Life Might Not Be Fair, But It’s Beautiful

20994_969605946384560_4690850952568560146_nThe Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies (for many reasons, Cary Elwes among them) and this quote that reminds me in a clever way that life is to be lived, in all of its tragic, beautiful, messy, wonderful glory.

That said, there are multiple ways I can “take” this quote, depending on my mood.

Anyone else have a reaction to it that is similar or different from mine here? 🙂

Easy Baked Apples (Courtesy of Clara’s Great Depression Cooking)

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The prepared apples before they go in the oven

It’s springtime where I live, but it’s still very chilly (in the 20 degrees farenheit range) and therefore still suitable for baking all sorts of things. While apples are traditionally an autumn fruit, for me, baked apples are good any time of the year.

This recipe is both simple and delicious. And it’s been around a while. I’ve made baked apples before, but this particular incarnation of them is courtesy of a lovely woman named Clara, who had a series of “Great Depression” cooking videos and cookbooks, in conjunction with her grandson. She lived in upstate New York, and although she has since passed (at the ripe age of 98), her work lives on. Here’s a link to the website that tells all about her: It’s called Great Depression Cooking With Clara.

So here is the simple recipe:

Wash, dry, and core three or four large apples.

Fill the cavities with 1 pat of butter and as much cinnamon sugar (three parts sugar to one part ground cinnamon) as they can hold. Dot with a pat of butter.

Put into a pan; pour in a little water to prevent burning, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool a bit and eat!

You can watch Clara in action making these delicious and nutritious treats right here. I’m telling you, her videos are addictive, not only because of the simple recipes but also because she weaves in little memories of her and her family’s experiences during the Great Depression. She was such a wonderful, down-to-earth woman; I only wish I’d been able to meet her in person. Enjoy!

The Illusion of Control – Or Being a Superhero

So, lately in my life there have been some extra challenges.

They’re not the life and death kind, thank goodness. I and the people I love are healthy and (mostly) secure.

But the challenges that crop up can be disheartening and distressing, especially when they come in quick succession and kind of knock the wind out of me (you know what I mean?)

Sometimes they’re tied to people I love, and other times they’re connected to my teaching or writing career(s), where despite my best efforts and diligent work, I end up spinning my wheels in a way I never wanted, planned, or intended to. The giant road block (whether tangible, emotional, or mental) rises up in front of me and forces me – usually at great effort – to find a way around it.

Each of these instances sets me back on my heels for a bit. I have to process and come to terms with the hurt or angry feelings and then find a way to move through them to something better.

But that’s like taking a big, scary leap of faith, because continue reading…