Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waxing and Waning

My Henry, back in 2003.  He wasn't so sure he wanted any part of the night back then!  Now, all 3 of my children are night-owls like their mother.
     My natural tendencies are those of the night-owl.  Left to my own devices, I will stay up later and later, sleeping in later and later the next morning.  Eventually, I will settle at a 2 or 3am bedtime, awakening between 9 and 10am.  The problem, you see, is that the rest of the world refuses to adjust to my schedule.  By the time I have staggered around and gotten some coffee into my system, I am left with the distinct feeling that I have wasted my whole day.  Yes, "I have been one acquainted with the night."  (Click here to read this gorgeous poem by Robert Frost.)  I continue to struggle with my conflicting feelings.  On the one hand, I adore the quiet beauty of the night, the way its blanket of dark air embraces me, the selfish indulgence of the solitude.  On the other hand, I love being with my family and friends, and I prefer the efficiency of the early-to-bed-early-to-rise schedule.  The manager in me loves the day; the poet in me loves the night.
     Why are we humans so given to struggle?  Our entire history is a story of struggle.  God even named His people after struggle.  The Hebrew word Israel is said to mean "He struggles with God."  We struggle between selfishness and our desire to sacrifice for the good of others.  We struggle between our cravings and our desire for good health.  We struggle between our love of sunshine and our need for rain.  We even struggle with our envy of people who seem to have given up struggling.  In the spirit of poetry and struggle, I share with you a poem I have written about my recent struggle.  


by Donna Craig.  August, 2012

She packed up her life
To take it away
Her heart beats with joy
As she waits for the day
And I cry cry cry
I am dying inside.

We load up the car
With parts of my life
My last glimpse of my Bridget as we drove away from her dorm.
I miss her so much!
My heart in my throat
Her glee like a knife
And I dread, dread, dread
The road which lies ahead.

We leave her behind
She waves at the door
My eyes ache with strain
But I see her no more
They are dry, dry, dry
And I can't explain why.

We talk on the phone
The light in her face
My heart is at peace
She has found her own place
And I smile, smile, smile
They're just ours for a while.

     Since we are on the topic of struggle, I would also like to share with you that I have struggled between keeping this blog literary, and offering something practical to you.  I have decided to stop struggling, and to offer you a bit of each.  On the practical side, I would like to say that I have struggled a bit with the fact that we as a culture pay for professional services in an incredible number of areas of life.  Growing up, no one I knew ever paid someone to perform simple tasks such as washing a car (except for fundraisers), bathing a dog, painting your toenails, or making sweet tea.  In the brief time that it took me to reach the age of 44, I suddenly know hardly anyone who does these things for themselves.  Not only do all of my friends have perpetually perfect eyebrows, but also, they pay someone to create them! Then they tell me their budgets are tight.  Well, no wonder.  We have forgotten how to use a boxed cake mix.  
     My contribution to your sense of competence this week:  How to turn 15 minutes (including cleanup) into a pan of  Rice Krispie Treats.  A whole pan of them for less than $3.00.  And you have a better idea of what is in them.  Also, get your children involved, if you have them.  The kitchen is a wonderful place to bond, and they can easily take over this task once they learn and are old enough.  If you are thinking I am foolish for including such a simple and ubiquitous recipe in my blog, I hope you have never paid Keebler to make these treats for you!

Rice Krispie Treats
1/4 cup butter or margarine (I always use butter at home, never margarine)
1 normal bag of marshmallows
6 cups of crisped rice cereal (off-brand is great)
     Prepare a 9X11 pan by spraying pam on the bottom and sides.  Set aside.
     Place the marshmallows and butter (cut up a bit and scattered onto marshmallows) in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high in 1-minute bursts.  Stir between bursts.  I usually only go 2 minutes in my powerful microwave, but three is normal.  The marshmallows will puff up, then melt when you stir them.  When they are a thick melty liquid, stir the cereal in quickly.  
My husband, brother, and sister-in-law try to look gangsta while eating
Rice Krispie Treats, with mixed results.  It's no easy feat.
     Dump mixture into pan.  Moisten your hands with cold water and press the cereal lightly into the pan to fill it up and be fairly smooth on top.  Cool and cut into smallish squares.  Wash the pans immediately (it's better to just have it over with).  Try not to eat them all in one sitting.  I put them in  cheap baggies so they are ready to go into lunch boxes.  What?  You don't make lunches?  Well, that is another blog altogether.
     This recipe is incredibly flexible.  You can experiment with different cereals, add frosting to the top, stir in chips (they'll get melty), etc.    Have fun!