The Post-Posting Life
I’ve written a number of strange things for a paycheck. In some cases, money wasn’t even involved; I was in it for the strangeness.
For example, I’ve written at least dozens of press releases for various companies and causes, usually just to pay the bills (very small bills) but occasionally for a nonprofit, volunteer organization I have a relationship with. They ask for a few quick lines and maybe an appropriate graphic, I spend a few minutes doing the Lord’s work, and I move on. It’s not rocket science.
The other day, a group dedicated to assisting people who are currently without housing, mostly women and children, asked me to help publicize a very specific need. Donations pour into these places, appreciated and very useful, but some necessary items fall through the cracks just because people don’t think about it.
In this case, it was underwear. Everyone needs underwear, and one size does not fit all. And women have different undergarment needs than men and children, and thus these good people decided to have a drive to acquire various items for their clients. They decided to throw an event and call it a “lingerie shower,” make it a happy time, almost a party, and they asked me to help.
It was an easy blurb to write. I’ll just note that this is 2019, and an interesting picture goes a long way, so I went searching for something that was either free to use or that had elements I could steal to complete the information. I’m not a graphic designer at all, just have no talent for it, but I’m a decent thief.
So this is what I have to say about that. If you decide to search for an appropriate graphic for a good cause, you might choose a different search query than “lingerie shower.” I still see them when I close my eyes.
If it hadn’t been sort of related to church, I wouldn’t even have thought it funny enough to mention. I’m not a prude at all, or shocked at much, and this was just underwear. Just a little racy for early in the morning. I hadn’t seen this much mesh in a while.
In all this busyness, I’ve been on a sort of cookie-baking binge. Some is just about self-preservation; it’s not the best breakfast, but a cookie or two as I head out the door to the hospital has kept me in the game when it got rushed.
But mostly, I just locked down this recipe for chocolate-chip cookies. It’s my favorite cookie, the good ol’ chocolate chip. I’ll eat one of any varietal, made by elves or grandmothers. I’ve been baking them for years, too, all kinds, and the variety is interesting.
Because you really can’t add ingredients to a chocolate-chip cookie or it starts to become something else. A hyphenated cookie. A chocolate chip-cinnamon cookie, etc. Your basic chocolate chip recipe is always the same: Sugar, butter, flour, rising agents, eggs, a bit of vanilla, salt, and chips. Just a cookie.
The difference comes in the various ways to mess with the technique, and I’ve trialed and errored and thrown away some and eaten many, many mistakes. The mistakes are usually delicious, too, just gooey and unstable.
Which I decided was the size, which is how I locked them down. After deciding to make smaller cookies, with fewer chips (less mess) but still a lot (makes a difference), and already having firmed up the rest of my technique, I made a tray of dough balls and noticed they were all nearly exactly the same size. I weighed them all and I was right, all around 45 grams. I decided then that this was my cookie, the 45g chocolate-chip cookie, and now they all come out perfect. Same size, same taste, same everything. They’re excellent cookies, if you like chocolate-chip cookies (some people don’t, I know).
All this baking is warm-up for our Easter Vigil, which takes place the Saturday evening before Easter (officially the first service of Easter). It’s an ancient church tradition, revived in recent decades by Protestant churches. It’s mildly analogous to a Seder, I suppose, although not by much. We just tell our oldest stories, Creation, Noah, the Red Sea. It’s a long service, and we keep it light and fun, lots of skits about dry bones dancing in the desert and so forth.
And at the end, after communion, we have a feast, a table loaded with goodies, and my cookies always make an appearance. So it’s nice to practice for the big game.
Last night, eating a late-night snack, which consisted of a cookie, I started musing on the nature of my perfect cookie. I carried this to bed, where my wife was attempting to go to sleep.
ME: Those are perfect cookies.
ME: I’m done. They can’t get any better.
HER: I’m glad.
ME: You know the fun part? With this size of cookies, my recipe makes exactly three-dozen cookies.
HER: That’s nice.
ME: Plus a partial cookie. Like a quarter of a cookie. I throw that out usually. But I’ve been thinking.
ME: A batch of cookie dough is sort of like a solar year, you know?
ME: You get 36 complete cookies, and then part of a cookie.
HER: *actively snoring now*
ME: So maybe I should just freeze what’s left over, and then every four batches or so, I’ll make...A LEAP COOKIE!!
ME: (softly) And inside it will be a Golden Ticket.
(fade to black)
Things continue to improve on the medical front. Our patient appears to be self sufficient, up and down stairs, taking his medications, fixing his own meals (I brought him a bowl of ice cream last night but it was on the way). John and I took him out to lunch yesterday and he did great, and seemed to have a good time (it was his birthday, too).
I’m beginning to think that what I’ll end up taking away from this experience, besides just a lot of information I’ve learned about lymphoma and Medicare and our current healthcare situation in this area (if not the country), will have less to do with caretaking or friendship than priorities. Which was sort of the point, actually.
I don’t miss what I don’t have time for, not really. And even on less busy days, I’m not called to nothing, to passive scrolling down feeds. Sometimes I’m not called to anything, and I just find something to do. Other times are more deliberative, but I have a feeling at the end of this that I’m not going back. To whatever that was. I’m post that.