Baking With Grandma… or… Still So Much To Learn

I baked cookies with my mom and grandma last Friday. We made some of those chocolate crackle cookies, some with peppermint candy on top and others with marachino cherries and a cherry glaze drizzled. We also made a bunch of “press cookies” in various Christmas shapes, then drizzled a clear glaze, and added sprinkles.

It was fun and I enjoyed working with them. It’s definitely easier (and more enjoyable) to be able to do stuff like that assembly line style rather than being responsible for every single step yourself.

What fascinated me, though, was how much I learned. How is there still more for me to learn about baking from the two people who essentially taught me to bake in the first place? How did I miss learning this stuff earlier? Did they always do it this way and I just never noticed?

Take as an example the cooling racks. Did they always place newspaper under them? They both thought it was natural. The newspaper would catch the crumbs and – more importantly – the glaze drippings and sprinkles.

Mom even commented that we should glaze and sprinkle on the cooling racks specifically so the glaze and sprinkles could fall through, rather than pooling on the cookie sheets.

Did she always do that and I was too clueless to pick up on it? What else have I missed? What valuable family knowledge is not getting properly transmitted through me?


Missed Me?

I’ve been silent for the last week and I’m not quite sure why. I have a lot of stories floating around in my head. Some of them are about the kids (what I am supposed to be writing about) and others are commentaries on stuff around me or current events (what I find myself writing about more and more).

Those ideas are composed and recomposed over and over again as I walk or drive from place to place. I would gladly write them instead of working but… well… I’d like to keep my job. I keep doing the mental composing throughout my day. Then I get home and take care of the myriad obligations there. Eventually the kids go to bed and that’s my usual blog time.

Except I haven’t felt it.

When I list the things I need to do and I hit “write a blog post”, I think Man. I really don’t feel like doing that right now. When that’s happened before, it’s usually been because either a) I don’t have anything to write about and don’t have the energy to come up with something or b) I’m angry about something and don’t feel that’s the right state of mind to be in when writing for a blog entitled “My Bright Spots.” But that hasn’t been the case lately. I just haven’t felt like it.

So… nothing.

It’s been an interesting shift. Used to be, I consistently wrote my posts because I wanted to. But lately, I’ve been writing because I felt I had to. I needed to be predictable. A post every day Monday-Friday, with a “Throwback Thursday” post on Thursday. When it was getting late and I realized I hadn’t written one, I felt obligated to sit down and churn one out.

I’ve been having a similar reaction to reading blog posts. I’ve been feeling like we are all chattering magpies yapping away at the wind. What’s the point? Are we all just producing this stuff for each other? Why? Has my blog just become a more refined version of a “share every thought that comes into my head” Facebook life?

I’m not sure.

But the interesting thing is that as I write this, more topics are coming into my head. Everything from baking cookies with my mom last week to my thoughts on Ferguson, MO. So I don’t think I’m coming to feel there’s no point. I think I’m just tired. Really, really tired.

It’s not easy to be a full time engineer, mother to three kids (from a Kindergartener to a teenager), church elder, Sunday School teacher, club volunteer, DIY home rennovator, regular (almost obsessive) exercise practioner, and a blogger. Sometimes I get tired. Ok, not sometimes. I’m always tired. And I have to let something go. I’ve chosen not to let up on the exercise. I committed to the church for a three year term. The club needs me. The projects at the house still have to get done. And I can’t really drop my work and parenting obligations. That leaves the blog.

I don’t want to quit though, and I’m not going to. I’m just going to try telling myself that I don’t have to publish on a schedule. I don’t have to do it if I don’t feel like it. I can skip for a week or two or longer if I want to. And it’ll all be ok.

Now, don’t be surprised if I end up publishing something every day this week. Now that I’ve primed the pump, so to speak, I may find I “feel” like writing and easily fill my week with posts. But if I do fall silent for a bit (again), just say a little prayer or send kind thoughts my way. Something simple like “I hope she gets some sleep” will do. Thanks. 🙂

How about you? Do you keep a schedule or have a guideline of how often you want to blog? Do you fall into slumps? Does it bother you? Do you ever feel obligated or is it always an act of joy?