A Healthy Dose of Spontaneity

What a week its been for spontaneity! mostly with regards to people and unexpected interactions.

I spotted Josh at Mass on Sunday, whom I haven’t seen since last semester when I had a chance to sit with the St. X boys at the usual table.

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That led to the exchanging of phone numbers, and the consequent texting of a fair number of persons, requesting their brief presence to support the Students for Life bake sale the next day.

I went a little crazy with the baking for the bake sale… I made yogurt brownies, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, mint chocolate chip cookies, and cupcakes. I also labeled the packaged cookies with their respective allergens.

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The nursing / nutrition / dietetics students thought it was great… And since I haven’t blogged recipes in a long time, here they are:

Yogurt Brownies

1 C AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1.25 C granulated sugar
1 C plain Fage greek yogurt
1/2 C softened unsalted butter
1/2 C + 1 T extra special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T olive oil
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9″x13″ baking pan, and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, yogurt, butter, cocoa powder, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until well blended. At low speed, add the dry mix until evenly incorporated. Spread mixture immediately in prepared pan. Bake until the [preferred tester, be it knife or toothpick or fork or wooden skewer] inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 3/4 C AP flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
12 oz dark chocolate chips
2 1/2 C old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 C softened unsalted butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 T half & half
2 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, and set aside. In another small bowl, combine chocolate chips and oats and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture until a soft dough just forms, then add chocolate chips and oats and mix until evenly incorporated. Use a medium ice cream scoop to drop uniform balls of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake until golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C AP flour
1/4 C extra special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C softened unsalted butter
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
467 g of your preferred ratio of coarsely chopped sandwich mints to white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until a soft dough forms. Stir in chips and mints. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop uniform balls of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake until set, about 10 minutes.

And finally, I got the cupcake and frosting recipes from Steffy’s blog. Instead of making brown sugar cookies, I went a little crazy with sprinkles….

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The random texting requesting bake sale support resulted in a number of meetings with people that I’ve missed ridiculously and that I might have gone all semester without seeing otherwise.

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Aside from Jordan, Nathan, and Cory as seen in the pictures above, I also had the chance to briefly catch up with Josh, Doug, Bill, and a couple of chorus peeps.

Tuesday found me singing John Mayer… endlessly. I can’t remember the last time I sang nothing but JMay all day. I’m not entirely sure what got me into such a mood…

Wednesday night after service found me at Highland for the first time since that first Monday last semester that Sanders actually canceled class, and I went to catch up with Kuya Brad.

I finished all the exercises and assignments for chapters 7 and 8 of web design homework, caught up on Lenten letters and Bad Catholic, while Mike studied Latin and played music over the background music :/ Lol.

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I am indebted to Mike for two cups of chai with soymilk, and made it home at about 3am on Thursday. By contrast, I made it home extremely early on Friday night – but that would be getting a little ahead of myself.

What I consider to be Thursday’s spontaneity was more like a carryover from the previous Saturday – the spontaneity of having worked for the last time with Jason and not known that it was the last time I’d be working with him. He didn’t work on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I didn’t work Thursday which we knew would be his last day, none of which could have been predicted without deliberate and extended overthinking.

On Friday, I actually got out before 10pm, and got to video chat with Michelle for a few hours =) She’ll be home in a few weeks, and we’re hoping to see each other at least once.

Maybe Saturday morning’s spontaneity doesn’t really count as spontaneity… Basically, we were doing single stick combat drills, and I didn’t let Mr. Gus go easy on me, resulting in bruises on my forearm from repeated palm and stick hits. He did ask if he was hitting too hard, but I said no, because I need to know what it feels like. Pain is your friend when you’re training. If you don’t know how much something can hurt, you won’t develop the reflexes and the speed you need to avoid what can cause that pain – and worse – in a serious situation. Anyway, I could have asked Mr. Gus to let up a bit, but I didn’t. Does that count?

Others’ spontaneity contributed to mine – we did around 120 covers on Saturday night, and among them were some rather more significant persons. It was a long night, we did well, and Chef said again what he’d said the night that all that wine went out: that he didn’t know how we did it, but we did.

Thus, after a long and crazy night of service – which included our first reverse happy hour and left something near 50 people still at the bar when I clocked out and walked out – my last bit of spontaneity to close the week was catching up with Jared, whom I hadn’t seen since before the hols.

saturday

Jared unexpectedly closed my tab at Yesterdays, which led to the declaration of gentlemen still existing in the world… to pay for others’ beer… ? and ordered me another when we got to the Tavern because he didn’t know that I’d already asked for my usual ginger ale from Mike. But as I already owed two chais from Wednesday, I absolutely refused to be beholden for a beer, and was graciously allowed to close that tab. It’s terribly nice to be able to talk to Jared now, with some significantly greater measure of ease than a year or even just a few months ago. Maybe because I can speak now in confidence, with various multiple recent interactions with others having highlighted and reinforced my respect for him, and grounded in gratitude for the standards that his example has caused me to have.

So here’s to the last week in February, the 7th week of the semester, the 3rd week of Lent, my last week officially still on the work schedule, and all the living that needs to be done to live it fully and live it well.

Pax.

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