regardless

Although you might be afraid of being vulnerable
Although you know that they will leave, or that it won’t last
Even if there’s a chance they won’t reciprocate your sentiments (at all, or to the same extent)

If it would hurt more to shut them out than to let them in
If you know it would make you happy to make them happy
If you love them at all

Then
Love regardless


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talk about it

Since I spend a lot of time reading blogs, I do come across many wonderful blog posts on many various things. Some days I feel like a bit of a blog addict (or blog whore? I don’t suppose either is very politically correct, but since when is political correctness important in the blogosphere?), commenting and “liking” several blog posts in one night. Well, that usually happens when I haven’t been on WordPress for a long time, and have lots to catch up on, so I suppose that’s ok (?)

Very occasionally, I come across a post that inspires something incredible in me, and I feel compelled to share it and/or tell everyone about it. Tonight, I read one such post.

Silence Killed the Dinosaurs is a blog I usually go to for amusement and laughs, but the most recent post was a bit more serious. But, my goodness, this is a message that needs to be shared!

I would provide some sort of blurb for the post, but, honestly, you just need to go and read it.

 

baked pick-me-ups

I don’t follow many food blogs, but one that I do follow is Jane’s Patisserie – not only for the “food porn” aspect of it, but also because the recipes work, and she gives plenty of helpful tips. I also like that she does a bit of a preamble before each recipe, which adds a bit more of a personal touch.

In January, she posted this recipe for Nutella Brownies, and I jotted it down in my “recipes to try” folder because, come on, Nutella + brownies!! Since then, I’ve had it in the back of my mind, and I keep thinking that I need to go out and get some Nutella and make this because, damn, it sounds delicious. (And before you ask why I didn’t have any Nutella already at home, please know that the recipe requires an entire jar of the stuff (400g), and there’s no way a jar of Nutella is going to survive unopened/untouched in my house for very long.)

Sorry if I’m veering toward incomprehensible right now, but I swear I’m not on a sugar high.

What prompted me to finally make these brownies was kind of a combination of two things: first, a friend of mine had made another Nutella brownie recipe that hadn’t quite worked out as hoped; and, secondly, another friend had sent me some banana bread on Monday.

Now, the significance of this banana bread – or the gesture of sending it to me via our inter-store delivery – cannot be understated. Despite the joy inherent in a good colleague & friend of mine returning to work after a four-week holiday, I was feeling rather blegh on Sunday and Monday. (Yeah, there’s not really a better word for it than “blegh”. It’s kind of like a tiredness from not being able to get energy into your muscles – if that makes any sort of sense.)

I went for a run on Sunday arvo/evening, which kind of helped, but I was sore and tired on Monday. The unexpected gift of banana bread was just the right thing to lift my spirits and put a spring back in my step. The virtues of random acts of kindness, right?

Well, anyway, as a show of appreciation for this coincidentally kind gesture (I only say it was coincidental because this friend wouldn’t have known I was feeling a bit blegh), I decided to return the favour. And what better thing to send as a token of gratitude and appreciation (or of anything, really) than Nutella brownies! At last, after not feeling in the mood to bake anything for so long (I partly blame the heat/humidity), I finally got the desire to bake again! It’s an incredible feeling.

What I like about this recipe is that it is so easy and quick to make. And, of course, it’s frickin’ delicious (the verdict was unanimous on this one). The only variations I made to Jane’s original recipe were the omission of Ferrero Rocher (decoration), and the addition of roasted hazelnuts (chopped) and dark chocolate chips (half a cup of each). Honestly, the hardest part was roasting and chopping the hazelnuts, and I brought that upon myself.

My only additional advice, in regards to the recipe, is that, if you make them, you should double the quantities and make a second batch (unless you’re keeping them all for yourself, then one batch might be enough).

drafting inspiration

There are times when I get this overwhelming compulsion to write something – anything – but I don’t actually have anything to write about. And then I think about it a little bit, and I can’t think of anything that I really want to write about. It’s a rather strange and inconvenient predicament to be in.

But it is dispiriting to stare at a blank screen for too long, so I eventually move on, and quell this compulsion – or at least drown it out by doing other things.

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not the house I was expecting

One Sunday afternoon, when it was scorchingly hot, I went to the study, which is eastward facing, to open the windows up and let some air in. Upon doing so, I discovered a small fly, buzzing around the fly-screen, perhaps trying to figure out a way to get out.

