Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Drop a subtle hint, and if that doesn't work? Try a brick on the toe.

My life is awkward.  This is not a new realization nor is it one that plans to go away soon but as I reflect on on-goings that have occurred throughout any given day, many times all I can say is, huh.  We already know example 1: drummer boy (as mentioned in the previous post).  Most recent example? The dad.  And yes that is his nickname.  The dad.  It all started few weeks ago when a student from a neighboring class began asking me if I was married.  I laughed (because that is how I respond to the fact that my perfectly mapped-out-since-childhood plan has not come even close to being my current reality) and continued on my way.  The girl was persistent.  Every day as I past her she would ask, "Ms. A., are you married?"  Finally one day I answered her question, "No, I am not." and sighed.  The very next day as I passed her again (thinking we had long since moved passed the are-you-married question, she told me, "Ms. A.! My dad thinks your pretty."  I walked by and said nothing.  Sometimes the things you don't acknowledge you never have to deal with, right? Wrong.  The next day she reminded me the exact. same. thing.  Awkward.  Not only that but her teacher that very  day was reading a fairy tale and at the end when they lived happily ever after, she shouted, "Like my dad and Ms. A!" Awkward. As the day was ending, she ran up to tell me that her dad was going to ask me out to dinner that weekend.  Awkward. Sure enough as I was on the street, stop sign in the air at crosswalk duty, she raced up with a note from her dad and his number.  Awkward. But it doesn't stop there. On a scale of 1 to awkward, this story is really currently only about a 9, not exceedingly awkward.  It did not reach the complete awkward stage until yesterday when she reported that her dad was going to bring me flowers.  Awk.ward. Now you need to know that I have never actually even spoken a word to her dad.  I have just received a note and many a smile and a wave from the distance and reports from the student.  I do not know whether these alleged flowers will ever arrive to my classroom but so far her new flashes have been correct, so I am fearful.  Fearful of a single dad who is smittened with a teacher at his daughter's school.  As the school bell rings each day, I now stall in my classroom for as long as possible before casually making my way to the door to dismiss my kiddos wishing I had 360 vision to be on my guard at all times.  I dread the day when those flowers show up and I have to tell him that this is not a good life choice.  I would rather hide or make a t-shirt that says, "go away" or drop a million subtle hints than say 3 frank sentences to end this massive attack of awkward. 

I would really like to excel at subtle hints, the art of letting people know what you think or feel without ever actually telling them anything.  It is something that would be great to master but it does not always seem to be as effective as anticipated.  Sometimes I wish that people would read between the lines so I could avoid that uncomfortable conversation of telling them that they smell like they may have skipped a day or twenty of showering or that they have a piece of spinach the size of Texas between their teeth.

One of the worst things is when subtle hints have to occur with food. Those moments when you are a guest at some one's house and what they have prepared looks repulsive and you don't want to even touch it.  If we are being honest, I fear that many days of my life because almost every thing I bake is only baked once.  I've never baked it before and I might not ever bake it again because I'm on to the next experiment.  Eating my treats comes with a risk that it is not good.  As people take that first bite into something I bake, I hold my breath and my whole body tenses as I watch them react to their first bite.  These red velvet brownies with cream cheese drizzle were amongst one of my highest feared desserts I've made.  First, it was bright red.  Second, it did the high altitude puff and cave trick. Third, it did not come out in perfectly immaculate even squares.  This was not promising.  I brought it to my friend's house for meatless Monday and I was half ready to toss it, kidnap them all and take them to Yogurtland for frozen yogurt instead and pretend that the dog ate the brownies off our kitchen table or they were abducted by aliens to be tested for scientific purposes.  In the end though I brought it, scooped it into the ramekins (dishes whose main purpose is to make even Twinkies look gourmet when placed inside) and we dug in.  I watched their facial expressions and decided their thoughts.  I sighed a big sigh of relief as they scarfed their brownies and giggled as my friend who joined us later in the night, bit into his portion as we were discussing a pretty heavy topic of a local shooting that had happened nearby and his face of deep concern melted into a grin in 3 seconds flat. 

