So I tried my mom's recipe for making caramels...sweetened condensed milk, butter, sugar...can't go wrong with those, surely. But the heat was on too high, and even though I stirred like mad, bits of brown "stuff" floated to the top. Not burnt, exactly, and still tasted fine, but it was not great-looking. So I disguised the brown bits by adding chopped pecans and shredded coconut. They cut into fine caramels, sweet cubes of goodness...but they started to melt at room temperature. Once again I improvised, smashing a lump of caramel between two chocolate wafers (the kind you get at the bulk store for melting down into molds). And voila! An instant "turtle" sandwich. I made jillions of them, wrapped them in plastic, and put them in the freezer. And oh my word, they're yummy!
I've been adapting and improvising in a few other ways lately, too. I have difficulty walking Brio, my puppy, as much as he would like. He really is a calmer, happier dog if I can give him the proper amount of exercise. So I've been teaching him to play off the leash, and now we can go to the park and I can throw a ball or fling a Frisbee and let him do all the running. And running. And running. While I just stand there and throw things. It's much easier on my body and he's deliriously happy. He'd play for hours if he could.
I've also discovered a solution to my gardening withdrawal I go through every winter. No, I don't have to build a greenhouse or move to Belize. I found a great book about miniature gardening by Janit Calro, which teaches you how to create worlds in a pot. I can design whole landscapes and scenes (which of course creates plots and stories in my writer's brain at the same time) on my kitchen counter. I get the scent of damp earth, the mud under my fingernails, the smell of snipped greenery, and my spirits instantly lift. I think this will turn out to be a major hobby.
Life may not always work out the way you want or expect, but little joys can be found all around you, whether in a terra cotta pot or between two circles of chocolate.