My favorite banana bread (more like cake!)

With the cold weather setting in, I’ve found myself baking more and more. Not only does it fill little bellies, it helps keep our eternally cold house a little warm. Never in a million years did I realize how cold it gets here! After what, eight years? You’d think I would be used to it. Nope. Not one little bit. Our freezer/fridge combo went down over the holiday and with it my stash of black bananas but when I had three left over from a bunch that got forgotten about, my middle son suggested banana bread and I happily obliged.

My favorite banana bread (cake) recipe is from a reader long ago. She send it to me when I was in a funk and I bake it with fond memories of support, every time. I thought maybe some of you could use it too.

Banana Bread (Cake) Recipe

1 c sugar
1/2 c butter
3 ripe bananas
2 c flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine sugar and butter, add bananas, eggs and beat well. Add dry ingredients. Pour into greased pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°.

Easy. It’s lovely with salted butter and coffee. Truly one of my favorite recipes.

I love to bake. I have tried to perfect the perfect scratch white cake for some time now but I think my palette is just so used to the taste of store-bought cake that I can’t quite get it. I would love to know how to come up with my cake recipes versus just cake, filling, frosting combos. Baking is truly a science and honestly, I’m not sure I have to kitchen space but it’s fun to try new things. You know, when I have a little spare time.

But this banana bread is full of warmth and kindness and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have through the years.

Dear New Year

Try as I might, I am never going to be one who successfully follows through with resolutions. I have, in years past, been the crazy fat lady at the gym, determined to eat better and work out more because she read that doing those things would help cure her depression. I have been that woman who stores the “positivity” posts and joins all the happiness groups because this is going to be the year that I finally make it into the village everyone is talking about. No one wants Wednesday Adams in their village after all.

Like most people, I’ve failed by March. I’m sitting at my desk, munching on Oreos and loathing myself just like I was four months before. New Year’s Resolutions are just not for me.

2016 was profoundly sucktacular. So much personal and public loss, I found myself wishing for the New Year and when the midnight bells rang and nothing felt different, I realized I was just kidding myself to think that a calendar date changes anything. New Year, new things. It’s just bullshit. The date only changes, we don’t. Not that anyone literally things with the New Year, we’re instantly new. But over the years, I feel like I’ve just lost the hope in new beginnings. And I am not sure I want to be that person.

This year I hope though that I can find ways to change. Instead of resolving to be thinner or happier, or to wish that the flip of a calendar would make it all new, I am going to set goals for myself… goals that don’t just come from the new year, new me mentality.

I’d like to write more. Really write. And no like this. I want to find my voice and instead of whining about why I feel sad, I want to make a difference in the mental health community. The first step though is probably taking care of my own mental health. I want to find a way to treat my sads with something other than medication. And I want to be brave enough to say to the people who say things like “Zoloft takes care of that”, that medication isn’t for me. I find value in my unmedicated self and while I am happy it works for you, comments like “drugs take care of that” aren’t helpful. I am clearly putting my vulnerable self out there for you, I am trusting you and you’re making light of it. I am gonna tell people how much that hurts, rather than deleting, retracting and feeling embarrassed about my own chosen path. I am going to stop apologizing or feeling embarrassed

I am going to stop apologizing or feeling embarrassed about being empathetic. This will be a hard one. I know it doesn’t make sense to people the profound sadness I feel when a child dies, a child I don’t know and that it often sticks with me for months and years after. I cannot turn off those feels without taking out parts of my insides. I can’t say goodbye and the thought of losing someone else is unbearable. It takes my breath away. But I also feel the happy too. I will be the first to celebrate your new life. I am always happy for a wedding, a baby, an achievement. And while those feelings are acceptable, the sad feelings often are not. And we’re supposed to feel for people. I just happen to feel harder than some. It shouldn’t be embarrassing to mourn with the mourning.

The heavy stuff aside, I really want to try new things. The kids have begged to start a YouTube channel and so an “uh oh, I forgot to cancel that membership that is for a full year” mistake means I can use the Skillshare classes to learn video editing and help the kids get the channel they want. Of course, I’ve tried to break it to them that we will likely not the 4million dollar FUNnel Vision family but it could be fun and it will help me to have memories of all the things I know I will always want to remember. I am also excited to have a new tool under my belt. Not that it will be easy to learn but it will be fun to try. I admit, though, I have no idea where to start. And we have no idea what to call it.

