Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Doughnut Fry

We had a doughnut fry yesterday. But before I write about that, I have to mention this. I seem to have an unusually strong connection with the past. I'm sure that many of the things that I like to make or do seem old-fashioned. And that is exactly why I do them.
For instance, I like to knit. And one of the reasons I knit is because it reminds me of my grandma. When I sit and make that soft tic-tic sound with my needles, it's as if grandma is right there beside me, her hands busy as they always were. If ever a turkey dressing is required, I can only make her recipe. It doesn't matter that I've seen hundreds of different recipes, and some of them actually sound good. If I'm going to make it, it has to be hers. The same thing goes for pie. Perish the thought of making anything other than my mother's pie crust recipe.
And so, back to doughnuts.
Making doughnuts requires a wintry day. It's best if you've been out sledding or tubing and come in to warm up and find hot, crispy doughnuts waiting. At least, that's the way it was for me and my cousins when I was growing up. In fact, the only time we had homemade doughnuts was after a full day in the snow. We'd come home to hot chili, cocoa, and Aunt Ann's steaming, crispy doughnuts, fresh from the fryer.
That's the ideal, anyway. And I've attempted to recreate that mood a couple of times in the past. But it didn't happen yesterday. It was wintry, but we didn't play in the snow. I made up a batch of dough, then we sat down and settled into an involved game of Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights. We fried the doughnuts later, after Jeff had proved himself, once again, the master of games in our family. The girls helped cut them, I did the frying, and Tamsyn dunked them in glaze. Megyn ended up with a splash of hot oil on her finger, but it wasn't bad enough to spoil the fun. We enjoyed them with hot cocoa and sticky fingers.
Would it have been easier to run to the grocery store and buy some? Sure, but who said passing along tradition was easy?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Seeking the Balance

I've never been good at a journal. And that's ironic, because one thing I feel strongly is that we need stories, we need to hear them and we need to share them. And so, here is my attempt to share some stories of my life---and maybe a few other things along the way.
But first, here is my pledge for this blog: I will try to strike a balance.
Let me explain. Way back when, when I was called to be a missionary, I determined that all of my letters home would be positive. And I was pretty successful at that goal. There were days when it was hard to find anything positive to write about. But I'd begin anyway, forcing myself to find the good in the week. Usually, by the end of the letter, something interesting had happened. Not only had I found something good, but I felt better, too. It was a good exercise in the power of positive thinking.
However, there was a downside to my approach. When I read those letters now, I don't see a true vision of my mission. Yes, it was a great time, and those letters show that, but that's almost all they show. Some of them are almost obnoxious in their up-ness. I can think of two letters in the whole 18 months worth, where I took off my happy face and wrote about a difficulty I was having.
And so, I'm seeking the balance, not only in this blog, but in my life. There has to be one there somewhere, that tricky line between focusing on the positive, and acknowledging the negative. If anyone has been successful in finding it, I'd love to hear how they did it.