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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Birthday Cake

This month was my boy's birthday, and so he requested for his special dinner turkey london broil (basically a big slab of turkey breast, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and thyme), biscuits, green beans, and strawberries. The strawberries were expensive this time of year, but oh well. For dessert: ice cream cake.

Since that cake went so quickly, and it was still the birthday week, a few days later I made yellow cake with chocolate icing.

A few days later both the kiddos requested another: chocolate layer cake.

A few days later: crumble cake with coconut.

Can you say "spoiled"? I promise, we don't usually eat like this (we're all thin!). Still, it was kind of fun to have all of these desserts around for awhile, a little indulgence. Life is stressful enough; it's stressful even for the kiddos who collapse every weekend and sleep until the sun glares in their eyes. During the week they have an early school day, hours of homework, tae kwon do, science and history projects, piano, the works. They know it's a privilege to be able to train their minds and develop talents and abilities, but still ...

Yet, our society probably has more potential for leisure than any previous society. Clothes dirty? You don't need to rub them on a board by the river, just toss them in the washer. Hungry? You don't need to grow crops or hunt, just grab a TV dinner from the freezer. You can easily travel a hundred miles in two hours when the same journey 150 years ago took two or three hard days by carriage. Information is at your fingertips on google. And yet, despite all of our modern conveniences we still manage to fill this extra time with duties that never let up. Early drive through rush hour, run all day. Sometimes I wonder what all of this busy-ness in
our lives accomplishes. Always one more thing to do, and the television, radio, and computer are always on.

I read once that the development of creativity depends on three factors: access to materials, solitude, and lots of unstructured time. And creativity is not the only benefit of open time. I believe that the human condition requires this rest, and silence, on a regular basis. I've certainly found this is true for me. I used to attend Quaker meeting for worship, where people simply sit silently in the meeting hall for an hour. I learned to rely on this time to give focus and calm in a busy world, and that sometimes it's all right to just ... sit ...

I want the kids to know that it's OK to think, to dream, to create, to ponder. Spend time with a good book that tells of a different world. Make music, or paint. One doesn't always have to be rushing around filling the last stray second.

After consultation, the kids informed me today that they're ready for another birthday cake, actually a chocolate pie with an oreo-crumbled crust. As I think of it, I can feel my blood sugar rising. No.

No more. I'm going on strike from the dessert kitchen.

I'll be glad when this birthday month is over. Have a good week, my dear friends.

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