I’m ready to let go of the past friendship. The end of last year was tough for me and I found myself wondering where my village was. Well, my village moved on while I stayed still. I’m sure my members got tired of me or grew beyond me and I just couldn’t let go of it. Today, I am going to start saying goodbye to them. It’s okay to have seasonal friends. Someone once told me that. It’s okay that they don’t meet my needs anymore; I clearly stopped meeting theirs too. And that doesn’t mean we hate each other or I have to worry about so and so not liking me anymore but I can choose to focus my energies on people who reach back when I reach out. So old friends, thank you and see you later… because maybe goodbye isn’t the right word.

I really, really, really want to help my friend Laura grow Day’s for Girls. I’ve not felt so excited and passionate about something in a very long time. With each liner and each snap I feel like I am helping someone who truly needs it and she, in return, without even knowing it, is helping me. I am so excited to pack up these bags and possibly send them with my child to be delivered to girls her own age. That she’ll get to see the fruits of our labor and learn that no task, no matter how small, helps people who need help. Laura will perhaps end up thinking I am a crazy person but I am so excited to be involved. I can’t wait to write more about it too!

I want to break outside my Fiverr bubble. The last couple of years I have worked mostly there and let me tell you, making 10.00 a gig isn’t the greatest feeling. While I am not a “professional artist”, I have some talent and it’s worth more than 2.00 an hour. I don’t know where I will do, maybe a stand alone store or etsy but I am gonna start branching out and stop doubting that I know what I am doing. No one started out knowing how to do everything and I am sure that I will stumble along the way but someone is gonna like my stuff enough to buy it. I hope. And I started making these dolls that I am excited about. Hilary, Harry, Carrie… even a potential Donald although I feel he may never sell. He is stuffed with misery I hear, ha ha ha. That was a joke. I am good at these things, I just have to remind myself that they’re good enough to sell and my time is worth it.

 

So that’s it. That’s my Dear New Year letter. Sounds like resolutions I realize but trust me, it’s not. It’s goals. Do-able goals. What are your 2017 goals?

 

 

This song reminds me of you….

10175063_793742077349631_3317996618424081003_nI enjoy the quiet. Very much. When I was a younger person, I’d spent some time in a hospital that was supposed to help me. Mostly it taught me the value of quiet. It taught me to love the misfit. I remember walking back into my house for the first time and distinctly realizing, it would never be that quiet again. Now, I have five children. Four of them boys. It’s almost never quiet and my brain almost never rests. I fill it with music hoping that the loud won’t push me over. It does until it reminds me of something. Like my brother who took his life this November or my friend, who was my Santa, who died far too soon. It reminds me of things I can’t talk about and things I don’t want to talk about anymore.

Kevin, my brother, lost his fight November 12th. He and I had just really sort of rekindled a relationship in the last couple years and only online. He was born after my parents divorced and is my half-brother. I’d only known him briefly as a child although I remember both he and my brother, Sam, fondly and often. I still can clearly see their little faces running through the house or car track. But Nyle, our father, built a wall between us. One I didn’t realize was there until many, many years later. I often think about what might have been, had he not bought all those bricks.

Kevin sort of looked like Matthew. He wrote like he was mature beyond his years. He drew lovely things and loved his children fiercely. And his wife. He loved her so very, very much. He loves her now and always. I like to think he loved me too. He wanted a family. He wanted Matthew and I in it.

He messaged me the Tuesday before we lost him. I didn’t make time to message him back. Gotta go and vote; I cannot make myself talk on the phone tonight. And then, I just forgot in the craziness of the election. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for that. It will be very hard to let go of that regret.

I think about him every day. I check his wall. Check in on his wife. His mother. Hindsight makes me wish I’d of done it before now. Instead, I look in on a life that I honestly didn’t know anything about. It’s a too late moment; every single day. The too lates about kill me. I see Batman, too late. I stumbled on photos, too late. Timehop mornings, too late. It’s one of those lessons you hear but don’t know until it really is too late.

I pray he’s with God now. Without pain, happy. That he can hear my “I’m sorry” and watch down on his family. I am sure what I feel doesn’t even touch the surface of how his wife, his mother, his children feel. He was my brother. He is my brother.

Rest in peace, Kevin.