Cranberry Cake (soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

This recipe from my great-aunt, Elenore Severson, is delicious. Give it a try. You will need a 9×9 inch pan lined with waxed paper or parchment paper.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder

Mix these and add
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup water
Mix well (consistency will be thick) and place in pan. Pour 2 cups of whole cranberries over the dough and press them down into the dough a bit. Bake at 350 deg F for 50-60 min. Test with toothpick. Remove from oven and immediately pour glaze over the top.

Glaze without dairy
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp canola
enough water to create thin glaze

Glaze with dairy
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 granulated or powdered sugar (I did not try and do not know which works best)
3/4 cup melted butter


The Summing Up

Have you ever caught yourself looking for the one theory or idea that will sum up a big subject? I often do. I keep thinking that if I can just take all factors into account then I can get the big answer. The answer that will make everything make sense.

The physicists currently in search of a universal theory seem to be doing that.

The medical researchers looking for genome-based cures for large diseases seem to be doing that.

Political thinkers who want to understand the whole system seem to be doing that.

Religious thinkers who want to reduce their religion’s wisdom/perspective seem to be doing that.

I think this may be folly. It may be a glamorous (in the original sense) dream. I think I’ve been doing it too much. Perhaps there is one Truth to which we can all strive, but the puny human mind can’t seem to capture it. At least mine can’t.This searching to sum it all up may be a anxiety-driven activity, or the sign of an overly analytical/mathematical tendency, or part of the modern, western need to control and understand. Or maybe it’s a little of this and a little of that and is no one thing.

So maybe my new self-talk needs to be “That is one piece of the puzzle. I don’t need to work this whole puzzle alone.”


The Anchor in Choosing a Job

For the past few years I have been trying to discern what I want to do for a living and where I want to do it. To put it another way, I have been searching for wisdom on the subject of career.

I was raised moving all over the midwest, moving every time my father took a new job, every time he took a transfer, every time my mother wanted to attend a different school (or whatever was behind those later moves). I have moved several times in my adulthood for job opportunities or family needs.

My brother has settled in one city, claimed it as his home town and has taken whatever work he can get there. Some of my friends have also anchored to a town; others have anchored to a job that has them anchored to one college or hospital or library and so are anchored to that town.

Some of them have asked me to anchor to that same town as them, and part of me deeply wants to. But I can not seem to do it. I feel adrift. My husband and I were talking about it this week and he suggested that because I never bonded to a hometown in my early life I may not be entirely capable of it. I do agree mostly that I may live somewhere for 30 years and never call it my hometown. However, some towns have felt almost like a hometown, Richfield, MN, Milwaukee, WI, Marshalltown, IA, and maybe even Medina, OH. And they have nothing in common; I can find no trigger to make me think of them as a hometown.

This morning a simile came to me and I would like to share it with you. As pirates sink anchor in the place where they will bury their chest of treasure, so workers sink anchor according to what they treasure. As with all similes, this should be spoken and left, never overwrought.

I think if people treasure family and childhood, they will take whatever kind of work they can to stay in that town and are not likely to strive for worldly success. If they treasure the objects of the American Dream, they will get the education they need and get a job fairly close by that will give them enough pay for that house, car, and toys. If they treasure the corporate ideal of fancy cars, houses, clothes and travel, they will get the education they need and rise up the corporate ladder, moving to any town that will further their career. If they treasure education and their calling, they will become ministers, doctors, or academics and move as their career dictates.

None of these describes either my parents or myself. So I wander adrift.

I seem to have projects. Projects that are not turning into paying careers. As a result, career choice is proving difficult.

Hopefully, it will come together.

Christene’s Imaginary Friend

As some of you may know, I have been having serious trouble with revisions on my second novel. I have had to fire 2 narrators. If you have ever written a short story or novel, you may understand how difficult it is to revise for a new narrator. You basically re-write every word.

By happenstance, I finally made a mental connection last week that has allowed me to hire a new narrator. I was wondering what an imaginary friend would say about the kid they adopted. Then it occurred to me that the limited omniscient 3rd person narrator is in essence an imaginary friend to the main character. That is to say, the writer invents the narrator almost as much as they invent the characters. If a writer thinks he or she is the narrator, then he or she may need to read up on mental personnas. It is also true that for the purposes of plot, this narrator is invisible to all the characters (excepting humorous books with verbal exchange between characters and narrator).

So, I think my main character Christy now has an imaginary friend who will tell her story.

This will either work, or I will be in therapy.