sick as a dog

Coming at you live from the doctor today… Trying to get over whatever it is that I and everyone else seem to have. Hope you don’t have it yourself! Here’s a puppy pic to make you (and me) feel better. Happy week before Christmas! I’m headed home tomorrow so other than they yuck I’m feeling pretty good.

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unwrapping the memories of christmas cookies. (and a recipe.)

lone cookie

I don’t own any cookie cutters. I was preparing to make Christmas cookies with the kids I nanny for the other day, and I tried to remember whether I had any. I thought surely I did, I mean, who doesn’t have cookie cutters, right? Who didn’t grow up making lopsided stars and headless snowmen and deformed Christmas trees out of flattened dough that never seemed to fit as many cookies as you wanted it to?

I looked online for a recipe that I could use, searching for one that looked like the typical sugar cookie dough we could use with the cutters. I found a recipe that had great reviews, decided to make it, and then realized that it didn’t have almond flavoring in it.

I hated almond flavoring growing up. My mom used a recipe that called for the flavoring in both the cookie and the frosting, and I always tried to make her put less than the recipe called for. But then, one year, I don’t know why or how, I started to like it. By then I was old enough to make the dough myself, so I would even put in a few extra drops sometimes.

So of course, when I decided that we would be making Christmas cookies this year, I wanted to use almond flavoring. So what did I do when I couldn’t find one online? What I should have done in the first place. I called mom.

Now, I’ve been frustrated recently, because my mom has started to send me to Google every time I ask her for a recipe of hers. Somehow I haven’t been able to convince her that when I call her looking for a recipe, I want the one I grew up eating, not one that is sort of similar or has the same name or sounds like it is probably better than hers. But when I asked for the cookie recipe, she didn’t try sending me to Google first, and she knew exactly where to find it. I think it’s because she loves the recipe so much herself. It’s that almond flavoring.

The last time I had made these cookies was a few years ago with some friends from Nashville, because we hadn’t done it for years and so we could serve them at my Christmas party. Do you know how hard it is to make the cookies look like they weren’t made and decorated by five year olds? It’s impossible.

So it was good to have some actual five year olds working on this year’s batch, so I could blame my artistry on them if needed.

cookie recipe

Once again, I had my mom take a picture of the recipe and send it to me, so I’ve posted it here for you, in its original form. It comes from the Memphis Cookbook, one of the books in my mother’s pantry that is covered in food stains and falling apart at the seams. I don’t think I changed a thing about the recipe on here.

Oh, and don’t forget the icing. It’s the best part. And use food coloring! It makes everything more fun.

cookie exchange

My portion of the cookies made their debut at a cookie exchange with some seminary friends, and I’ve been finishing them off bit by bit since then. {I’ve still got some dough in my fridge…shhh….}

It’s little things like making Christmas cookies from your childhood that make this season the wonderful time that it is. Don’t forget to notice the little things. They are often the things that make life special, and we can easily miss them when we try too hard to get the big things.

Merry Christmas,

me

{this post is a part of Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting At The Sky. Go check it out!}

why i hate the internet

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Remember when the internet was this cool new thing where you could search for information and download free songs and play games like Snood? Remember when Facebook was just a place to put up pictures and poke your friends and join as many ironic groups as you possibly could? Remember when we lived our lives in person instead of online in this virtual arena where anything goes but every move you make is being watched by everyone?

I miss those days. Now, I feel like the internet is just one more thing I have to do. Particularly as a freelance writer, and a blogger, I feel like if I haven’t posted a picture on Instagram in a couple of days I’m falling behind on my duties.

But even for people who don’t blog or write for a living, I feel like “online presence” has become just another line on a resume. If a job you want has anything to do with communicating with other people (…), they want to make sure that you have an active Facebook page (but don’t have too much fun! They’re watching you…), seventy thousand recommendations on LinkedIn, a billion Twitter followers, and whatever the heck you do with Google+.

Let me tell you a little something about Google+. Screw that. I’m so sick of all these new “social” networks that we’re obligated to be a part of if we want any chance of keeping up with the virtual Joneses and having any type of career in the next decade, because if you don’t have the right circles in Google+ they aren’t going to let you into law school. I’m drawing the line at Google+. I think I even have a profile or whatever they call it (probably something much cooler than ‘profile’, that’s too Facebook-y), but I gave up after I created it. Screw that.

