Saturday, December 11, 2010

#23 - Fear

The other day I was thinking about my list and for some reason the item on it that I seemed to instantly focus on was facing a fear. It got me thinking: What exactly am I afraid of?

I have normal fears: snakes, bugs, scary movies. I don't really think it would be significant to say that if I touch a snake or a bug or make it through a scary movie marathon I could cross this item off my list. I did consider my fear of falling and facing it by going bungee jumping. Although that doesn't so much seem like facing that fear as much as it seems like facing death.

That thought, about facing death, made me think about the fear of death and whether I feared it. (This list thing wasn't exactly intended to make me think deeper... funny how things work themselves out) The truth is that I don't think I fear death. I think what I fear more is regret and knowing that I didn't live my life the way I should have.

Maybe, instead of facing a superficial fear, I should face my fear of living an unfulfilled life and finding fulfillment in the things I have done and the people I've befriended and grown close to.

Of course, that's really not very fun and honestly I think it would take longer than just over 2 years to face that fear. I think what I may do instead is watch a scary movie marathon... at night... with the lights out. Maybe it'll include all the movies that scared me as a child: Gremlins, Child's Play, Nightmare on Elm Street...

I just may need a spend the night guest after that marathon!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Up-a-date! Up-a-date!

My boss actually said that to me once. I think he was feeling particularly hyper or something. So now, whenever I think about the word "update" him saying that pops into my head and I sometimes will say it that way in my mind.

After a bit of thinking about my list I made, I felt that some of those things really aren't necessary to do because I don't actually do them in my life now. Such as learning how to balance my checkbook. I already know how to do that - known how to since I opened my account at 17. I just don't do it. What's the point when I look on my bank's website nearly everyday?

So that got me thinking... what should I do instead? I think something that really is important that probably NEEDS to be done by the time I'm 30 is improving my credit score. Thanks to a couple of nasty little credit cards and graduate school, my score probably looks worse than Chernobyl. So, from here on out, #27 is "Work on improving my credit score."

I will up-a-date this on the original list as well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Christmas Story and #6

I just had the most amazing 4 days off work. Not only did I get to catch up with my old/ex boss (who I miss A LOT!) but I got to give my first Christmas gift, which always makes for a terrific day. I currently am baking MORE cookies (after these past few days, cookies will definitely not be my specialty item to bring to get togethers) to give as another gift tomorrow. That is, if my family doesn't eat all of them first!

Yesterday at church... Well, I should preface this by saying that church during Christmas time is my most favorite time of all. I really make a whole-hearted effort to go to church during Christmastime. Back to yesterday at church... During the service I began thinking back to past Christmases we've had and the funny stories of them. I always imagine telling one of them during the children's minutes of the service and one in particular always sticks out... mainly because it has a great lesson that you can BS into it.

When I was a little girl I wanted this doll for Christmas. That was all I wanted. I wrote to Santa and I told my parents, making sure I had all my bases covered. So a few weeks before Christmas presents started showing up under the tree which led me to do something naughty. I took two gifts (mine of course) from under the tree and sneaked them up to my room to open. In those presents were two dresses for the doll I wanted. I was SO happy! I knew Santa was going to come through for me and had somehow gotten in touch with my parents to let them know that he was bringing me this doll and that they needed to get some clothes for it to prepare for him bringing it.

Christmas morning came and I woke early. It was still dark outside, as it is every Christmas morning in the Morris house. I got excited because I knew that my doll had to be downstairs. I knew that Santa had brought it and it was probably displayed in front of all the gifts for everyone to see. I knew it HAD to be there and that I HAD to go find out that very minute. So I slipped out of bed and tiptoed across my bedroom into the hallway. I crept across the floor to the stairs and slowly slipped down them, careful to avoid the creaky spots. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I peeked around the corner and saw that our living room was all lit up. The tree was lit, the lamps were on and I could see that Santa had been there.

I rushed down the hall to the living room and was ready to see my doll, sitting triumphantly in front of all the other gifts Santa had brought. When I entered the room I stopped dead in my tracks. My doll wasn't there! I glanced around the room, thinking maybe she was somewhere else, but she wasn't. There was no doll. I felt all happiness slowly drain from me as I turned from the room and walked slowly back to the stairs. How could my doll not be there? Why had Santa let me down?

Once I was back in my room I climbed back into my bed and laid there thinking to myself. Why didn't I see my doll? My parents had bought those dresses; didn't Santa tell them he was bringing me a doll? Why didn't he bring her? Maybe I had missed her? Maybe Santa made a mistake and put her in with my brother's gifts? Hope re-entered my body and I decided then and there I was going to find that doll.

I once again slipped out of my bed and made my way to the living room. I searched hard, through my brother's gifts and through mine. But still no doll. I wasn't getting her for Christmas. I climbed back up the stairs and, by this time, my parents had woken up. I guess I wasn't as quiet as I thought. When they saw my devastated face they asked me what was wrong. Tearfully I told them that Santa hadn't brought me my doll. Christmas was ruined.

