Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Everything Done is Undone Again

Let me just say that I know that in many ways, this is not just me. On the other hand, I feel like I am such a crazy mess sometimes that people might not like me assuming they are as wacky as I am. So that is my disclaimer.

I mentioned in my last post, and also have harped on for the entirety of the existence of my blog, that I am sick of the drama. And also, with equal repetitiveness, I have talked about the monotony of daily life. So which is it, Abby? Is there too much drama or too much of the same? It's both. I know. What does it take for me to be content? I have this idea that it really wouldn't take much. But it would. I don't mind drama if it is happy drama. Weddings, births, galas, festivals, jubilees, jamborees, any and all jollifications (yes, that is a word). Bring them on! But I don't like all this negative stuff. You know all the suffering we're called to as Christians? Yeah, no thanks about that. I can do without the illness, the death, the homelessness, the poverty, the pain of childbirth, the whole Curse and all its shenanigans. (Incidentally, I know that "poverty" is a strong word in reference to my own life, especially for one who sits in her heated apartment on high speed internet, but it is all other people's money that pays for our heat and internet and the like, much of which is in the form of loans that have to be repaid, so it is more mental than actual physical financial woe. I just use the word "poverty" to sort of sum up our lack of financial independence and presence of financial worrisomeness.) And drama aside, I don't like all this day in and day out stuff. I like a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of "this is done" like what you got when you finished a paper in school or put the last coat of paint on a wall. But so much of life is not that way. I spend all day doing laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, preparing meals, straightening and picking up, etc. etc. etc. As soon as the floor is vacuumed, someone tracks dirt in from outside or brings their Auburn shaker upstairs and pulls the little orange and blue strands out and strews them all around. As soon as I prepare a meal, it is eaten or if it is the short ribs I made last night, it is pushed around on the plate, possibly chewed up but then spit back out into the rice and complained about until we finally cover it with Saran Wrap and put the child to bed at well past bedtime promising him that it will be served for breakfast in the morning. Then I begin cleaning dishes, wiping down tables and counter tops, and putting ingredients away, and it is time to think about the next meal! I also have the whole big people and baby people meals going on right now, so it seems my whole day could be spent just feeding people. No matter how much laundry you do, I say this all the time, the people in my house are wearing a whole other load on their persons. Then there's the verbal repetition. If I only had a nickel for every time I say any one of these things every day: "You are not his mother." "Stop bossing him around." "Stay in you chair until you're finished." "Come on, let's finish that up." "Stop whining." "You cannot shout like that." "You need to have some self-control." "Let's use our manners, please." "Be patient!" And inevitably, in spite of discipline, she will boss him around again and he will shout back at her and at mealtime he will get up from his chair when he's not finished and whine about having to sit back down or anything else he doesn't want to do. So I just have to resolve that that's how it is. But it's so depressing. It is. Everything I do is almost instantly undone and needs to be done all over again. What have I accomplished? What is there to show for all this work besides the fact that I am bone tired at nine o'clock at night most days? Maybe I need to read Ecclesiastes. That's where I am- "a chasing after the wind." A project might help too. It would be nice to have just one thing to feel "finished." But more than not, projects just hang over my head and remind me that they are not done. My current project is Easter dresses. With only one month until Easter, they have not been cut, pleated, smocked, or sewn. Nope, not at all. I will feel awful if they don't get done. But I can't imagine how they will get done. Whatever you do, don't discourage me from trying. If I fail, you can comfort me, but I really really want to try, so don't tell me not to.

In the mean time, if all I have time to do is make food, at least I can make good food. I gotta have something tasty to keep me from hating the idea of getting out of bed in the morning. That is a tall order considering I am still getting up twice a night for anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. I know, I've gotta get some rice cereal! I have been pretty much habitually mixing Chocolate Sensation in with my first cup of coffee in the morning. 'Cause more than the first cup would just be too decadent right? Anyway, I like a little something sweet to go with it, but not so sweet that I might as well be having dessert. I mean, actually, I would love a big piece of chocolate cake for breakfast everyday, but guessing that that's not such a good idea, I have been enjoying some of this either in bar form or as cereal:

41/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. dried apricots
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. honey

-Mix oats, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Stir in pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and wheat germ.
- Process apricots in food processor until smooth. Add butter and process until smooth. With machine still running, add honey through feed tube and process until smooth.
-Fold apricot paste into oat mixture until well incorporated.
-Press into jellyroll pan lined with greased parchment and bake 30 minutes (I originally copied this recipe onto a napkin and when I recently re-copied it, didn't write down the temperature. I tried 350 today and it was a little too hot- try 325 or 300).
-Remove from oven, cool, and cut into bars.
Save all the little crumblies from cutting to eat for breakfast with blueberries and milk- yum!

