely)brownies from scratch. Why I wanted to do this, I don't know. Just let me say that I really think they should tell you just exactly HOW you are supposed to melt the chocolate!!

    My kids ended up covering them in Hershey's syrup just to get them down. I knew I never should've cheated on Duncan Hines!

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  10. Someday I would like to have a cooking show. I would appear before the audience in a real kitchen, one with crap all over the refrigerator door, and candy canes on the counter because we're saving them for hot cocoa, and a bowl full of almond shells because a certain family member was too darn lazy to throw them out as she ate the almonds. I would demonstrate recipes that require no more than 2 steps, max. And the whole world could watch how my stove smokes every time I turn it on because I don't get around to cleaning the burners.

    Excuse me, I think I have a post to write.

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  11. Oh, and like Barb, I am impressed by the Paris commenter. Did you make that one up?

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  12. I am so impressed with what I've witnessed in the last months. I was brand new to blogging when NieNie and her husband, through their terrible accident, inspired this amazing movement.

    Being so new, I stood back and watched, not knowing even the "how" of how to begin. What you and other bloggers have done is nothing short of miraculous. Many "strangers" reaching out to help.

    It is astounding.

    Thank you.

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  13. For Christmas my MIL gave me a book called How to Cook Everything - this thing is 4 inches thick. I opened it and said, "has husband been complaining again?" She looked stricken and said, "no...uh, it was on your amazon wish list."

    I really need to sit down and read that book. Not cook from it, just read it. Because I heard there is a correct way to slice an onion but haven't been able to find one person to explain it to me.

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  14. Love the cow! I wish I had one so I could be as cool as you.

    Yay for NieNie! Buying my copy as soon as I get paid.

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  15. Mooooo!
    Remember, Kneaders is only a phone call away!!

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  16. I'll never think of dear Betty the same. I never knew she was so... suggestive.

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  17. Maybe you should hang out with your little sister more. I understand she is a GREAT cook (don't ask me how, because the mom is definitely not, being a specialist in chocolate treat and liver and onions only).

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  18. I thought maybe is was some sort of announcment that you had decided you were going to convert to Hinduism. That would have been awesome.

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  19. I like the cow too. Go NieNie!

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  20. Look at it this way sue: Some of us were born to be funny, witty writers (you)...some of us were not (me). Some of us were born to be great cooks (me)...some of us were not (you). It evens out, no?

    I'll swap with you...you can post funny, witty stories on my blog & I'll cook for you. Deal?

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  21. I hate to cook. I love food. Not a good combination. I hate people who think cooking's just so easy. Makes me want to lob the red plaid cookbook at their head.

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  22. Bravo makes me do weird things too. I bought a sewing machine after Project Runway. A sewing machine! Me! Ha!

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  23. Personally, I like the protective cow. I stare at mine daily.

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  24. No wonder you were up until 2 AM. It would have taken me at least that long to recover.

    I think the cow is probably better than a $7 image of bunnies, reproduced as often as . . . bunnies.

    Are you going to drop the part about the stupid dog from your tagline when you finish the renovations?

    I loved the title of this post, and also the first part of it, and the middle part, and the end. And I was glad I didn't have to eat the casserole.

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  25. Wow. A technical writer who has a hard time following directions.

    That worries me a little.

    Love Top Chef. Why is Leah still there? Does she do anything?

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  26. Whenever I look at the recipe and see how long they say it takes to make it, I always times that by 4. It's just more realistic that way.
    I love Suburban Correspondent's idea for a cooking show. I would watch that.

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  27. i do love a good cow. it's the farm girl in me.

    i still can't express my depression that i'm not in the nie book. dang new baby for taking up all of my time!

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  28. Pornographic cooking directions?

    *Snicker, snicker, snort*

    You're hilarious, Sue.

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  29. Nice cow. Very pioneer-ish.

    I must say my red plaid cookbook has its cookie and candy sections splattered from top to bottom. I can cook if it's sweet. I'm OK if it's regular food. Not great, just OK.

    But, uh, Sue...frying a chicken is much harder than boiling it. You put a chicken in a pot (two if you are feeling wealthy) and cover it (them) with water. Boil until it's not raw any more. Done!

    Frying? Ya gotta cut the chicken up and dredge it in crud and get the oil the right tempurature. And even then it requires that you stand there the whole time. And even then you can have burnt outside and raw inside SO easily. [My first attempt involved frying in butter (because I like butter better). Did ya know butter burns, really easily. Yum.]

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  30. Oh, and I'm no cooking guru (I think I could cook, but I've never tried it,) but I do think you should ditch Betty Crocker and go for something that will get you more 21st-Century results.

    (Also, if you haven't already, you should get your hands on a copy of this book and also this book, which will totally make you feel good about your cooking. (There are things like sausage Jell-os and lots of other exciting dishes featured therein.)

