Sunday, December 21, 2014

When The Words Don't Come

I write a lot. Daily journaling, these small blog posts, and rather a lot of material for work. I like to think that my fluency is good and that I keep the words flowing.  Right up until the moment when nothing is coming to mind, when every word seems trite and every sentence belabored.

This past week I had four publication deadlines for work, a couple of reports, some careful messages to draft, and a reflection piece for a worship service. Not a stellar time for the muse to take a three-hour cruise to a deserted island.

It was a week of "Make it Work", suffering through the dis-ease, complicated by tech problems in the office- a dead printer/copier, and Sunday, a power outage knocking out my monitor.

And still hating most every word I wrote. Hours of thinking on the words, sitting down to write, typing out my babbles, then deleting at least two-thirds of it. I broke down and DID DISHES, hoping the different muscle movements might trigger my fingers into finding the right words.

Anywhere I could get someone else's input, I did so--admitting that things weren't going smoothly on my end. Thankfully, I work with some eloquent folks.

In the end, I hit all the deadlines. The reflection piece was half taken from something I typed up at 6:30 AM, and half from notes scrawled on a big sticky note between 10 and 11:30. It was not the most concise or the most enriching thing I have ever written or said, but neither was it cringe-inducing.

I'm looking forward to a few days of spreadsheets and filing and reading. Not especially glamorous, but an easier part of the brain.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Little Things

Palindrome on the odometer!

And when it first rolled to 56065, the temp outside was 56 degrees. It dropped a degree while I was trying to get a picture. (At a red light. While spouse was behind the wheel.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

So Much Stuff

It is December 19th.

So far this month we've had two Sundays, a big potluck and decorating event, rather a few meetings and projects and deadlines.

Twelve days left in the year. One big concert, two Sunday services, and a Christmas Eve service.

So many things are not yet done. Some of them won't get done this year. 

And then there are all the things that just need to be put away. This is one corner of my office--you can barely make out the big paper cutter. It would be LOVELY to get that corner uncovered, its contents organized. And yet, it's just stuff.

There are naps to take, family to hug, cookies to bake, fun to be had, songs to sing, etc.

So first, I'm putting myself to bed for eight or ten hours. G'night.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Slice of Life - Meet the Neighbors

Among our "natural"* neighbors are free range peafowl. The peahen shown in this picture was a few feet from my front door when I first saw her today. They're pretty brazen--getting treats from adorers when they can, and scavenging the rest.

I live in the fourth-largest city in the United States. Millions of people. Millions of cars and trucks and buses.

Peafowl really don't care about traffic. They just cross the road when they feel like it. Almost always walking, though they can hop-fly for short distances. Sometimes we come across a flurry of feathers. Sometimes a squashed bird.

Beyond autos, there aren't many predators around here too eager to grab a giant pheasant. And well-fed peafowl can more than replace their numbers each year. I've never attempted a census, but it's fair to say that the birds are thriving.

*No, peacocks are not native to Texas. But this flock, in one way or another, has been in the area for over 20 years.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hanukkah Experiment

It's Hanukkah!

Tonight I assigned one son to making the matzoh ball soup, the other to the latkes.

All went well and was coming together deliciously. And then secondborn called out, "Mom, I have an idea and I am asking permission."

Kudos to him for remembering to ask permission... turns out he wanted to wrap a matzoh ball in latke-goodness.

An intriguing concept, but not especially easy to put into action. The wet of the matzoh ball and the wet of the latke mixture are not necessarily going to stay together in the fryer, and potato strands tend to get brittle when they are cooked. Turnning the ball gradually at not letting it get too brittle caused some improvement, but as we went to pull it from the pan, it became a mound of hashbrowns with a matzoh ball soggily peeking out.

I only make latkes once a year, so this idea will need to stew for a good long time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Donwanna Grow Up!

Being a grown up means being responsible and making healthy choices.

Like, say, not staying up until midnight when the alarm goes off at 5:45 AM.

But "When Harry Met Sally" is on.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ridiculously Easy Holiday Cookies

Yes, there should be a picture here. But we were hungry and all the cookies disappeared.

I originally got this as a low fat vegan cake recipe. These days I generally make them as little soft cookies. They are a big hit with all ages--not too sweet, a little different, and still with the comfort of chocolate chips.

1 can pumpkin puree
1 box spice cake mix*
1 cup chocolate chips*
1/4 c. water (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix together the pumpkin and the cake mix. If it seems dry, you may want to add up to 1/4 c. water. When that consistency is pleasing, stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop spoonfuls of dough on parchment or greased baking sheets. The dough does not spread much, so you only need to leave about an inch or two between cookies.

Bake until lightly browned on the bottom, and let cool.

*If you want the final product to be vegan, read labels to make sure your mix doesn't have milk or eggs. Looking at the allergen list is a big help here.