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Sesame seeds and millet toasting in a pot with caramelized onions and sage is one of the most comforting smells in the world. Plus it results in pot of nutty, creamy goodness ideal on a cold day. Unless you’re sick. My boyfriend returned sick and gross and all he wants to eat is Wonton soup, which makes sense considering it’s another form of chicken noodle soup.

So I’m eating this big millet casserole I made for him all by myself. Millet for lunch! Millet for dinner! Millet millet millet. Yesterday I scooped a portion in a pan, added some water and covered with a lid per usual. It only takes a minute to heat up on the stove and since we threw out our microwave this is how it’s done.

Usually I stand in the kitchen and wait because I don’t trust myself to not forget about food on the stove. But my sister called to tell me Columbus Market, a flea market by our childhood home and one of my favorite places to visit, was on fire. This is an important market for the community, housing more than 60 independent businesses of bakers, clothing sellers, pizza makers, wine peeps and knickknack peddlers plus a sprawling outdoor flea market and farm stands. I set to work trying to find out if they’d gotten the fire out yet (it’s out now) and completely forgot about the food on the stove.

The crackling sound didn’t remind me either as I figured it was the radiator finally turning on. When I finally went back into the kitchen for water the room was filled with smoke and the pan was red hot. It felt like 12 degrees F out, but I had to open the windows and turn on all the fans to air out the apartment. It’s helped, but MoonPie knew as soon as he walked in and nearly 24 hours later it still smells like a burnt toast factory.

If I could’ve kept it a secret I would have. Sometimes he treats me like a danger dame of the geriatric variety. Granted, sometimes my short term memory is worse than my grandma’s. Combine this with high mid-day distract-ability and I’ve accrued a long list of embarrassments. There was the time I put a hot iron face down on a painted table until the toxic chemical burning smell clued me in. The time I lit incense and dropped the still-lit match then stomped it out with my bare foot. On the bright side, I discovered our smoke detector needs new batteries.

Boyfriend being sick also means I’m still running solo. I do love cold weather running, but this morning took my breath away a few times. I couldn’t figure out why my hat and thin pants weren’t working until I checked the weather when I got home. It was 29 degrees F, but the wind made it feel like 11. It’s time to break out the winter layers already and we haven’t even had snow yet here.