(I remember my mum saying a number of times that day that it was probably cooler outside than it was inside, but I’m sure it was equally humid outside despite the breeze (when there was one). Besides, we always had the option of air-con if it came down to it. (Even in extreme heat, as it was that day, I like to use air-con sparingly because, you know, it uses a lot of electricity, and apparently I care about that kind of thing.))

This particular window, at which I found the fly, has bars on in, so it’s not exactly easy fly-swatting territory. I also didn’t want to use fly spray because, well, that doesn’t always work effectively, and they fly off to die somewhere else, possibly not to be discovered until some days later. Besides, the wind was blowing inward, so that probably would not have worked. (Truth be told, I think I was suffering so much from the heat, I didn’t even think about fly spray at all.)

As luck would have it, though, there were some small plastic cups on a table nearby (not for drinking purposes, but from some craft thing my sister had done and subsequently finished/abandoned). I’m sure the fly was also struggling under some form of heatstroke (I exaggerate here, because I don’t think that I was really that out of it, but I’m sure the heat has affected my memory to some degree) because it didn’t take much time for me to trap it in the cup. Once this was done, I took it outside, to the furthest corner of the backyard, to release it, with the hope that it wouldn’t follow me back inside.

I think I must’ve been wearing something quite lucky that day because when I got to the back of the yard, I happened to notice that there were not one but …several (honestly, who thinks about counting things when all you want to do is get rid of a fly and go back inside and read a book?) – several spiders’ webs in the apple guava tree in the corner.

Perfect, I thought, I’ll release it into one of these spiders’ webs, and then I’ll know it’s not going to follow me back inside.

And it actually was as easy as that: I held the cup up to the nearest web, removed the scrap of paper I was holding over the opening, and the fly flew right into the web and was thus ensnared.

I watched it for a moment, and the first thought that occurred to me was, Perhaps there is a bit of Slytherin in me.

I don’t know why I had this thought – I hadn’t been re-reading or re-watching the Harry Potter series; hadn’t had any recent discussions about it with friends; hadn’t even been thinking about it that day (not that I remember, anyway) – but there it was, that one off-hand thought.

When I was younger, and I did those personality quizzes that told you which House you’d be in if you went to Hogwarts, I usually got, well, pretty much any of the other three (mostly Ravenclaw, if I remember correctly, because I was a bit of a nerd – and arguably still am). I cannot remember ever feeling inclined to select the options that would put me in Slytherin (they were always multiple-choice, and it was always obvious which options leaned toward which House). (Side note: I’m really liking how my spell-checker is fully accepting all of these HP-related words.)

But, of course, in life, there are rarely absolutes when it comes to things like personality categories, especially as determined by poorly designed quizzes. I must say, though, that I released the fly into the web as a matter of ensuring it would not bother me again, not because I wanted to be mean to the fly. (I also kind of wanted to see what the spider would do with the fly, but it just completely ignored it. How rude!)

only three

I honestly did not think it was possible.

This is about one of those things you read on the internet – perhaps someone shared a link on Facebook; or you were browsing something else, and it was a “related article” – and you read it out of curiosity/intrigue … and it turns out to be so unbelievable that you question if any of it is real or even actually possible.

But this is not about gossip or rumours. This is not obscure trivia. And this is not some bizarre life-hack.

Well, actually, it could potentially be considered a life-hack in the sense that it has the potential to make life easier…

This is about a no-bake cookie recipe that I stumbled upon on Spoon University.

Yes, a cookie that does not require baking. I seriously did not believe it. I thought that maybe it wouldn’t hold together that well, or that it’d be messy to eat. I mean, I could see the potential, and thought there was a chance it’d work, but I also thought that there was no way a no-bake cookie could be anywhere near as good as a baked one.

So I gave the recipe a try, to test it out. The amount of faith I had in this can be gauged by the fact that I quartered the recipe, so that I’d have a much smaller batch in case it didn’t quite work.

I didn’t have chocolate chips to put in (shocking, I know. Why don’t I have choc chips at home?), so I just melted some chocolate and smeared it on top, but the other ratios were (approximately) as per the recipe, and I will say that I am impressed.

Well, I mean, it’s still not as good as an oven-baked cookie, but it held together well, it tasted good, and it’s arguably not unhealthy (I don’t know if I can call it “healthy” after all the chocolate I put on it, but considering it’s essentially just oats + banana + peanut butter, it can’t be that bad, right?)

The bonus, of course, was that it was so quick to prepare – there’s minimal washing up, and you don’t have to preheat your oven. Oh, but the best thing I got out of this is a recipe using over-ripe bananas that is not banana bread or muffins!