Yesterday afternoon the strong winds claimed a nearby tree. In turn the tree claimed an electrical line. And to return the favor the electric line claimed the tree by burning it. These acts of nature and energy left us without "power" for some 15-hours on the coldest day and evening of the season thus far. We lit a fire in the fireplace, lots of candles, ate Kent pizza and antipasto as we sipped ale and played rummy before piling a couple extra quilts on the bed and hoping the sound of furnace might wake us before too long.
6:30 AM the sound of heat returning through the baseboards woke us. I opted to stay under the covers as long as I could before preparing to leave for the breakfast and errands we had planned for the day. It was a welcome chore, for the little hut was warm and welcoming when we returned.
Today was one of those remarkable days where several starts were made and only one completion. One item - and an important one - one that has offered unwarranted and foolish challenge (and fits) over the past several days - did make its way to fruition and will be put to full rest tomorrow.
I started another journal page, still working with black pen, but this time on a color-prepped background. I was prompted to work only with design - pure design. No words. No recognizable images. No symmetry either. Pure design. I'm enjoying the evolution in how I'm working it and am looking forward to filling the page.
So tomorrow I make a delightful trip to the bank, pick up a few groceries, and complete this page. And ya know what else? Life is sweet. Fits and all.
That's what I made today (a cryptic blog entry it seems to me now).
All these things ... and more ... and football too. Even when my team disappoints. Even when they put themselves at risk of not making it into the playoffs.
So it is that this morning, before the first kickoffs commenced, I sat with my silly little journal and doodled and drafted a few of the things at bring me pleasure in this life. Even in the face of potential disappointment. That's what I made today. Peace.
Well my friends ... even as Christmas may not my winter holy day, I do honor it, what with the Prince of Peace and all. So it is that on this night, Christmas Eve, I raise a glass of good cheer, a holy spirit, in gratitude of the Peace that the holy man who is celebrated tried so hard to convey to the world, and that resides within the hearts of each and every one of us,
Tomorrow The Boy has an early day, which means he gets home early and then has two days in a row off - the first such occurrence since Thanksgiving. So today I prepared the home, cleaned and tidied, got some homebrew chilled, steaks thawing, and reviewed my menu for Friday (christmas) dinner with his mom. Things are in order and I think even I will treat these coming days as "days off." I have a few calls to tend to in the morning and then I'll start imaging how to complete the started pages as well as fill these journal pages I prepared today. That's what I made today. Peace.
I invite you to block off *at least* a few hours in these next few days to unplug - no computer, no TV, no video games. Rather, light a fire, be it candle, fireplace or bonfire ... and simply BE in the darkness of winter ... alone or with family and loved ones. You'll be glad you did - even if you don't Know why.
"I'm sorry mommy, but they were so good and I only had a couple." ::groan::
Yeah ... if a couple is something close to 50.
You see, iced cookies like the Anginettes I leave out, covered only with a cotton cloth so that the icing has a day or two to set-up nice. Not only that but Halley doesn't take food from the table ... well she did once when we first got her (and that involved a loaf of wrapped banana bread), but not since. Well, that is until last night. I woke at 3:something AM to the sound of The Boy's voice saying, "What did you do?" I knew in a flash that it wasn't saint Nick.
All I can say is I hope she enjoyed them and I hope she's not too sick today. Heck, I can make more cookies.
Every winter I make a big batch of Anginettes and always ice a good portion of them with the traditional anise icing. The rest I mix up based on what I have on hand, and so it was today. I made an eggnog icing and topped those with fresh grated nutmeg, another was made with Midori (and next time I'll a bit of lemon) and the other a good cocoa icing 'cause I like chocolate. I'll be packaging some of these up to send to my mom along with her other holiday goodies, the rest will be shared with loved ones over Yule and Christmas. That's what I made today.
Today I finally finished my first attempt at a pair of crocheted mary jane style slippers. They are not without flaws, flaws that I learned from and am already correcting in the second pair I've started. I adapted the pattern from this one I found at ohmygoodknits. They're so freakin' cute I can't stand it! That's what I made today. That and another batch of cookies. Peace.
It was a challenging day for me. Mentally and emotionally. I woke knowing that challenge lay before me and I was open and ready. That which I saw coming I managed with as much grace as I could muster, but it was that which sideswiped me that rocked me to my foundation.
I must be stupendously dense, for I have somehow hurt an old friend. That, in and of itself hurts - a variety of hurt that is mine and that I own. My old friend has shunned me for a while now, yet I have done my part in attempting to maintain contact. Heck, I even asked what it was that I had done that warranted this distance she put between us. She responded a while back with a hint that I had blown her off one too many times. I apologized with the caveat that I was unaware of any specific blow-offs and even asked for specifics. Unknowing of specifics I asked for forgiveness and an opportunity to talk it out and make it right. The opportunity remained ... aloof. That's OK I reasoned. Healing takes time and I'm somewhat patient. Alas, today I received the oddest and most hurtful response to an invitation to a Yule party that could ever imagine. Frankly, without the experience I could never have imagined such a response as that which I received.
