I started writing this post last week while in a streak of finding myself hilarious, which may have been either fortunate (or the opposite) for you to read, but thanks to my occasionally poor technological skills, I deleted it. I think there was also a bit of an internet malfunction and possibly a bout of my dog misbehaving, but I had to just lay it all out on the table. You might be missing out on some goods laughs, for which I am quite sorry.
I made some really great cookies last weekend with John (the second time we made them that week) and they truly beg to be shared. They're not outrageously original, but they are delicious, and you can double the recipe and eat them all in one night without guilt, though you may feel a bit sick. Not that I did that. This winter has been unrelenting, merciless, kind of a pity party of emotions, along with a slew of swears that I only say in secret such as in the car or perhaps whilst playing my husband in Mario Kart and definitely never under my breath at work. I'm in the midst of a good mental thaw, and these cookies came along at just the right time. I'd love it if they did the same for you.
I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest (the photos are everything). I continue to fall in love with food bloggers who can write, and Jessie of Faring Well is one of the few I've been following lately who do this well. You and I are both probably very aware of how culinarily limited I am (why yes, I am quite talented at making words adverbs), but the dichotomy of two such cathartic things such as eating and writing together is utterly beautiful, so I'm trying it on from time to time. It's so pure and sensical (I'm also good at making up adjectives). I'd highly recommend checking this blog out. (Other great food bloggers/writers: Sprouted Kitchen, Happy Yolks, Oh Ladycakes)
(Less Guilt) Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Measure out the quick cooking oats and creamy peanut butter in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside. Combine the coconut oil, almond milk, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan on the stove. Heat on medium heat and bring to a boil while whisking the entire time. Once boiling, whisk about 5 times vigorously, then remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour over the oats and peanut butter in the mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and stir until thoroughly mixed. Scoop spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (or a few plates) and place in the freezer to set (should only take an hour or two). Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer.
I've spent the last couple of months clinging to the pleasures of Netflix, Anne Lamott, 7 pm (the end of a certain someone's work day), the free coffee my employer provides, and my fuzzy green sweater (the intentionally fuzzy kind). I have emerged (though somedays it feels I am still emerging) from my cave of mostly unintentional isolation, worshipped anxieties, and ruthless thoughts and I am here to tell you; when you make it out, there are cookies, there are SO many good people who love you (if you would only text them, or say hi when you're making their latte instead of being shy), there are so many dog kisses, there is a husband who was always there (you knew this, but what rest you both will find when you leave your lonely worrying post), and ultimately, there is Truth to remind you what you believe in and why worrying has no place in your life. I don't blame this past season of poor mental health on the literal winter (although that is perhaps how it began and although that is exactly what I did for the duration of this season), but I do believe it has been a mental winter for me, which believe it or not IS actually worse than literal winter in Syracuse.
It's not realistic for me to remain myself as well as spearhead this blog without transparency, so again, I air these realities out for you, despite the sprinkling of concern I have that any of you might think I'm insane. Additionally, I'm determined as always to make meaning of it.
Do any of you let worries obliterate your day? Do you, in the vulnerable moments of your week, let the most ridiculous of anxieties plague your disposition? (I sound like a Xanax commercial) You have a friend. You're normal, but you're also advised to thaw.
This past winter we lost a grandma, kept in touch (still are) with a pretty sick grandma, got in a car accident, sustained shoveling-related injuries (okay, that one was just John, but it did affect both of us), and let the frustration of question marks dwelling in our brains grow in weight with every passing day. Honestly, none of those seem like real enough reasons to have experienced such a dark time, but I'm not a lady of omniscient understanding.
This has been a difficult time to swallow, and beginning to even try to write about it hasn't been too fun either. I've had to space out the time I've spent on it, and in that time I've been the lucky discoverer of enlightenment. I think of my younger friend who's future looks so confusing (to her) after some disappointing news. I think of dear ones who've actually lost close kin recently and are still trying to make sense of it. I think of my friend from college with a wife and a new baby who has stage 4 cancer. I think of friends who struggle with the weight of anxiety and depression almost constantly, and have from a very young age. We all experience times of giant question marks filling our minds. I spent my latest season with some of these sensations and I didn't wisely work through it for a good couple of months. I didn't know how to.
To quote my good friend (in another world) Anne, "It is most comfortable to be invisible, to observe life from a distance, at one with our own intoxicating superior thoughts. But comfort and isolation are not where the surprises are. They are not where hope is. " She also writes, (clearly she knew I would not know how to end this post), "Periods in the wilderness or desert were not lost time. You might find life, wildflowers, fossils, sources of water." There you have it. For me, the life and wildflowers have to do with the strengthening and deepening of my marriage, which is certainly a source of water itself, as well as beautiful people who know not the comfort of their company, and the tools to possibly help me out of any other winters I may experience in the future.
There are flowers and fossils waiting for you too. I truly believe that. May we make our way out of the desert, but not forget our souvenirs. May we also not forget that souvenirs are meant to be shared.