Obviously my fears were not supported by evidence and this was yet another win for team sugar.  No subtle hints were needed to let me know their opinion about this baked creation (although I am sure that they would all be in favor of some magical tweaks to the recipe that would make it sugar-free, fat-free, calorie-free).  The verdict was? Delicious.  To the core.  (Although I am not going to share the recipe because of the aforementioned puff-and-cave-crisis that drives me to perfect this recipe before revealing.) I think I'll just have to make it again and make it EVEN MORE wipe-the-drool-off-your-face fantastic than it already is. Don't be alarmed if you are a victim in my next attempt and I am fixated on your face as you enjoy it.  I'm just searching for those subtle hints.  What you really think about my creation? I hope your face tells it all.  I can handle a silent nose scrunch much better than a, "Kirsten thanks for your repulsive baked good. I am going to vomit now." I'll take the subtle hint instead please.

About the only place I demand great clarity is in things of the Lord.  His steps, His plan, His purpose for my life, who He is, and what He's all about.  Luckily, God is a God of purpose.  He makes His presence known in beautiful ways.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.  In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth." Psalm 19:1-6

Monday, October 15, 2012

I lost my muse. Baked it into one of my cakes.

It has been a MONTH since I have put anything on my blog.  It's not that baking hasn't occurred, it has.  It's not that it hasn't been delicious, it has but I momentarily lost my muse. In case you didn't know, muses are kind of a crucial element to all things of passion.  The pursuit of a greater purposes are often driven by the presence of one such muse.  Just ask my friend who I fondly refer to as drummer boy.  Upon approaching me on the dance floor at my usual Sunday salsa spot he decidedly made me his muse and was inspired to spin me, flip me and even drum on my stomach and go into some whimsical pickup line about me being the drum and he the drummer, being the lyrics to his song blah blah blah *vomit*. Yeah it happened.  Inspiration sparked this relentless pursuit and quasi stalking for weeks on end all under the guise of "you're my muse." 
So... muse? Necessary.  My muse? Missing. Until this very delightful cake with a whole in the middle (that I couldn't bake without quoting a million lines from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) came into my life

Let's talk about the magic that happens when you combine chocolate and pumpkin into a fantastically moist and marbled creation and add 3 times the spices the recipe calls for and cover with a little bit of cream cheese glaze and a whole lot of love.  I would like to propose this very recipe as one of the top ten reasons autumn is the best season, right along there with the ability to wear scarves and boots (boots of course being reasons 1,2, AND 3 because everybody should enjoy one or five good pairs of boots).  Meet my muse: Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake. This little glory re-lit the dying flame in my heart and inspired a visit back to my blog.

So, friends? Finally, I'm back and I'm planning my next adventure.  I aim to spending many nights covered with flour and turning our kitchen inside out for hours at a time to build great creations at club350degrees. I have so many ideas for future projects, I am fairly certain brain explosion is a likely occurrence.  Inner spontaneous combustion. Hey, you never know, it could happen!

In the recent days, my passion has slowly began to build momentum, and I cannot deny that it feels good to be getting back to my overachieving-doing-5-people's-worth-of-stuff-in-one-day way of being.  There's a comfort in the busy for me.  I know y'all are probably reading this and thinking, um...Kirsten? When you wrote this I had already been asleep for hours, but I just haven't ever been the plop-on-the-couch-and-veg type. I've been more the go-to-bed-at-12-or-1-wake-up-at-6-complain-I'm-tired-guzzle-liters-of-caffeinated-products-repeat-type.

The caveat to my energizer bunny pace of life is that often there are not near enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I want out of life. So there comes a point when a reality check is necessary.  So many activities can fill a day. So many days fill a year. Years fill a life. These activities, then, demand a purpose, to be pursued intentionally and with great expectation.  This reality does not require a scaling back or muting of me but it makes necessary the careful selection of what fills my life. Each step taken, each decision made with boldness unveils the path set before me.  I am by no means claiming that everyone needs to be consuming masses of caffeine and never standing still like me, but I do believe that our life can have great meaning if we pursue our passions relentlessly. For me? For now? I'm gonna serve my God, teach the socks off my kiddos, shake and bake. Readyyyy, go! Yup.

"Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established"
Proverbs 15:22