Apparently I'm a manipulative, repetitive, sweet-talking, guilt-mongering bully with selective memory. Well ... I sat quietly with this for a while and was assured that these abusive accusations belong not to me. Such is life.
All this on the heals of a loving exercise in futility in attempting to help my mom procure christmas gifts for family members that consumed more of my day than seems reasonable given the rather empty outcome.
Yet amid all the silly futility and hurt I took solace in rolling sweet balls of chocolately confection for sweeter friends with whom they will be shared and who love me - as I am - flaws and all. Thank you very much. And the sweet simplicity of this recipe offered me a solace that I both needed and deserved.
Let's just call these Solace Balls, shall we?
2 cups oatmeal (and then some)
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
6 tablespoons of good cocoa (and then some)
water to moisten - if needed
~ and your choice of confectioners sugar, cocoa & sugar, cinnamon and sugar, instant coffee and sugar, etc in which to roll the balls.
Mix all ingredients together like a loving madwoman, shape into balls and roll in your choice of ... whatever - use your imagination! And I gotta tell ya - folks love these!
Somehow (and I'm really not sure how) I managed to make a batch of Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies today. They didn't come out as good as Kim's. I suspect I baked them a little to long. I'll try again I'm sure, because when Kim made them they were out-freakin'-standing - especially for a gluten free cookie!
Today I was on a roll. (sorry - couldn't help myself)
I made cookie dough in preparation for cookie baking tomorrow. Well, I did make a sample batch today, just to make sure it was good. Hah! I made a loaf of raisin bread to enjoy at breakfast and tea time. I made two dozen little rolls, many of which will be sent to my mom along with a bundle of other goodies. That's what I made today.
This morning I dropped The Boy off at work, spun by the bank and then made time for an over-due breakfast out with a very sweet friend. We rarely get together and when we do it's usually over an old-school breakfast at a classic area diner. It was a charming way to start this day. Midday plans changed so I leveraged the time by finishing a scarf for a friend and starting some maryjane-style slippers for me. Dinner was prepared so that later I could just preheat the oven, roll out the dough and pop it in the oven. I called my mom as I do most every day. When I picked up The Boy I learned that he had cut his hand. He had dressed it as best as he could while working. Being a boy ("man") there was the typical understated drama (including the suggestion of potential stitches), so I stopped at the drugstore to pick up an assortment of first aid items just in case I didn't have what I needed at home. Once home his gloved hand was taped up, he hopped in the shower and I got dinner into the oven. Then I cut off the glove, removed the make-shift bandaging to discover a cut that we could manage at home with a few butterfly bandages, some herbal treatments, reiki and love.
We finally sat to eat ... a delicious chicken pot pie from a recipe I adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice and then we relaxed into the evening ... and I got back to those maryjanes. That's what I made today.
This morning I woke a bit agitated. Anyone who has experienced this knows that if not promptly shaken off it can stick with you the whole day. So I fed my dog - the dog that woke me with her Granny Annie squeaky toy. While she ate I stepped outdoors into the brisk healing air of morning and regarded the quarter moon, the puffs of clearing clouds, the scant dusting of snow that fell as I slumbered. My eyes were drawn to the eyes of Nature ... eyes that regard me everyday from countless places ... but today they gazed at me from the native lumber wall of my deck. Eyes so close to home.
The eyes of Nature asked me to look around, to gain perspective, to find my balance and to seek and honor the message in that agitated awakening that I had experienced.
I returned to my little kitchen to break my fast with a bowl brown rice, shoyu and ground beef from a happy cow. In this simple nourishing morning meal I realized how blessed I am to have a freezer filled with countless cuts pasture fed beef and garden harvests ... even if my pantry is a bit bare this year. And then some.
I went back outdoors to offer a bit of cornmeal, tobacco and rose petals for the gift that quelled my angst, then returned indoors to begin tackling the chores that awaited me. With love and gratitude solid in my core.
... from a local farm, stuffed with homemade bread, garden leeks and sage, onion, pepper and carrot ... served with mashed potatoes, simmered carrots, gravy, horseradish-cranberry sauce and a spinach salad. Life is good. Ashe. Ashe.
I wandered my little acre in the quiet of this snow covered morning ... just taking it in.
Taking it all in.
All that has passed and will be again.
All that weighs me down and lifts me up.
All that sustains and nourishes me.
I took in the last of the baby leeks and some sage that will find its way into a beautiful farm-raised chicken that will be roasted later today. And there's still a little more in the gardens to sustain me for a while ... even as the snow falls. Peace.