Tag Archives: cookies

Another Wild Wednesday

Last week, I was pretty sure this week’s blog post would be easy. Last week I wrote about my lack of Christmas preparations. I had no tree. I hadn’t baked the first cookie. I hadn’t shopped for presents, which meant I hadn’t wrapped any presents. I was worried enough about it that I thought I would finally stop procrastinating and get something done. This week’s post would be all about my dozens of finished cookies, my beautifully decorated tree and my perfectly wrapped packages.

Well, there is a tree in my house now. My husband is putting lights on it as I type this. It’s evening, so that’s as far as we will get today. Once the lights are on, the next step is to put the burlap angel on top and that has to be done by a grandchild. No other decorations can go on the tree until we get a grandchild over here to put that angel on top. That’s a tradition, and we aren’t going to break it. Not this year.

Cookies? I have baked two kinds of cookies. That’s two down and ten to go. I do have dough for two more kinds of cookies in the refrigerator. I’m trying to decide whether I’m ahead of or behind last year’s cookie-baking schedule. This time last year (according to my morning pages) I had three kinds of cookies completely done but no extra dough in the refrigerator. I guess I’m ahead on the dough-mixing and behind on the baking. Being ahead on anything is not that much of an accomplishment. Last year was the most frantic last-minute Christmas of my life.

I keep reading my old morning pages to see how this year compares to last year. Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m doing when I could be baking cookies or shopping or decorating. I’m reading that I was even further behind on this date last year. I’m also reading direct messages from my 2014 self to my 2015 self, messages that say, “Don’t do this to yourself next year!”

For any normal person, that would be the takeaway from last year’s morning pages. I, however, am not just any normal person. I am a seasoned procrastinator. I read about what I went through last year and all I see is that I managed to pull it off. Somehow, the baking got done, the tree got decorated, and the presents ended up under the tree by Christmas morning. I did it last year and I can do it again, even if I end up doing it in another mad last-minute rush.

Lights

Lights


I’m afraid that might be my most cherished Christmas tradition.

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Still Fighting

Wednesday has become blog day for me, and it dawned a little ugly this morning. I woke up with a bit of a headache and the voice of my ever-present depression whispering in my ear. It doesn’t try to talk me out of doing Morning Pages because it knows that’s a lost cause, but it will start trying to talk me out of my Sweatin’ to the Oldies while I’m still writing Morning Pages. It will tell me the headache is a good reason to skip the exercises. I don’t feel well, so I should just rest and not work out.

That sounds reasonable, but I know it’s just a big, fat lie my depression uses to get its its foot in the door and make itself at home for a while. Sometimes it works, but today I had enough fight in me to put on my workout clothes as soon as I finished my Morning Pages, and hit “Play” on that DVD. I use the DVD because that’s often all the fight I can muster. Once I hit “Play,” that’s all it takes. If I start the workout, I will finish it. Starting may be a huge battle but once I start, the battle is won. I started today, and I worked out for an hour. Thank you, Richard Simmons.

The Sweatin’ helped. It always does. It’s the one thing that helps the most since I went off antidepressants a few years ago. Today’s foul mood was persistent, though. Fortunately, I was still able to remember that there are other things I can do that will make a difference. My depression tries to make me feel lame, inadequate and worthless, so it helps if I can do something to prove it wrong. On my worst days, the best I can do is save a video game world, but today was not one of my worst days. Today, I went into my kitchen and baked cookies.

Cookies

Cookies


I probably don’t have to tell you what kind of cookies these are. I’m sure you recognize the crisscross. If I ever bit into a cookie that looked like this and there was no peanut butter in it, I would be appalled. I used the classic recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I felt a lot better when the cookie jar was full, but I was still restless. I needed to bring out the big guns.

I mean the teeny tiny yeastie beasties. I was fighting a very tenacious bad mood and I needed to do something impressive. I impress the heck out of myself when I make yeast rolls. These are Soft Sandwich Buns and the recipe is from The Farm Cookbook. I love that little book. It reminds me of my young married days, when I first became a vegetarian and didn’t know tofu from tempeh. That book taught me how to make both, but it also taught me to make these wonderful fluffy white buns.

My daughter was tired of waiting for them to cool.

My daughter was tired of waiting for them to cool.


I am not lame. I am not inadequate. I am not worthless. I made yeast rolls. I rock.

Orange

Orange hates me. Okay, maybe I started it. As secondary colors go, orange has always been my least favorite. I’m trying to give it a chance. I really am, but orange is just not playing along. Last week, I painted a big picture of some flame azaleas I photographed on my June trip to North Carolina. I shared it in last week’s blog post, even though I was far from satisfied with the orange flowers. It was a painting; it was a learning experience and it counted towards my goal of painting fifty paintings in my second blog year. Those oranges were really bothering me, though, so I decided to try again, on a much smaller scale.

Orange defeats me.

Orange defeats me.


I mean an itty bitty scale. This experiment did not go well. I kept trying and the oranges kept getting muddier. Eventually, I stopped trying and signed the thing. It’s a painting. It was a learning experience. It counts. I’ll probably gesso over it at some point, but for now I have plenty of itty bitty canvases. Feeling frustrated and staring at lots of leftover red, yellow and orange paint, I pulled out a piece of printer paper and started brushing paint on that. I wasn’t trying to come up with a pretty painting. I just wanted to come up with one pretty orange petal. Still no luck. Curse you, orange!