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  31. Yeah. I'm a better cook than you. You know what a slam that is? Ask my sister. Plaid cook book=home to me; my mom always used it, and I have it, too. And I used to use it. Really. you have to be zen about these things (read: breathe, and then think. Breathe and then think. Breathe and then think.) Boiling is actually EASIER than frying, and unless you turn the big pot over on yourself (harder than turning a frying pan over on yourself), less dangerous.

    Hey!! E in Paris!! 'Ello!! Comment ca va?

    I like cows. Don't let them into the kitchen.

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  32. See, but I didn't know how long to boil it for, and I was afraid that if I didn't cook it long enough, and we ate it, we'd all get gangrene.

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  33. I'm like that with Betty Crocker books...there isn't enough pictures and detailed directions! I feel ya!

    So I find the books with a picture for each step...The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a good site for reference...that way I can look at the picture and give up after the first few directions because my food looks NOTHING like what hers does!

    Anyway...I buy into a magazine called Quick Cooking or Simply Delicious as it is now called...all of their ingredients I can buy at Walmart...WORKS FOR ME! :)

    The cow is very serene! :)

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  34. You don't think PETA will come after you with the whole cow thing, do you? Because is she getting paid for sentinel duty? If not, that's just cruel and unusual punishment and PETA will be all up in your grill!

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  35. If it has more than 4 ingredients and takes more than 15 minutes, forget it. I've started posting recipes that are quick and easy cuz I KNOW there are others like me out there who hate the kitchen.

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  36. I'm a fan of the cow. Then again, the M in my name is for MOO.

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  37. There's a NieNie book? I had no idea. I've been stuck on the cow.

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  38. I have that exact same cookbook! I only consult it about how to cook hardboiled eggs because I can NEVER keep those steps straight. Do I boil it for 18 seconds and dump them in sink? Or do I heat them below boiling and stick them in the fridge? OH MY GOSH WHAT DO I DO?? Eggs confuse me.

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  39. We even cook the same.

    Again with the freakiness.

    I've learned to start reading recipes about two months in advance of when I think I might like to attempt them.

    And plan for them not to be edible until the third try.

    Recipes seem devoid of common sense. They assume too much, if you ask me.

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  40. I miss having a tv because it means I can't watch, "Top Chef."

    I've discovered over the years is that cooking isn't as easy as following the directions because the people who write the directions forget how unnatural cooking is to some people. For example, many bread recipes required "3 to 4 1/2 cups flour" and to "knead for 10 minutes," when really how much flour and the kneading process are much more a sense of feel than anything. Alas, that sense cannot be transmitted in words and can only come through trial, error, and experience.

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  41. Other than being jealous of not being able to watch Top Chef (who decides which channels are included in each package?), I am the same way with cookbooks. I bought a Rachel Ray cookbook and it's so hard to even imagine making these things. However, when I watch her show, I'm like "That's so easy!" I guess I'm a visual learner, which is why I will probably buy The Pioneer Woman's cookbook when it comes out. :)

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  42. Oh Sue, honey, that would be salmonella not gangrene from undercooked chicken.

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  43. Haha, some cookbooks need directions to go with them to decipher the recipe instructions.

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  44. Oh I think there are ways to get gangrene from undercooked chicken. It's a little harder, but Sue's pretty creative.

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  45. Heh. (That was a joke.) (Or else a highly blonde moment. I will let you decide.)

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  46. I only learned last year that "cumin" can also be pronounced as KOO-min, which makes cooking with friends a little less embarrassing.

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  47. I'll never look at cooking the same way ever again! I was starting to think about cooking dinner, but someone mentioned Kneaders...gotta get me some of that!

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  48. That's just how I feel anytime I try to garden. The directions are always way too vague-sounding to me, which is why I stay indoors and read.

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  49. The chicken should fall off the bone when you poke it with a fork. Ideally it will also have stopped clucking.

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  50. I've finally gotten better at cooking by sending my teenage daughter into the kitchen while I watch HGTV from my recliner. I've noticed the meals have gotten much better since I've taken on a managerial approach.

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  51. I'm just have all kinds of laughs reading your blog.

    I am simply delighted I found it.

    I'm not just lol. NO ma'am!

    GUFFAWING!

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  52. I too am guffawing out loud! GOL:)
    I recently threw all my cookbooks away and now I log onto allrecipes.com and type in what I want, like 'chicken', and scroll through until I find a recipe that takes 10 minutes and has 3 ingredients and 5 "stars". I still can't cook, but it takes much less time for me to find out each day.

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  53. Hey, this is why we had toasted cheese sandwhiches for dinner. And can I say, the cow IS amusing but I'm glad it's not permanent. Phew!

