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3:28 p.m. - 2012-12-13
Living the Rich Life.

I'm waiting for bread to rise.

Not that this is apropos of anything, I just wanted to get that in because it's still hella cool to me that I can make bread. Previous to the Kitchen-Aid if pushed I could have probably whomped up some corn tortillas- corn meal, water, a hot rock, this was doable, but fluffy bread with yeast and shit? Me? Not on your tintype, girly-girl. (Props to those who recognize the quote.)

My stand mixer has made me brave. Like the Cowardly Lion and his medal, the acquisition of a thing that says I am a certain way has given me the chops to BE that way. The Lion's medal said he was valorous and he suddenly had all kinds of mad courage, my stand mixer said I was a total badass in the kitchen and suddenly I am.

Yeah, I know I was already really good at some kinds of cooking, but now I'm into baking and that's a whole other deal. Baking means precision. Exact ingredients. In exact amounts. Mixed and baked for exactly the right length of time. Maybe some years down the road I might have enough experience to wing it as I do with non-baking type foods. I'll have the know-how to make adequate substitutions and add my own variations, but right now it's strictly by the book. In fact the dough I'm waiting on has me worried, I could NOT find the kitchen thermometer and think the water I dissolved the yeast in was a little too hot. Dead yeast means no floofing action. Means I discretely bury my failed dough in the trash and quietly strike the fresh baguette off tonight's dinner menu. No one the wiser except you good folk and I know you'll be kind about it.

So would Wolf and Mick actually. My son is fiercely protective of my feelings. Unusual in any teenaged offspring, almost unheard of for an Aspie teenager. And as I said to Steph yesterday as I anxiously awaited her verdict about my peanut butter cookies, Mick would eat the entire batch and praise them to the heavens even if they tasted like lumps of sawdust. He would too. Mick might be a terrific First Reader, but as a food critic his love for me always trumps honesty. Hence me being on tenterhooks while Stephanie tried the cookies. Fortunately she declared them to be wonderful. I trust Stephanie would give me an honest review. She loves me too, but she also understands the necessity of being forthright about stuff like this. Otherwise I'd go around inflicting sawdust cookies on others. My darling Steph would spare me that embarrassment.

Yes, I got to go see my friend yesterday and we had a fine time. The trip odometer said it was 35.7 miles from my driveway to hers, not an outrageous distance really, but just far enough away to make each visit an Event. To go to Steph's requires thought and effort. There are tolls. There are bridges. There are small speed-trap towns to pass through. We each have to schedule and devote the better part of a day to have a good visit. Time is always an issue. We laughed and agreed if she lived just down the street the two of us would soon find our marriages and our bank accounts in serious trouble. We'd be running around together all the time and neglecting our responsibilities to family and career. There'd be an unending spree of shopping, lunches out, and hours' long conversations. Dogs would go unwalked. Houses uncleaned. Meals unprepared. No. As much a pleasure it would be to have this most wonderful of friends nearby I think our lives and our friendship are better off this way. We speak electronically every day anyhow and our connection is so deep and intimate that I know exactly what's doing with her just by the choice of music videos she posts on FB and she knows how it is with me by the quality of words I put down in our Wordscraper games.

So it went with our exchange of Christmas goodies yesterday. She gave me pretties and fun things and I gave her something workaday and needed. Right now the wheel of fortune has spun so I'm in an easy place and hers is rocky. Without any discussion about it we each knew what the other could use best. Over the years it's gone the other direction and has been in the middle ground too. We always know and don't ever need to fuss about it. We're there for each other as necessary. Truly a blessing.

This was something we talked about at length yesterday. Not Christmas presents, but how Life is always on the move. We marveled that her elder daughter just turned 26 and that Alex is sliding into 30. We've known each other as single mothers and as happily re-married. Over the years we've gotten pets, gone through menopause, cut off our hair and grown it back out, been skinny and fat, bought houses, changed careers, learned how to garden and knit and ballroom dance. Together we've cleaned make-up brushes, seen plays, sympathized about root canals and crow's feet. We've been there through deaths. We exchange books, recipes, dvds, and pictures of our kids. She knew Wolf when he wasn't even potty-trained yet and is still staggered that she has to reach UP to hug my ridiculously tall son now. We marveled how our friendship has been so constant and as we go about our days it feels like same old- same old, yet because we are the keepers of time for each other we keep track of the growth and change.

Yesterday she shrieked and marveled over my long neatly sculpted brown hair. Then when I tossed off a comment about all I need was a frilly blouse and walking stick and I'd be a dead ringer for Oscar Wilde she fell over laughing and said she had an Oscar Wilde action figure.

Have there ever been two friends better suited? I think not.

*The bread rose! YAY!! I promised Wolf he'd get to punch it down the next time I made bread. He'll be home in a few and will slug my delightfully fluffy dough for me as promised.

What else is going on? Well, my Christmas shopping is almost finished. I have a short list. Zero obligatory buying, everything I give is a pleasure. No boss to suck up to. No co-workers and the secret Santa (though those are fun for me), no ridiculous extended family to court bankruptcy for. All gifts are given from the heart and because I bloody well want to.

Netflix has unexpectedly come across and I watched a fab film adaptation of 'Treasure Island'. Made in 2012. Eddie Izzard (my celebrity lookalike) as Long John Silver. Elijah Wood (creepy to me, his eyes open far too wide) as Ben Gunn. Mrs Hawkins was played by Shirley Henderson aka: Moaning Myrtle. Very fun! I had no basis of comparison since I've never read Robert Louis Stevenson's original nor had seen any previous screen versions. Sue me, I had no literary mentors growing up. I've fumbled my way along through the great and popular works on my own. So this 'Treasure Island' imprints as THE 'Treasure Island'. I'll probably get around to reading the original as I had 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde' after so many years of outside influence, most especially this...

Hey, most of what I knew about classical music and opera came from Bugs Bunny too. Without Bugs I might have never known about Strauss or Wagner or Rossini. One gets their cultural literacy where one can.

Just for chucks if you have the time...

Life without Bugs or Stephanie would be soooo empty.

Off to bake baguettes and broil steaks, ~LA

2 Wanna talk about it!

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