Sunday, December 16, 2007


I think my body is trying to tell me something. Sneezes, aches, scratchy throat -- I held them all at bay for about 3 days with echinacea and zicam and airborne. Plenty of chai and grapefruit halves, and most of all -- washing hands. Yet, the bug got to me, knocked me out, and sent me this message: REST.

Rest? This weekend had the most plans yet, with a neighborhood cookie exchange on Saturday morning, a Womens' Group luncheon, and then time to finish up toffee/cookie making. Sunday morning church (with my youngest bringing his Christmas snakes to the tree as part of the processional... that's a story for another time) followed by a party in his classroom for which I needed to make something, followed by an afternoon party given by friends and an evening party at the yoga studio.

I made it to the cookie exchange and the luncheon, after which I had to go to bed. Nyquil, Dayquil. I made it to church, camera in one hand, tissues in the other, only for Dominic's class activity & party. Note to self -- get antibacterial wipes for the camera.

Does December have to be so stressful?

When I was in high school, I hung out at my friend Jeanne's house. Jeanne's mom made the most delicious toffee at Christmas time. She had it in little bowls around the house, and filled small tins of the rich, special treat for her relatives. She was the designated toffee maker, and everyone in her family looked forward to their special package.

When I was a young adult, Jeanne's mom gave me the recipe. That's when I bought my first candy thermometer. I started giving toffee as gifts to teachers & friends. I made some for every member of the family. I experimented with the recipe, making it with macadamias & white chocolate, or cashews & dark chocolate.

One year we moved to a new house, where I had a gas stove instead of electric. Disastrous things happened with the toffee; the butter split apart into oil & solids, the toffee just didn't turn out right. I called Jeanne's mom to ask if she had any experience with cooking the toffee on a gas stove. She said, "No!" and went on to tell me that she was no longer the official toffee maker. She passed that torch to a younger family member and was glad to be rid of it, thank you very much. It's a lot of work.

Well, after much experimentation and a number of ruined batches, I figured out how to make the toffee over a flame. But I am having trouble getting into toffee making this year. Daniel's diagnosis got me thinking about how many times I might have given out toffee to people who, for whatever reason, just shouldn't have it. I'm not just talking about diabetes here, because it is possible to guestimate the amount of carbs & bolus for it. But for whatever reason, diet, allergies, pulled fillings... perhaps it is not such a wonderful gift of love.

I have only made one batch so far this year. I was too sick & tired to even contemplate toffee making in the time I had scheduled for it yesterday. Still under the weather today. So here's my decision: I will make some more toffee -- enough for the people I know will and can enjoy it, but not so much that they will say, "Ugh, what will I do with all this candy?" I'm not passing the torch, just turning down the flame a bit.

One thing that really made me feel happy yesterday when I was in such a physical funk was this wonderful sussy from Beth. Thank you Beth, for the excellent magnets that now adorn my refrigerator, and for the other thing which will be shown later, after it gets opened on the 25th!


sister-in-law said...

I liked this post very much. Not the fact that you're under the weather, but the metaphor for your life/our lives. It's been interesting to see Vic turn down his flame (so to speak) this week.

Hang in there.

Naomi said...

I felt like I was just rambling. Which is another metaphor for our lives.

Amylia said...

i hope you feel well rested and back to tip top shape soon.

i always enjoy your posts and "dipping into your life" for a few moments...

Naomi said...

I'm slowly getting better, thanks! You can't imagine how I've enjoyed dipping into Taiwain as well! It's lots of fun getting to know you.

Sister-in-law said...

I've enjoyed the posts about Taiwan, too!