Note the wheat germ and the small amount of sugar. That's got to be a little healthy, right? And you can swap out ingredients where you want. I used Craisins in addition to golden raisins because I was short and it turned out great. Some people don't like nuts so you could substitute there. And I, and I'm guessing at least Jennie will (if not more of you- because I'm hoping you're all that kind of people), add a little extra chocolate chips- more like a heaping half cup, plus a little handful. But I suppose you could leave them out altogether if you must. But seriously, without the chocolate, you might as well just buy some Grape Nuts or some other sort of lifeless healthy food. I'm kidding, the fruit and honey are so good, even without the chocolate chips. And it makes a lot, so these are actually "done" for longer than you might think!


Brit said...

Hi Abby! I meant to say a LONG time ago, thanks for answering my question about smocking. I don't understadd the whole plates thing, and I'm from Minneapolis, so none of those places were places I could visit. I'm still confused by the idea of smocking, but alas, it may evermore stay that way. Is it a way of changing a dress? Adding to a dress? I'm so confused.

And, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma. I, again, meant to leave you a comment earlier, but ah, the plight of the working girl. *rolls eyes* I can't wait(well, I can) for the day I am in your place, caring for my husband and babies. Until then, I wait on the Lord. And don't get me wrong, I do like what I do, it's just a weird place in life sometimes(aren't all places a bit wierd?). But, as I was saying, I am terribly sorry about your grandma's passing. I lost my father about a year and half ago, and no matter how it happens, or who it is, griving is hard and when compounded by the fact that "life must go on", it can get rough to come out of that. I am praying for you and your family. As trite as it is, time does help and things do get easier.


daverichards said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe...it sounds really great..will surely try it out sometime...and hey since Easter is coming also check out my blog on Easter Wishes sometime and enjoy all that i've posted there!!!

Abby said...

not sure who daverichards is everybody. i have to wonder why people would pick my insignificant little blog to advertise on. but maybe he is a regular reader? i know y'all think i'm so naive. but i like it that way. He does have a quote from St. Augustine on his blog. but i'm thinking he must've found me over a keyword search for "easter dresses." yep, i just did one. there i am. oh well...

hey brit. thank you for your prayers and encouragement. oh, and sorry, i think i was assuming you knew all about smocking and just wanted to get started or something. i will see if i can find pictures. basically, it's pleating a dress- not a finished dress, just the pieces that will be the dress- and then embroidering over the pleats. the embroidery design is a plate and you can use them over and over- they're pretty much just instructions and a picture for how to embroider, like with cross stitching or whatever. the pattern, is just what type of dress or garment you are cutting out to pleat- like i smocked an apron for my mother in law or i smock bibs a lot for baby gifts or you can do a dress around the neck or across the front, all of those would be a different pattern. now i may be telling you too much that you already know. because i know you must've seen it, even in minneapolis. anyway, maybe just for fun, and for my own motivation to get working, i can post the progress of a dress with pictures over the next month. that would involve somehow having a digital camera though...

Brit said...

Thanks Abby! What piqued my interest was if I could do this for an apron! I'm glad I can! I make a lot of aprons, some vintage, some not so much, and give them as gifts; I even have a few places interested in selling some for me. I always love a new sewing project, so that's why I asked in the first place. Now I'm just so curious! I made a "smock" recently for myself when I'm cleaning and such around the house, but I just did it w/o a pattern and pieced it together. And I'm sure it looks nothing like what you make- it's very rough. Sort of Sense and Sensibility like, only shorter. Ok, well I need to get back to work! Thanks for the smock update- I'd love to see pictures if you get around to it!

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

I have hit a mental and emotional "wall" with the night time feedings, too. I decided this week as Lydia Joy turned 5 and a half months that I was ready to let her cry a little. She has gotten herself back to sleep and slept all night for the past three nights, but only after 30 minutes of protest in the middle of the night! It's so distressing to listen to that I am up an additional half hour trying to go back to sleep. The sleep deprivation has lead to many pleas to Andy for extra help. That leads to guilt and feelings of innadequacy. And in the midst of it all, God keeps putting these precious people in our church who are really needy from illness or other greater problems in my path. I guess he wants me to keep looking to Him for strength and so He keeps stretching me. Wow, it's so, so, so exhausting!!! I read above about your date night and it sounds glorious! I hope you soaked it up and were blessed by your quiet time! Take care!

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