Monthly Archives: October 2009

Moments

8:33 am Wednesday. Breakfast in bed.

3:12 pm Wednesday. After school antics.

10:40 am Friday. Finished project.

The pumpkin was a much better model than the toddler.

If your link isn’t on the moments page and you want it to be, please send me an email at: acommonplacelife@gmail.com.

Here’s hoping some of the moments in your day are lovely.

De Facto

There were lots of you who liked the idea of participating in a blog-ring of sorts where we pledge to show more of our real-life on our blogs. So I give you: Moments. If you’d like to participate, here are the guidelines: try and be as authentic as you can. You don’t have to post photos of your messy house or tell us your most embarrassing moment (unless you want to). I’m just asking that you keep reality in your mind when you post. That’s it. Feel free to send me your link if you haven’t already and I’ll add you.

Here’s my entry for today.

I’m feeling a little vulnerable about the sharing so go easy on me. (If you look closely you’ll see, Spongebob and Elmo on the floor, My copy of Portland Through the Lens, a hat on the knitting needles, a big-boy computer and a little-boy computer, my reading glasses and Ginger-the-Cat’s hind leg.)

Now, onto what you really want (even if you don’t know it yet). The recipe for the cookies in the picture. Do yourself a favor, make these cookies. These are the chewiest spiciest ginger-iest mollasses-iest butter-y most delicious cookies. Ever. The recipe was shared with me a few years ago by my friend Heather (who is famous in certain circles for said cookies) and since then they have become the epitome of fall baking in our house.

Let me give you a little background about the cookie-eating-habits of my family. It’s all chocolate chip all the time around here. I make something else, they ask where the chocolate chips are. I stray from my usual recipe, they ask why I bothered. Three nights a week, without fail, Sean (Jake’s father) comes over for one reason or another and walks directly to the cookie jar. If there are no chocolate chip cookies in the jar he emerges from the kitchen with a sad puppy look on his face and goes about his business all pouty-like. When he finds cookies, it’s a different story entirely. The problem here is that I’m not as big a fan of the chocolate chip as they are. I like them fine on occasion, but my heart belongs to the oatmeal raisin. But I digress. The point is that even with all that chocolate chip love, they give it a rest for a while when it’s ginger molasses season. Even Sean.

Here’s the recipe. A few notes: this recipe makes a lot of cookies but don’t bother halving it, you’ll eat them all. Or give some to your neighbors—they’ll take in your trash cans for a year. There’s lots of butter in these cookies. Don’t skimp or substitute. I promise, you won’t regret it. That’s it. Now go make them—you can thank me later.

On Imperfection

I may have touched on a nerve with my last post.

It seems there are those among you who find yourselves dejected by the throngs of lovely blogs in your readers. Some commenters wrote of feeling inadequate when comparing their lives to the pretty pictures all around them and rather than becoming inspired (which I truly believe to be the intention of the vast majority of the authors of such blogs) they feel paralyzed. (Note: that particular word may be my own personal interpretation.)

A few commenters wrote in defense of Martha Stewart and the role she has played in the resurgence of hand-crafting in our culture. It does seem clear that Ms. Stewart’s media empire has helped popularize the concept of making things in a culture that previously reserved such pastimes for Amish women and grandmothers. (Some years ago, after investing as much money as I ever had in anything other than my home, and working countless hours away from my family, I’ll never forget the sting of a comment from a twenty-something friend of a friend, when I told her that I owned a knitting shop: she said, in all sincerity, ‘that’s so cute’.)

Still others wrote of Ms. Stewart’s impeccable design sense and the inspiration they draw from it. And I’ll add here that I especially like the recipes in Everyday Food (a Martha Stewart publication). But the vast majority of the comments were of relief. Relief that they weren’t the only one feeling such pressure to be perfect.

I realize that many of us who blog in public take part in furthering these ideals by posting only the lovely. For me, blogging is a very useful exercise in being mindful. It’s not in my nature to stop and smell the pumpkin bread—I have to make a conscious effort to pause and be grateful. My natural inclination is to look at what’s wrong and feel what’s uncomfortable. (It’s not a part of myself that I like.) And since beginning to look at my days as a series of moments and writing about them, feeling thankful and seeing the lovely has become much more organic, and for this I am very grateful.

So I find myself torn between the desire to capture the best of my moments and continue blogging in this vein, and a desire to be more authentic. It is in this spirit that I’m launching a new series that I’m thinking of calling ‘less-than-perfect’ but I’m open to suggestions. I’d love if you played along and posted photos of finding beauty in the midst of your day. If there is enough interest I’ll put up a page linking to your sites and it’s my guess that we’ll come through the process feeling less pressure to be perfect—at least, I hope so.