Granted, the only place on my body that hurt was my forehead because my tuque wasn’t pulled down to my eyebrows. Other than that I was well covered and comfortable. But even SadieSue was glad to turn around and head back to the yard.
That was yesterday. Today the thermometer has rocketed up a few degrees.
Remember when I made those chocolate macaroons and wasn’t best pleased with them? I posted the recipe on the collection blog anyway and promised to make adjustments when I’d figured out the problem. Well, I did that last night when to placate my sweet tooth I pulled out all the ingredients and threw a batch together. They turned out just right this time, the way I remember, the way I like. The difference? In the original recipe, the cocoa was mixed with the dry ingredients before they were added to the boiled sauce. All I did this time was throw the cocoa in with the sauce ingredients instead and boil it ‘along with.’ The macaroons are no longer dry and crumbly, but moist and chewy. I took a picture of them and changed the recipe instructions. HERE THEY ARE.
Something so simple can make such a huge difference.
I gave Dad the recipe for ‘classic cabbage stew,’ also a simple recipe and surprisingly delicious. When he made it, he didn’t like it. He made it again and did like it on the second try. What was different? The ingredients list is very basic. HERE’s THE RECIPE.
My guess is that the first time, he threw all the ingredients in without sautéeing any. It’s that easy to affect the palatability. As all bakers know.
One aspect of reading an old journal while at Karen’s was that there was lots of quiet space around doing so. I could think about my life 34 years ago, and now, and see how it’s different and yet the same. Similarities shouldn’t be surprising, yet they make it seem as if much less time has passed. They also make me wonder if I’ve learned anything and whether, aside from having my two sons, it’s been a life of any value. What have I done with it?
I’m not a big believer in the superiority of “doing.” I’m equally respectful of “being” and being “well” — enjoying life, feeling deeply, loving it. That’s always been good enough for me, while I realize that to some, this is barely more than a waste of time. They push themselves to accomplish, to amass, to impress, to earn, to strive. They feel they will have failed at life if they don’t leave a legacy behind when they die.
Me, I’ve thought it enough to be a decent person and to appreciate what I have. I’ve never been ambitious. I’ve never planned much ahead. I’ve never worried about the far future. It’s only lately that the thoughts cross my mind: Am I unprepared? Have I been the fiddling cricket, not working hard and saving and planning? Have I not been — am I not — good enough?
I’ve had a blessed life of good health and relative ease and many friends and kind family. I haven’t had a life of hardship in any way. Some think raising a handicapped child is a hardship, and maybe it is in comparison to raising a more average child, but “average” children come with their own parental challenges, don’t they? When it comes to our kids, we love them and do our best for them, and that without question. A handicapped child may require more time, care and attention, more physical effort; sorrow comes along with parenting a handicapped child, as you grieve to witness his struggles and the life he will never have. But I can’t think of raising Emil as a hardship; being his mother has been one of my greatest joys.
While taking an easygoing approach to my personal life, there’s been a recurring battle to be my own “authority” when it comes to my choices; to base my actions upon my own beliefs and desires instead of those of other people or the culture we live in. It’s been a challenge: knowing and respecting myself, and fighting for my right to do the latter. It’s far easier to do what others want or expect you to do than it is to do what you choose to do, what you think is right. But it’s vital to live according to one’s own convictions and not for the approval of others, or for expediency.
That doesn’t mean never doing things to please someone besides ourselves, never helping others, never acting out of kindness or obligation instead of honest personal expression. We all have to do what we have to do. But we each have our own heartbeat, and it’s the one that each of us must learn to trust.