About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for November 5th, 2006

Enlightened Selfishness

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Lazy Lynn

Starting Saturday night I just plain grabbed on to selfishness for a while. I have been tired and stressed out, trying to not miss any appointments, stay on top of that incredibly confusing calendar, and try to get enough sleep and food. I’ve done maybe a B+ worth if I were to give myself a grade, but what maybe I should have done is not schedule so much in the first place! I’d rather be at an A, you know?

Saturday night we had dinner at Altu’s restaurant (we listened to Temesgen Hussein, which is always a treat) and although we had thought we might go to the excellent concert at Magdalena’s Teahouse, I was at the point of “crash or burn” so we went home. I’m bummed to have missed that event, it would have been both a music night and a social event, as we know many of the musicians who would have been there.

I’m glad, though, that I listened to that quiet inner voice which told me I needed to stop. Now. Right now.

We went home, I curled up in my Ethiopian cotton blanket (gahbi) and plunked myself on the floor right on top of the heat vent. I read a little about knitting and a little about time management (one can only hope to learn, after all) and then I just plain fell asleep. On the floor. Until 4:15am when I got up and went to bed upstairs. I slept about 11 hours, I’m guessing, and it was perfect. No alarm clock.

A New Day

Sunday is starting out beautiful, the sun is streaming in on me as I sit at my desk. I’m on my second cup of ceylon tea and I spent the morning making treats. You see, tonight is Thanks-Christmas at my Mom’s house and I am the one who brings a pumpkin pie, sans egg or milk.

I love pumpkin pie… I was born on November 28, which was the day after Thanksgiving that year. It seems to me we always celebrated my birthday on Thanksgiving, though that may only be true since I moved out. But somehow as a child I felt that was my holiday, perhaps that people were thankful I was born. For a fairly insecure but loud child, this was a good thought indeed.

So I bring pie I can eat and then I get pie for my “birthday cake” and it’s all good. It took me 6 months to get a recipe that was any good, and this version is even better than the one I had the first year.

Bakin’ Like a Pro

While I was baking that (it takes something like an hour and a half to bake the pies) I got busy in the kitchen making other treats. I made some brownies with oat and barley flour (rather than wheat) and I made some pumpkin butter (instead of fruit jam/spread in the morning) and last I made my siinful no-dairy tapioca pudding. That one is a real favorite.

I’ll share the 2 pies between three families (two people each) tonight. There will be enough pie left over from tonight’s dinner for Brian to have a good breakfast tomorrow. I’ll be happy with my tapioca pudding. Yesterday I made granola bars, they are already in baggies in the freezer. Today when the brownies cool, I’ll taste one to see if I guessed well with my substitutions. If they turned out, I’ll put them in baggies in the freezer, too.

It’s sort of a bummer to spend every day off making food for the other days, but it really makes my life better. For example, yesterday I had a 2 hour class at Threadbear, then a 2 hour class at Little Red Schoolhouse, then a 1 hour private lesson at a student’s home. That is a long time to be gone when I’d only had breakfast before leaving the house. Fortunately I had granola bars in my purse and I did not go without calories. I would have done better with “real food,” A.K.A. protein, but I did not lose concentration and I was not too hungry when I got to dinner.

I’m setting myself up for a good week, now. Maybe this is almost two weeks’ worth of snacks. I’m glad for that.

Creative Kitchen Experiments

I guess I’m an artist in all senses, because each kitchen experience is its own experiment. I always wonder if things will work out well.

Every time I bake, I change the ingredients a bit. I’m really clear that baking is chemistry… the acid/alkaline balance is crucial for items to rise properly, and if you want any sort of sweet crispiness you nave to have the right proportion of sugar/sweet to oil, because when you get it wrong, nothing carmelizes and it can be a pile of sweet powdery flour instead of a crunchy crust. Too much baking soda, and it tastes funny… not enough, or baking powder rather than soda or vice versa, it doesn’t rise.

I’ve learned that brownies do well with barley flour as part of the mix, and I can sub barley flour for rice flour successfully in several of my time-tested recipes. I used to make almost every baked good with a combination of buckwheat/oat/rice flours, instead of wheat. Now I’m trying to use more variety. It’s good for everyone to rotate foods, but for an allergic person it’s self-preservation, because anything I eat too much of, I can become allergic to that.

Meanwhile, I am a very good recipe-maker/changer. At least when it comes to sweets, I do a great job. All of the four items I made today, the recipes have been tweaked so many times, adding and subtracting ingredients and changing quantities, that they bear no resemblence to the recipes that once inspired them. If I’m lucky, they taste as good. Sometimes I’m thrilled, because they taste better.

Sunny Day!

I’m thinking I will go for a little walk in this beautiful sunshine. As soon as I can clear space in the refrigerator to chill the pies (this sort of pie will not cut properly if it is not cold), I think I’ll grab a coat and at least make a trip around the block on foot.

Then I may indulge in a long bubble bath. I will don the most colorful, comfortable clothing I own. I will knit a little bit on something that requires me to read the directions (a real luxury for someone who mostly knits on the run).

And then we will go hang out with my tiny family of six. Six in the state of Michigan. That is including our partners. Mom, Fred, Brian, me, Eric and Diana. I am so lucky that we get along so well. I’m very much looking forward to our meal and socializing. We gave up gifts last year and it’s very good. No stressing out trying to make or buy on a schedule, no cluttering up each others’ homes, when all three houses are trying to simplify. Just time together. It’s very good, very peaceful.

I’m really clear that not everyone gets along with their family, and I am delighted to have the situation I have right now. In fact, Mom and I have only really had about a dozen years where we really have been able to enjoy each other fully. I’m drinking it in.

Off to do more selfish good for myself. Nurturing the one who usually works and works and works… at things she loves, but who needs a rest as all humans do.

Knitting with Pencils

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

The Sheep in the City blog has a photo of a child at Rhinebeck (NY Sheep & Wool Festival) knitting with pencils as needles. Cool.