Thursday, March 4, 2010

Say hello to a new peace, love, rock n' roll lifestyle

I made granola last night. From scratch. I've never done that before. Best. Decision. Ever. It was the perfect break from studying and the perfect breakfast/lunch/midnight snack for this crazy week. I love eating granola with yogurt and combined with raisins, almonds, cinnamon and honey that are in this recipe, it is perfect. That was an awkward sentence.

While I was making it I was listening to Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens. I love both of those men. I don't have nearly enough Bob Dylan, but I have some new stuff by Cat Stevens that is beautiful. That's right. New stuff. New stuff from Cat Stevens. Or I should say, Yusuf/Cat Stevens. He's been quietly putting out new music for several years now, and I had no idea. I recently acquired the album Roadsinger and I recommend it to everybody.

See, I can post something positive. I've been worried about my lack of cheerful stubbornness lately, but it has resurfaced. Maybe foolishly. Fresh granola can do that to you. I'm going to be going through a lot of rolled oats over the next month and a half.

better than from a bakery granola
(adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
2 c organic large-flake rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t salt
3 T plus 1 t canola oil
1/4 c honey
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract
2/3 c whole almonds
2/3 c raisins

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl, toss oats with cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla until blended. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry and use your hands to combine the two until everything is well coated and your hands are gooey. Lick them if you must, but wash your hands right after.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the mixture over top. Spread it out evenly, but also keep in mind clumping is a good, good thing. Bake for 10 minutes and then use a spatula to gently flip the granola over. Sprinkle with almonds and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Add raisins and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan. Use your hands to break up the granola...but again, don't go overboard (remember the clumps!). Place in a tightly lidded container.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm a wanderer. I roam around, around, around, around

I could complain right now. I could talk about how tired/stressed/unorganized/sore I am.
But I won't.
Complaining about them won't make them better, so I won't.
I feel like all I have been doing lately is complaining and explaining my stresses. And it's getting old even to me.

I understand that sharing and talking about problems makes you feel better. I understand that pretending everything is fine when it is not only adds more stress, and makes you liable to break like an over wound violin string.
I understand that letting people help you when you really need help is a sign of humility and gives them a chance to serve.

I understand because I usually pretend that everything is fine. I usually do not let anyone see the cracks. Usually I pretend like I have everything under control.
And it usually works. Admitting you're in trouble makes you feel defeated. Saying "I don't know how I'm going to do it," saying "I'm really in trouble this week," makes you believe it.

But saying you're in trouble also lets people give you words of comfort and support and encouragement. Saying you're in trouble means you're saying that you don't have to be 100% in control 100% of the time. Which is a relief. I don't know why I thought I did.

But more than once I have gotten the comment that
I need someone in my life to take care of me because I'm not doing a very good job of it myself.
To which I feel like responding:
1. If you know of any willing applicants, let me know
2. Yeah, well, I'm not dead yet so I must be doing something right
3. It is not as bad as you think - I'm just dramatic
4. Tried that a couple of times. So far I'm the only one who sticks around
5. Oh. Um. I guess I should be a little less of a loose cannon and take more care of myself before I can ever expect anyone else to be willing to pick that responsibility. No one wants a known liability. If the Visiting Teaching messages are all about self-reliance, I guess I've got something to learn.

I don't have to do everything. I can't do everything, even if I want to. I'm not superwoman.
It took a lot of effort to even say that.

Life is very good in so many ways. I'm blessed with good health, good friends, a good education, a good job, a good family,
that just by counting my blessings my rough spots seem smoother. It is often my fault they are rough - life is just so interesting that I want to take part in everything. There are so many things to do, to see, to be that life simply isn't long enough.

I guess the root of my running faster than I have strength is that for some reason I have always feared being left behind - missing opportunities and not doing and all being all I could be. But this manic lifestyle may be making me miss other opportunities, too. Quiet, small, simple ones right in front of me that may mean more than everything else.

My goal: to be able to say with truth -
I do not ask to see the distant scene, one step enough for me.