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  54. We had leftovers. And it is our wedding anniversary. That sounds pathetic, but he was travelling today and we were both too tired to get dressed to go out for supper. Wait, that is pathetic. Not much 'Bow-chika-bow-wow' going on either...

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  55. My first time here at the ol' Cow Blog. Love it. You're a riot.

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  56. Thanks for the giggle. I am one of those who actually *gasp* likes to cook and am fairly good at it. So I have to admit I've been like your friend and wondered how hard it is to follow a recipe. Now I feel enlightened. Ohmmmmmmmmmmm ... (that's me, being enlightened and meditating)

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  57. We have cows right down the street from our house, which is actually odd because we don't live in the type of area where there should be cows..., but everytime we drive by we roll down the windows and moo really loud.

    One of the cows by my house looks like the cow in your blog header, but I do not moo for fear that my husband will think I have truly lost my mind.

    That is all!

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  58. I like the cow. Bright green grass is very warm!

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  59. I like the cow.
    I think those times given in recipes are some strange math thing. Like maybe the square root. Just an idea.

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  60. I think the cow is gazing at his navel. So it works for me.

    And I'm going to echo planetnomad's comment and expound a little. Back in the early 90s, when I was getting married, our children's pastor (a grandmotherly woman) gave me the following advice: "If you're ever home alone all day and you realize you've not even thought about dinner, just throw a big pot of water on the stove to boil and throw in a chopped onion. It will make the house smell like you're making something wonderful for dinner. Then, just meet your husband at the door wearing no clothes, and he'll never care to go investigate the specifics."

    I laughed until I cried. Such was my horror and my humor.

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  61. I so feel your pain! I can't follow directions either. When I do get the urge to cook, I always mess up. Why? I always have to add a little extra sompun. You know kick it up a notch BAM!

    Maybe if I just followed directions... now that's a thought!

    www.icrafty.com

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  62. You have the Red Betty Crocker Plaid book too ------your'e not old enough. Unless they revised it. I will vouch for you (no I said vouch, not poach) Cooking is hard and a thankless job. Messing up the kitchen, all that work and stress, sit for 5 min. and eat it up, glub, glub, --they walk away from the table and there you sit with your Frickasied (sp) goose and marinated lamb balls ---and they just walk away. From now on, call out for Chinese --put in your order for my favorite "some young guy".

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  63. I love "running around like a frightened monkey."

    My husband loves to cook and it's this huge creative outlet for him. Which is code for making a huge mess in the kitchen. Personally - I'd be happy to each frozen packaged meals from Trader Joes every night.

    But I suppose cooking could be fun if you had a large designer kitchen (I don't), unlimited time (I don't) and a staff to clean up after you (obviously...) In the meantime I'll stick with pasta in a bag.

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  64. Hope you have a beautiful weekend! ♥ Hugs :)

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  65. The noblest thing a wife/mother can do is admit the truth behind her domesticity. You will all be much happier. Good for you.

    Plus, I like the cow.

    Keep the cow.

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  66. I love the cow!!!!

    You go COW!!!!

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  67. And that is why I definitely leave most of the cooking to my husband. Unless it's pasta. I can handle pasta.

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  68. thanks for the fun read....I love the internation al lurker...who is that. anywho. Have a happy day!

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  69. THIS WAS HYSTERICAL! I AM SERIOUSLY LAUGHING OUT LOUD AT YOUR DINNER COOKING EFFORTS!
    Great post!
    And I love that cow!

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  70. The thing is that people who can really cook don't follow the directions anyway. They don't need to because they can cook.

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  71. Love Well's comment blew me away. But if I tried what she suggested, it might frighten the children.

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  72. Completely forgot what I was going say after reading Kelly @ Love Well's comment. Now I'm wondering if I can get away with that...

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  73. Love Well's comment was so great I actually had to comment. The funniest part being it came from an older woman. Grandmotherly in my imagination.
    Recipes are EVIL. Just wing it like I do.

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  74. i must say, i love your blog. thanks for all the laughs!

    and i rather like the cow.

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  75. Love you, love the blog, love the cow.

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  76. Love Well, that only works pre-children. Really funny though.

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  77. You did an such a fine job here of describing to a "cooking is easy" type like myself the plight of a non-cooker. And your "blogging friend who says it frustrates her when people say they can't cook" reminded me of reading a post in which a woman said one of her pet peeves was messy housekeeping, "because, really, all it takes is a little bit of time every day to keep things nice." My jaw dropped and I sat there in a stupor for a moment, because this assertion was just so incredibly foreign to my experience. I have formed many long replies to that post in my head over the months which I'll spare you here, but it's good to reminded that just because something seems easy to you doesn't mean it can't be monumentally challenging to someone else.

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