Saturday, December 30, 2006

Healthy Cookies

Most of us have thoroughly experienced the abundance of being gifted at Christmas (or other December holidays--whatever you celebrate), and we've probably consumed more sugar than we usually would, at least we have at our house. Mostly. My oldest son, Spencer (decked out in a three-piece suit he purchased by himself for a recent high school band concert), made a new version for us this year of our annual Santa's Whiskers cookies when I had too much to do and he offered to help. He followed the recipe, sort of. I was off doing something else and when it was time to add the flour, he grabbed what he thought was a jar of flour. Turns out he grabbed an unlabelled glass jar of 7-grain organic pancake mix--close, but not quite. The label fell off the jar last month and I hadn't replaced it yet, but no need to ask a question to make sure. Never mind that there were two full jars of flour--with labels--nearby. When it came time to add the vanilla, since it's an old recipe that's been smeared some over the years, he thought it read 2 T. instead of 2 t. A big difference in a Very Vanilla sort of way. He used half the sugar the original recipe called for, which is what I always do when I bake (that's my boy), but combined with the ultra-grainy Very Vanilla pancake mix flour, the cookie dough tasted nothing like they're supposed to and looked, as my husband put it, "too healthy." We haven't baked them yet, they're still in the freezer. Perhaps the dogs will think they're great dog biscuits and be enticed to come in at night for their yummy reward. Perhaps if Colorado will send some snow our way, we'll make a fresh batch of re-named Snowstorm cookies. [Disclaimer: To his credit, Spencer has baked cookies many times before this episode and they've been very delicious.]

End of the Year Thoughts...

The month of December--in fact, the whole darn year--has flown by. Yours probably, too. I had great intentions of writing blog posts throughout this month, but obligations and commitments (seasonal and the ordinary) got in the way. (No resolutions, but I aim to blog more frequently next year.) One of my many tasks as foster care provider is writing a quarterly report for Medicaid, the next is due January 1. This meant putting together the report this past week, when I'd rather relax and enjoy the peaceful days following Christmas. Job priorities came first. Still, there have been some quiet moments to reflect and to share hopeful conversations about the coming year with my husband over a glass of red wine (what else?)

During a few phone conversations over the holidays, I noticed it was a bit different this year. Since I no longer own and operate a mortgage business (see November posts), that topic of conversation has ceased to exist, especially for relatives whom I speak to infrequently. No polite questions about how my loans are going, how business has been, or thoughts on the housing market in general. My current job as a care provider is almost too weird for people to ask about, reminding me of when we moved to Floyd the summer of 1999. Family members latched onto the fact that Floyd is a one stoplight town (that's it in the photo). They asked the same questions "Is there a grocery store?," "Where will you work?," or "Why do you want to live there?" It's no different now--only people aren't sure what to ask about this strange and wonderful job I have taking care of a live-in client, so they ask "How is it going?" or nothing at all.

How many of us have had a job that defined who we were or became our identity, at least in part? That is what happened with me in the mortgage business. I had a job as a mortgage broker, but it wasn't who I was. Yet 90% of the conversations I had with people in town or with family started with "How's business?" or "What are rates doing?" I know they meant well, but it always bothered me. Thankfully, I'm still me under the care provider hat. It's the only job I've had where I feel like my title isn't stamped on my forehead. Since shedding the mortgage broker skin I'm rediscovering who I am, and as corny as this will sound, I'm settling into being myself. This coupled with a light-bulb-on-over-the-head realization that I continued to evolve during my decade as a mortgage broker--despite it all.

I love this time of year...welcoming a fresh start full of hope and promise. Interesting and exhilirating discoveries lie ahead. I hope you are as ready as I am. Ready for snow and all things good, from Floyd County....