In the season of the naughty and nice lists, I’d like to add another: Things I have no business doing.
I don’t know if it’s because it’s the end of the year, or because I’ve simply lost all good sense by the time the 12th month rolls around, but it’s wreaking havoc on me.
As I commented in my previous post, for some reason I have this yearning to be creative at Christmas time. However, as I was unable to locate a single wreath shaped piece of styrofoam at Michael’s, my creative itch remains fundamentally un-scratched.
However, thanks to the office pot luck, I was able to channel some of that creative energy into baking. As hubby is typically the chef in the house, this was one of those things I haven’t done – from scratch – in probably ten years. I decided to make Ginger snap cookies in snowflake shapes. (Ah, how adorable!) Yeah, right. I get this genius idea on a work night and start the process of grating a real ginger root at about 6:00.
Challenge number one: When a recipe tells you to use a standing mixer with paddles, they are NOT jacking around. I do not have such a machine, however, so I mixed it by hand. No big deal, right? Wrong. My wrist began to spasm and twitch so badly I spilled my old-fashioned all over myself while trying to take a sip. Now THAT’s tragic.
Challenge number two: Icing. I don’t have one of those icing decorator squeezy things, (people who know their way around baking tools, please stop yelling at me), and I bought the wrong size decorative tip to go on the tube of icing I purchased, so I had to give up and just spread the icing on the cookies with a knife. This really isn’t a tragedy, but I had a picture in my head of these lovely cookies decorated with lacy white icing, so it was disappointing to someone who is crazy, like I am. Plus, I was up WAY past my bedtime.
By the end of this little process I hated the cookies and the icing, and the pot luck idea. Some people actually liked the cookies though, so in the end, it was all worth it.
Not really. But what I do know now is WHY I haven’t baked in umpteen years.
Strangely, this didn’t dampen my adventurous holiday spirit. I actually decided to do something else I hadn’t done in forever. Ride a bike. Seriously, I have not been on a bike in eons. Even the early news to friends and family (casually) that I was going on a bike ride in the afternoon resulted in gasps and in one case (my mother) begging me not to do it. “Not right before Christmas, Ann! We don’t need another injury!” In response I did what I have done since I was 6. I waved away her concern and told her I’d be fine. Hey, I’m EVENTUALLY fine, after a period of recovery.
So my husband, (whose idea this was), and who obviously has it out for me, decides to put me in shorts and big gloves and a helmet and ear covers and some sort of goggles and points a terrified, unbalanced (in many ways) me toward the street on a bicycle – with him in the lead. I won’t go into detail, but we rode too far, too seriously and on streets that were too bumpy and too up hill on our way to the lake. Then we headed back. Somehow both ways were up hill. I swear. Really.
There was one brief moment when I thought I was going to get hit by a car, but I have been reassured that the guy saw me and was totally NOT going to run me over. Truthfully, I don’t think I really would have minded being run over at that point. In fact, it might have been the bike’s attempt to commit suicide when it stopped in the middle of the three lanes of northbound traffic. Maybe bikes are like horses and can smell fear and inexperience.
I also discovered that extreme exercise when your body is not used to doing more than walking up a flight of stairs at a leisurely pace results in the vocabulary of a sailor. A very salty sailor. Plus, at one point, in an attempt to motivate myself up one of those hills, I pedaled in rhythm to this mantra as I glared at hubby’s back – “I will get you… I will get you…must sleep some time…must sleep some time…”
I think I will go back out on the bike again sometime. Maybe when the sun is out and it’s a little warmer than 58 degrees. Now it’s a challenge and I HAVE to win.
Plus, I’d rather attempt crossing 6 lanes of traffic on the bike than blend that cookie dough by hand again.
Other things I have done in the past week I have no business doing? Speaking to homeless people, mailing anything to an international destination, pretending I can design attractive things on Zazzle and shopping online.
I think there’s something I’m forgetting about handing a three-year old a glass of chocolate milk when she’s sitting on my antique Chippendale sofa, but surely even I wouldn’t be as insane as to do something like that.