A few years ago, I found an Aerolatte Milk Frother in my Christmas stocking. It looks like this:
It used to bother me that strangers like Santa knew so much about me — and Santa knows me without reading my blog. Since you're reading this, you know too much about me, too, but nowadays I feel that's your problem, not mine. I don't mind being known, at least as far as I'm willing to reveal things here. This way, if we ever get together, you'll get to do most of the talking because I'll have very little news to report. I like it that way; I'd rather hear others' stories than repeat mine.
It did shock me that a reader recently saw me and guessed who I was. My husband and I were at an open house down the street. The condo was handsome and out of our league, but sometimes prices drop; you never know. I was in the kitchen, admiring it. I thought everything about it was just right, which is rare. So I wasn't gretzing in my signature PB way. I was silent. But even so, this lovely young woman came over and asked if I were the Proper Bostonian. I was stunned; my husband was more stunned. I don't look much like a PB — it's more about attitude. I was not wearing that ratty gray turtleneck I lived in last winter. I was not (noticeably) covered in Possum and Bertie fur.
When we got over our amazement, we were charmed by my reader and her husband. She said she believed she'd run into me someday since we're both house-hunting in the same neighborhood. I would love to be that intuitive; I'm sure she hadn't asked other women the same question. If all of my readers are as nice as she is, I must be doing something right. The readers whom I know are indeed among my favorite people, and that's strictly on general merits, not their blog-reading tastes.
Now, back to the Aerolatte. You heat up the milk in a mug (microwave), add the cocoa, insert the Aerolatte, and turn it on. It's tiny but powerful. You move it around, making sure the milk never slops over the rim. Your cocoa is smooth and airy, with no woebegone residue at the bottom. SO easy.
But there is a hard part. Before you remove the Aerolatte from the milk, you need to turn it off. Otherwise, cocoa will fly everywhere, and despite your best attempts to clean it up, your kitchen will resemble mine, with spatterings of brown polka dots where you least expect them.
Why can't I manage to turn the thing off? It's become a running joke as I make a mess every night. I allegedly had an IQ of 140 when a grad student tested me in high school. I'm still waiting to accomplish great things because of it — like making cocoa neatly. Yeah, we have lead water pipes. Yeah, I landed hard on my head a few times when I took riding lessons. But have I lost that many brain cells? No. I'm proof that IQ points are about as good as Monopoly money in the real world.
We discovered Swiss Miss Diet Cocoa during our recent stint on the South Beach Diet. It's mostly chemicals, but has a light, mild taste that we like. It's easier on the digestion than richer cocoa. I make it several nights a week. It's supposed to be soothing, but I feel my blood pressure rising as I approach the Aerolatte.
I'm beginning to wonder if its switch is bad, or possessed by a demon. I swear I've turned it off, and I start taking it out, and it flips back on and splatters everything. I've resorted to putting the mugs in the sink to contain the mess, but it only helps a little. Swiss Miss is surprisingly buoyant. The switch also likes to turn on as I'm rinsing the Aerolatte. Water flies everywhere; the cats race out of the kitchen. It always takes longer than you'd like to turn it off.
I confess I'm also not so talented at keeping the cocoa from slopping over the rim of the mug. That's really why I relocated to the sink. I fill the mugs only about 2/3 full, but I still make tsunamis. By the time I clean up, the half-full mugs have cooled, so I add more milk and heat them up again, and try not to dump them as I remove them from the microwave. Sometimes that works.
If you see a woman with pale-brown splotches on her glasses, that's me.