I’m not giving up in despair but I do think I will leave orange alone for a while. I need to paint something that makes me happy before I tangle with orange again. Meanwhile, I need to get thirty thousand words for Camp NaNoWriMo. As of right now, I am on track to finish by July thirtieth. That is assuming I get my nine hundred or so words today. I’m not sure that will happen, but if it doesn’t, I will just have to bake more pies and have another make-up day.

I may not be having success with my painting and I may be dragging my feet on the writing, but I can always bake. Pies, cookies … whatever it takes. Cookies made out of pie dough and filled with fig preserves…

Fig cookies

Fig cookies


I can do that.

Fun With Writring

I am caught up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now I can meet my goal by doing about nine hundred words a day for the rest of July. As I suspected, the process did require pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie


Also cookies.
No-bake Cookies

No-bake Cookies


And my favorite flavored coffee.
Jamaican Me Crazy

Jamaican Me Crazy


And more pie.
Custard Pie

Custard Pie


And one big painting.
Flame Azaleas

Flame Azaleas


The scan is a bit fuzzy and it washed out the sky, which is blue, not white, in the actual painting. This is the biggest one I’ve done yet and it’s different from the rest in other ways, too. It was based on a photograph. I prefer to paint from life, but we saw some beautiful things when we were in North Carolina and I didn’t have time to paint on the Craggy Flats trail. That’s where I took the picture of flame azaleas on which this painting is based. The other difference is that I painted it in stages over several days, instead of all in one sitting.

Of course, the result is not all that I had hoped it would be, but it was a great learning experience. I tried new things. I can’t expect new things to work perfectly the very first time I try them. It’s called “trial and error” for a reason. I am happy that I was able to allow myself to make errors.

I should confess that the other reason I am caught up on my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is that I’m trying new things there, too. I haven’t dropped my word goal, but I have given myself permission to write whatever I want to write. I know I said I wanted to finish my novel from November, but I was so stuck that I was starting to feel like Mozart in that scene from Amadeus where Constanze is trying to get him to work on the Requiem and he looks at her with hollow eyes and says, “It’s killing me.”

Yeah… not a fun place to be. I want to finish that novel, but I’m not going to kill myself over it. This is Camp; it’s supposed to be fun. It can be any type of writing, not just a novel. It can be nonfiction. It can be a collection of poems or short stories. It can be a screenplay if that’s what you want to write. It can even be revisions of a novel you have already written. I’m still writing. I will write thirty thousand words in the month of July. They will all come from my head; I won’t have a character in my own novel read passages from some real, already-published novel to pad my word count. My daughter, who spends time on the NaNoWriMo forums, says that is a tactic some people use.

I may now be a NaNoWriMo rebel, but I’m not that much of rebel. I just set my inner artist free, that’s all. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that the inner artist is a child. You can’t make a child happy by dragging her, kicking and screaming, to a word processor and chaining her little hands to the keyboard. As soon as I told her she could write whatever she wanted, she started jumping up and down, clapping her hands and saying, “Really, really, really?”

A little freedom was all it took. Well…that and a whole lot of sweets.

Resting

What? It’s blog day again, already? Where did that week go? I will admit it right now: I did not paint this week. I did take myself on a celebratory shopping trip to JoAnn, where I bought a Sta-wet palette. There’s a Michael’s in the same shopping center, so I walked down there and bought a tube of acrylic paint. I was offering enticements to my inner artist, but I think she was still tired from the late-night stitch-fest last Friday. She did not take the bait.

All of my inner children and I are still recovering from that final sprint to the finish line. I don’t want to lose the momentum I built up in that last month, but I need some quiet time right now. I survived Halloween, NaNoWriMo, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Tax Season. I need a rest before I dive into festival season, which starts in just a few weeks and is the busiest time of year for the tie-dye business.

It’s obvious that I will need to set some goals for my second blog year. I actually did some creative things last year and the only reason that happened was that I put my wishes into words and published them here in my blog. I mentioned last week that I think my focus for my sixty-first year will be painting. I want to say something about how often I will paint or how many things I will paint, but I haven’t figured out yet what might be reasonable. When I started my first blog year, I was pretty sure that fifty things would be reasonable. I was pretty sure I was ready to make one painting, one art doll and one art quilt, even though I had been wanting to do those things for six years and I hadn’t done a single one. At the beginning of every one of those years, I wrote in my morning pages, “Maybe this will be the year…”

“Maybe this will be the year I finally make an art quilt. Maybe this will be the year I finally make an art doll. Maybe this will be the year I paint.” I was so sick of writing that and never doing any of it that I knew I had to find a way to make a real change, a way to break the block. This blog was the way. I put it all in writing and I sent it out into the world. Once it was out there, I couldn’t take it back. I had to follow through. I did follow through and I met my goals. Now I need new goals and I’m not sure what to do. I need to rest and ponder and figure out what’s reasonable.

Meanwhile, I baked some cookies.

Rolled Ginger Cookies

Rolled Ginger Cookies


It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure heart-shaped cookies are reasonable.