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December 2015

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2004, 365 words.

I see you viewing your self in your bedroom mirror, with evidence of comfort casually spread around the room, but I cannot tell if it's comfortable or only time-worn ease, which is nearly the same thing anyway. It's not my space, and in just looking at the phone and other objects on that dressing table, I feel intrusive. But when I look at your picture, I don't feel anything but a desire to touch you, to be embraced by you, something, it seems, which will never happen. I'm supposed to not care about that; this amusement we afford ourselves is finite in origin and finite in result. Yet now and then, I do care. To the point that I can feel it crawling over my skin, and in the tear ducts beneath my eyes. And at that point I want you, want to be with you so badly I have a hard time thinking of anything else.

And I cannot tell you. The idea that I'd be willing to make it even that much more real upsets the balance of your tidy world.

And yet, and yet it grows stronger with each passing season; this desire for the real, corporeal you. It consumes me and drives me until I take hold and manage to shove the whole mess of feelings into the back of my head again, so I can go on back to our sweet and silly friendship, never scaring you with the intensity of my true feelings.

Edging too close to reality makes you uncomfortable, and I understand about that. You have a strict world to maintain and a well-put-together life to protect. The merest abstract discussion of disruption puts the worry lines on your forehead, which I can see even over the internet.

If I could pull you out of that world, like, out of time somehow, where it didn't matter, I'd do it, just for a little while, and when you got back to reality, only the sensation of a memory would remain, with no thought of what it all meant or where it all would and could not ever lead; just a dream made real for one brief period of time.


led zeppelin state of mind (2003)

We are nameless in this space
We are ageless in this time
The future of the past we covet
 
sinking
tenderly
in
rhyme
 
Yearning going nowhere
Standing in the rain
Baby I can hear you calling
 
coldly
silent
in refrain
 
Tossing on your pillow
Tripping colors in your head
Need some clover in your honey to
 
resurrect
that
lonely
bed

Cookie Season Begins

I got to making pecan balls today. Most often I have heard them called snow balls. But they are also Russian tea cakes and pecan sandies, except as balls and rolled in powdered sugar. 

Since Better Homes and Gardens changed their recipe and it is rather different from the Land O’ Lakes one, I asked my friend Karen how her mom made them. It’s most like Land O’ Lakes, just slightly different. Karen was offended at the notion of powdered sugar in the cookies, which BHG said to add instead of granulated sugar, and that intrigued me. Her reasoning seemed sound and she has looked more into the science of these things than I have, but it made me curious so I decided to do it. As well, they recommended toasting the pecans, which sounded neat. And they added a little water to the dough. 

I ended up making a hybrid, and doing a couple of my own changes, on account of how I know what I’m doing. Don’t you do that unless you are pretty good at baking, and also know why you are. Baking is more of an exact science than most of the other kinds of cooking. 

So I did this. I had two sticks of butter on the counter while I cleaned. After an hour they were not soft enough, so I microwaved them for 30 seconds at 50% power. I have experimented with various degrees of butter melting in my microwave oven, which is very strong. They are not all the same, so you have to do your own thing. But you want the butter to be just softened, not at all running or melted

 

I combined them with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and two tablespoons of bourbon instead of vanilla or water and vanilla. You can instead use 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Then I added two cups of flour. My flour is currently about 1/3 whole white wheat, so my cookies will reflect that, and I added 1/2 tsp of salt, which Karen’s mom and Land O’ Lakes did, but not BHG. I feel that with a wheaty cooky, a little salt is a helpful thing.

I pulsed 1 1/2 cups pecans and a heaping tablespoon of flour in the food processor to a crumbly condition, then lightly toasted them on the stove, and stirred them in. So the dough was warm, but it retained its consistency. Then I rolled it into 40 balls (I like mine a little larger than standard; it would be around 55 otherwise,) and chilled the pans while the oven preheated to 325º. I prefer this method when it’s possible, instead of chilling the dough first and then rolling. But sometimes that is the necessary path because the dough is too soft to shape. 

I decided to see how they’d do chilled for different times, so the first pan had about ten-fifteen minutes in the freezer. Then I moved the second pan to the refrigerator while the first one baked. Well, they both took 13 minutes to bake to my satisfaction. 

When the first batch was cool, I put them in a bag with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and removed them with plastic tongs. Metal ones will work if you are gentle. I'm not...a super dexterous person, myself. 

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I really like the texture super much. I think the powdered sugar did fine, and I might continue to use it. But they do taste just lightly sweetened inside, so if you'd prefer them a little sweeter, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar definitely works perfectly well. I like the salt, too, but it strikes me as unnecessary, unless you are using unsalted butter. When I make these again, I will use only 1/4 teaspoon.

Finally, the addition of white wheat flour in that proportion still made a very tender cookie (with a little fiber!) but for the classic texture and flavor, you'll want to just use all-purpose flour.