We woke my brother and went downstairs to open gifts. Santa, man that he is, had brought us lots of great gifts. We had fun playing with them, opening our stockings and then moving on to the gifts under the tree. When it was all over (still no doll) I sat back, still disappointed but happy enough with my gifts. But then my parents pointed out that there was still one gift left.

There was a single box, wrapped up tightly and hidden way behind the tree. I went to pull it out and, lo and behold, it was for me! I carefully unwrapped it, not knowing what on earth it could be. It wasn't my doll, of course. That was Santa's job and he had failed. Miserably.

I pulled back the paper and there, underneath the bright wrapping paper, was the chestnut brown box that I immediately recognized. It couldn't be... it was! It was my doll! It wasn't brought with great fanfare; it wasn't displayed triumphantly for all to see. It was simply wrapped up, hidden away behind the tree for me to discover.

This really is my favorite Christmas story. The funniest part of it - which would never actually be told to the kids - was that I forgot to RETURN the gifts I had opened earlier and had to run and go get them on Christmas morning and tell my parents what I had done. Believe me... that was just the beginning of me opening presents beforehand. Which is why my parents only put out the crappy gifts for me now before Christmas morning.

This story, and the way I imagine I would share it at church, makes me think of Jesus' coming and how everyone believed he would come with a lot of fanfare but instead he came quietly and was wrapped tightly and hidden in a manger for everyone to discover.

And, if you want to go a little deeper into the symbolism, the angels had to tell the shepherds where Jesus was. My parents had to tell me where the gift was. So, symbolically, my parents are my angels. Although, I really think they sometimes are.

So that's my Christmas story... And as for #6 on the list, I've finished Chapter 1 and have started on Chapter 2! Of course, there's no proofreading, but that'll come later!

Friday, December 3, 2010

#16 - Do cookies count?

Despite my lack of cooking know-how, I somehow always seem to get roped into making cookies for something. This time it's a church bake sale my mom is helping with. She signed up for a pecan pie, which she makes (I have no clue about it... one day I'll learn though), and molasses cookies. My molasses cookies that I've been making the past few years. In other words, she signed me up to bring molasses cookies. Oh, mom...

So that got me thinking: could you just be the person who brings desserts to parties and get-togethers? My Aunt Lena always made tea cakes and my dad would always talk about them. "Did Aunt Lena make any tea cakes? Don't eat Aunt Lena's tea cakes. They're no good." You know, as he's eating five of them at a time. Maybe that's what I could be known for. Cookies.

I think in the long run it would save me and my potential family from hating my "signature" dish. My mom's is pineapple casserole. She's been making it since... well, I have no idea since when. It's been that long. Whenever we go to a family get-together everyone always gets excited over it. We, my immediate family, however, HATE it. We're all sick of it, but eat it anyway because a holiday or special meal just wouldn't be the same without it. But everyone likes cookies!

These cookies, when made right, are really awesome. And the recipe makes a ton so there's always extras to snack on for days. They're kind of a pain the butt to make though. Time consuming and kind of labor intensive. Here's the recipe:

3/4 Cup butter or margarine
1 Cup white sugar
1 Egg
1 Cup molasses
2 Cups All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup white sugar
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted margarine, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture. Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining white sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks.

I usually increase the cloves because we never have ginger in the house. Or I'll use a little of that 10 year old box of pumpkin pie spice. Whatever you want to do.

Maybe this is a cop-out. Maybe thinking that cookies will satisfy this item on my list is just laziness. I'm not going to give into temptation, but it sure would be nice if all I had to do was make cookies whenever I went somewhere, but these probably wouldn't be the best ones (even though they're yummy!). They're definitely more of a winter cookie. I couldn't imagine enjoying them quite as much when it's 90 degrees outside!

So I guess it's back to the drawing board finding a recipe... Hopefully I'll find one soon!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#6 - Such a novel idea

After reviewing my list of things to do I realized that none of them could really be done right away. They'd all take a little bit of planning and saving and whatnot. Which was a little disappointing because after making my list I wanted to get started right away. So I decided to start with #6 - Write a book.

I've always enjoyed writing - kind of my dorky little secret. I love editing writing even more. Call me crazy but I get this funny kind of high from correcting mistakes, especially if I get to use a red pen. When I was in high school whenever we would have papers all my friends used to get me to proofread theirs. I guess that's when the real dorkiness started. I digress.

Ever since I was little it was a dream of mine to write a book. Maybe not so much to get it published and become a world famous writer, but just to say that I wrote something and others enjoyed it. Even if it's just my friends. Which I hope they'll want to read if I ever finish.

So, going back to my original point, I began writing the other day and, as always, I think it's total crap. I think my main problem when I write is that I compare myself too much to others. I'll read some of my favorite books to see how that author started a chapter or how they described certain scenes and then reread mine and think that it's nowhere near that good.

I guess that's where the editing problem comes in. I'm so concerned about it being good and perfect that I miss out on the adventure of letting things come to life on the page. I've written things before and have gotten lost in the story. For some reason I haven't been able to do that so far.

All in all, I'm kind of excited about this particular item on my list. Probably more than most of them. I think this is my own way of doing a job I love and am really wanting to push myself to actually complete it. Last word count was just over 1,700. Hopefully more will come!