there was a saucepan of cheater's chili simmering on the stove and i ate it right from the pan, standing in front of the burner. we're having a winterlude, called by some, "the blizzard of twenty fourteen" and i've got things to do. like, getting on with the business of turning back towards life after a long, long pause in which that turn was, at times, doubtful. but the timeline on stasis seemingly ran out and moment by moment a word returned to me. that word, joy, was a choice and a mantra from a few years back and let me tell you it failed miserably as a word i lived by for whatever year that was. and so, it presents itself again and this time, i am buying it. because it has already injected itself into my year, even my end of last year.
i had entirely forgotten what joy felt like.
it is not big, it is little.
it came full on in a holiday with no presents, only food and lights and family. then it tackled me at the horse barn with not one, but a two horse triumph in grooming and care. a triple joy day came in the form of dearest friends, new flowered barn boots and a surprise beerman made of snow. and now, the winterlude with its string of days off and the busyness of rest and reading and digging out a dusty box of collage paraphernalia for a project that will not wait another second and hence, the cheater's chili from stove top while gluing said paraphernalia onto a garbage-picked thing at the kitchen table.
i have gained weight and i am lighter. wrinkles creep in and i am younger. the soles of my feet hurt and i am dancing for joy.
today is my personal christmas. today is a triumph and blessing. today i took the day off to make my mother's stollen recipe. and it worked. it worked!! this is a yeast bread i have made alongside my mother and last year, alone, i failed in my attempt. but not this year.
this year, i altered the recipe (how daring, considering my very green culinary skills). i eliminated the candied cherries (that dye must be toxic) and substituted dried ones instead. i only made 1/2 the recipe (who has room for 6 loaves in the freezer??) i added more spices. generously. and i will forgo the white frosting on top. melted butter and sprinkles of cinnamon and sugar are what this rustic triumph calls for.
my home smells amazing while they cool. even if the insides aren't as well done as i imagine, they are perfectly perfect for me. finally my mother is here again.