Book List and Baked Good

New Year’s Eve (or I How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Live with a Vivid Appreciation of How Brief and Precious Life Is)

I took a brief break from blogging because it was hard to get into the swing of things again after the holidays, but I’m back! I made a so-so pear/prosecco cake for New Year’s Eve, in which we wrote down things on balloons that we were grateful to leave behind in 2016 and then violently popped them:

Instead of doing a book list this week, I’m making a list of things that make me feel happy to be alive, despite all odds, because – if you’re like me – the new year reminds you of your inevitable death and you need a dose of gratitude that you’re still here. Also, I think we could all use a little enthusiasm considering the coming inauguration…

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All hail the new Commander In Chief! 

Pear/Prosecco Cake Recipe 

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 sticks of butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 cup of prosecco

1 tablespoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of allspice

2 teaspoons of juice from canned pears

1/4 cup pureed canned pears

1 and 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder.

Topping:

You basically heat powdered sugar, frozen berries, and lemon juice in a sauce pan over medium heat until everything is melted and gooey. I just kind of added powdered sugar/lemon juice until I got the right taste.

Directions:

1. Mix your flour, cinnamon, allspice, and baking powder and set aside.

2. Cream your butter and sugar.

3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

4. Beat in the pears, prosecco, and juice.

5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients.

6. Transfer to a greased 8 by 8 cake tray and cook for approximately 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Verdict: Decent, but a little bland, like a Jonathan Franzen novel. 

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My dumb ass forgot the baking powder, so it was extremely, extremely thick, but I think it tasted pretty decent. Not my favorite of my creations, because it was a little bland, so I think I’ll add a little more ginger and allspice next time. I would give it 6 out of 10.

Things That Make Me Feel Alive

This Frida Kahlo Painting: 

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“I hope the ending is joyful and I hope never to return…”

This scene from Six Feet Under: 

This quote from Mrs. Dalloway

As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship, as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the suffering of our fellow-prisoners; decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can.

This line from Fried Green Tomatoes:

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“Death is nothing to be afraid of. I’m at the jumping off place and I ain’t afraid one bit… I wouldn’t be afraid of death if I was you. I’d be more afraid of driving in rush hour traffic.”

 

This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Cartoon: 

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Annie Druyan talking about Carl Sagan’s death: 

Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful…

This song, sung by many but my preferred version is by Doris Day:

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