I love blogging. It’s such a great way to write what I want, when I want, and not simply to my journal. It has been so fun becoming a part of the blogging community, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. But I don’t want to tweet something just so that I can maybe get one more follower. I don’t want to comment on my friend’s blog or a blog I like because I secretly want to steal followers from them with my brilliant comment-writing skills. I just want to freaking write. Is that too much to ask?

I don’t even want to begin to calculate the hours I waste online. I try to tell myself it’s helpful, that I’m reading informative articles or catching up on my friends’ lives or increasing my online reach or helping my career. But most of the time, I’m just putting off all of the real life things that I could be doing to actually enrich my life (or make money, or improve my writing, or keep me healthy, or strengthen relationships, or anything else that’s much better than scanning my news feed). There’s just too much information out there, and it’s bogging me down.

I don’t really have a solution for any of my grumblings, I just wanted to vent. I’m definitely going to try to think of ways to keep my online usage to a minimum, ways to be more productive, to get less distracted, and so on. But for this post, I just wanted to vent.

Now get back to work, ya slacker!

-me.

the end of an era, or rather, two

happy birthday to me

Today is my last day as a twenty-six year old. Tomorrow, I will officially be in my late twenties. At twenty-six, you can still say that you are in your mid-twenties and get away with it. No, you’re not twenty-five anymore, you’ve passed that milestone, but you’re still pretty close. Now, in my twenty-seventh year, I’ll be pretty undeniably entering into my late twenties. I’m old.

This is also my last week as a newlywed. As of Monday of next week, I will officially be in my second year of marriage. No longer will we garner the sweetly condescending looks from people when we tell them we’ve only been married for a matter of months. From now on, we count our marriage in years. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, but we’ve made it through one year. Apparently that’s quite a feat.

I swear people make the first year of marriage sound like some sort of military boot camp, the way they talk about it. Maybe one day we’ll look back on it and go “Wow, what a horrible year! Things are so much better now, I can’t believe we ever made it!” But right now, I don’t feel like we’ve been crawling through the trenches for twelve months, a tiny glimpse of sunlight finally showing through the clouds. I feel like we’ve had a pretty decent first year of marriage.

In my twenty-seventh year, I hope to become a novelist. Maybe even a published one, who knows. A month ago, I would have laughed at the idea, but now that I’ve written a large part of one, it’s not so crazy of a thought. I’m holding loosely to the goal, but it’s something that would be cool. I feel lucky to have been crazy enough to start writing a book so young, that way I can blame my extreme immaturity for how horrible it was, once I’ve written my bestsellers later on, in my thirties, when I’m really old. (Just kidding, all you old people out there).

I’m off to enjoy my last day as a mid-twenty-something by taking care of three young children, followed by more taking care of children. A baby, in fact. Hopefully things won’t get too out of hand. Gotta enjoy it while I’m young!

-me.

tuesdays unwrapped

coffee mug

It’s a perfectly wintry day here in New England. It’s surprisingly warm, apparently, at a mere fifty degrees. But it’s overcast, which makes it feel colder. I’m sitting on my couch sipping coffee out of my Santa mug, looking past my lighted Christmas tree to the leafless trees outside my window.

Friday is my birthday. Monday is my one year wedding anniversary. In a little over two weeks I will go home to be with my family and friends for the holidays. Right now, I’m content.

Even as I prepare to go to work, I think of the chickens that I can see in the distance from the kitchen window of the house where I nanny. I remember seeing them one morning, unable to make out what they were across the field until I realized by their clumsy half-flight that they must have been chickens. Sometimes I just stop and watch them, and it’s the most peaceful thing I do all day. I have no idea why. I hope they are there this afternoon.

For now, I look out my window, until I have to rush out the door so as not to be late picking up the three year old from school. I will enjoy this for as long as I can.

This post is a part of Tuesdays Unwrapped, over on Chatting At The Sky.

-me.

p.s. Yes, it is snowing on my blog.