This morning, I am making this honey cake from Smitten Kitchen. Or, I should say that I am attempting a facsimile of this honey cake, because I accidentally switched the baking soda and baking powder amounts, halved the recipe, and used one egg instead of one and a half (the original calls for three). Well, Hell, as grandma used to say. Oh! Also, it called for orange juice, which I don’t have, and I substituted with whiskey. And I substituted allspice and cloves with coriander, since I accidentally bought that instead of cardamom at Cost Plus the other day. True confessions!
So, we’ll see. It is baking now.
I halved the recipe, because it made three loaves! I know I could give extra loaves away, but I’ve got a lot of grading to do this weekend, and can’t really afford the time to have people over, and I certainly don’t want to eat three loaves of it myself! But in halving the recipe from three loaf pans to one loaf pan and two mini pans, I noticed that the batter looked quite… low. Huh. So, we’ll see, we’ll see.
The Babyhead is watching cartoons, and we’re going to venture forth at some point today to the bookstore so she can get a “biology encyclopedia with pictures of evolution.” I’m so happy about her request! She wants to investigate. I love that she’s connecting animals to other animals, and thinking about their lineage and ours. I think I’m prouder of her burgeoning curiosity than her reading level at school– though as a former English major, I’m awfully proud of that, too.
I am happy to revel in today, the first day of Fall, because it seems like a momentous day. Is that some kind of genetic memory, that says to stock up on food, buy a whole chicken, get a butternut squash, use the oven, nestle in?
But also, today feels like a chance for a fresh start and some change. Maybe not a fresh start, since that sounds more like Spring. But each season carries some symbolic change with it, and Fall’s brand of change seems like a sort of Getting Ready for the Long Haul. I suppose that is what I’m feeling.
This week has been a tough one for me. The truth that I won’t have any more kids has finally sunken into my brain and stayed embedded there. I always imagined having three kids, like the three bears. I imagined them having each other when I was gone, and having a largish family– but it’s just not going to happen. It’s very hard to function appropriately when my brain is dealing with such a weight. I even cancelled my Thursday morning class (Ssh! Don’t tell anybody!) because I needed a snow day. It was a stupid thing to do, because I only have the one class, but my brain needed a snow day in a town that never gets snow, so I created the day myself.
I used to take quite a few snow days in high school when the pain was just unbearable. But back then I was dealing with a different cause– my stepfather was a tyrant, and my mom was forever about to leave and never actually leaving. There were some days that she would drive me to school, and we would simply sit in the parking lot. She couldn’t push me out of the car, or cajole me, and I was absent a lot.
These days, my opportunities for snow days are few. I’ve got a kid, and there is no such thing as a break from being a mom. In a way this is beneficial, because I am forced to face whatever it is I need to face, or push through whatever needs to be pushed through. There is something to be gained from that.
Sometimes, however, pushing through something really hard will leave you with injuries– and that is when a snow day cannot and should not be avoided.
I think taking some time to myself the other day helped. Even if it was for only an hour, and even if all I did was grade some student homework. I was able to gather myself together and actually be myself while sipping my grande soy latte (I like soymilk, so sue me). I went to the Fig Garden Starbucks, because I didn’t want to see anybody I knew. I did see some stroller derby moms, lots of them, and various retired people, and the usual Fig Garden sorts (monied professionals, the elderly, poshy Housewives of Fresno County). It was very strange to hear the stroller derby moms ask for “plugs” and I blame 50 Shades of Grey for them being able to say it with a straight face and so eagerly. What the Hell? Just drink your coffee down a bit before you start jogging or whatever.
So, am I any better from having taken an hour off? Maybe. Does it help? Maybe. Will my honey cake turn out, in spite of all the amendments I made to the recipe? You guess.