I had fun with this recipe and changed it up a little bit.
Here is my own version:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
10 tablespoons butter (unsalted and room temp)
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Follow the directions below. I used a loaf pan which did not hold the coffee cake so well. It did overflow a tiny bit, but I just trimmed off the excess. If you have a 10 inch tube pan, use it! It took a little longer to bake as well. So, lesson learned...next shopping trip I will be looking for a 10 inch tube pan! Oh, and don't forget to to smile while you eat it! Or else, what the hell is the point?!!!!
Prepare the filling and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350∘F
Butter a 10 inch bundt cake or tube pan with butter and coat with flour
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients well using a whisk or sieve.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, starting on low speed cream butter and sugar together until light yellow and fluffy. On medium speed add eggs one at a time, stop to scrape down sides of the bowl.
On low speed again alternately add portions of dry mixture followed by sour cream/yogurt and ending with the last of the dry mixture. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Place 1/2 the batter in the prepared pan, sprinkle 3/4 of the mixture over the batter. Place the other half of the batter in the pan and then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the mixture over the top of the batter.
Use a knife to make a swirl through the batter if you wish.
Bake at 350∘F for 50-60 minutes or until it's done! (a toothpick inserted n the middle will come out clean) Let it cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes.
Drizzle with the maple and vanilla glaze and enjoy!
I have always had those memories. The ones that are dark or a bit unusual. The type of memories that you realize are painful and traumatic but still seem to mesh in among the other more neutral memories as if they were masquerading as typical and normal experiences. The older I get the more awareness I seem to have of those kinds of memories. If you can visualize this; it is like I do a stop, rewind, play again: What the hell did I just remember? What is so striking to me is that I have remembered the same damn things my entire life but out of nowhere I get stricken with this sudden enlightenment to a memories significance.
Memories pass through my mind like a movie reel playing as I experience my day to day life. Normal everyday experiences triggering the strangest and most random of memories. They pass through my minds viewfinder without thought, almost like it is my subconscious that has full awareness of the incoming memories. The older and more connected I become to my spirit and my inner self, the more aware I become of my thoughts, feelings and my memories. It is an awakening of sorts I suppose. Thoughts, feelings and memories that used to escape recognition are now in within my frame of reference. Ergo, why I find myself doing the stop, rewind, play again; what the hell did I just remember?
I have started to develop a new image of myself as a child and an adult due to these memories. I see myself in a new light. I have a new understanding of me. I relate better to my own children. Although I do feel emotions (naturally) about certain memories that I am taking a moment to process for the 1st time...thanks to maturity, age, wisdom, whatever you call it, I also feel a sense of objectivity about my experiences. I believe that although I can clearly see correlations to my past and present it does not define me or my future which is where I am actually looking. The future is where all my intentions are placed.
Life is new today. It is a new experience that I am creating and I like thinking about it that way. On a challenging day, it can even come down to a cup of coffee. Hmmmm, I think. Do I want a latte or a cup of Joe? Or ice cream. Do I want Cherry Garcia or Black Cherry from Thrifty's (now Rite-Aid) What do I really want in my life today? Some days the choice is much bigger than a cup of coffee or ice cream. It is about a major life decision or which path to choose for myself or my family. For the first time, I rather enjoy making these decisions. It is all about happiness and creating my life how I want it to be.
You can't control everything that happens in life but what when you do have a say in something, don't you want to speak up?
People have often asked me what MS is or what it's like. My daughter's Kindergarten teacher even did a mini presentation on MS to the class the other day after one or two kids giggled to my daughter about my cane and it hurt her feelings. The fact is that MS is one of those diagnosis where sometimes it is associated with an uncle in a wheelchair or a younger cousin who walks funny, maybe even a sister who is still running a 5K every year. MS is as unique to the individual that lives with it which explains why it can be a little mind boggling to not only inquiring people but the very people living with the MS!
Then come the questions that it took me years to answer myself. Why can I walk one day without a cane, the next I need a cane and the next I cannot walk at all and need a wheelchair. On really bad days I need an electric chair because my arms are too weak to propel myself in a manual wheelchair. Then, maybe I will wake up the next day and my symptoms are POOF! gone. That's right. "Asta la vista baby." In the words of my Governator Ahnold.
You know what? MS is confusing. And it is not something you can depend on either. Like when you want to make plans to volunteer to do the class basket for the Carnival Auction. I have been so excited to participate in something other than doing the Scholastic Book Orders from home. However, since I had a minor surgery to have my Port a Cath removed and been in a car accident and moved, wouldn't you know it that my energy stores are totally wiped out. (anyone familiar with chronic illness will know what I mean here) I am tired+exhausted+sick tired+weak+too tired to eat or pee tired
My 12 yr old came into my bedroom yesterday morning shouting in my ear, "I CAN'T believe you have that thing next to your EAR and you are still SLEEPING!!!" I barely managed to lift my hand to smack my Blackberry that was wedged under my cheek to shut the damn thing off. My Blackberry gets some good volume which is why I like it, it is better than an alarm clock but it has got nothin' on MS and me.
I am learning to take care of myself in Physical Therapy, I am so lucky to have the PT that I do, he is addressing all my many, many compounding issues. The one I am really appreciating tackling right now is energy conservation. So, I emailed the Room Parents and told them I was not up to doing the class basket and asked for help. It is a giant step for me in the right direction. Normally I would have just kept on and burnt myself out to the point that the basket, it would be awesome but I on the other hand would be in bed the entire day of the carnival. I am waahahaaay more important than a basket!
Have you ever really believed that old saying to be true? I mean, really? Admittedly, I haven't. Growing up, it seems my experiences impressed upon me that the answer would always be "No." or "Not right now." or "Not this time." or "Not today." or "Not you." or "Sorry."
Once upon a time, I was about 11 or 12 years old at a charity event where I would be speaking to help raise money for Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. There were a few vendors selling things like greeting cards and gifts in the lobby and my Big Sister and I browsed among the crowd of people. I saw these cards that were so adorable and she could tell that I really wanted them so she told me to ask for them. I was like "What, are you crazy?! For free?!" She said "You are speaking for free! What's the worst they will say, no? Then you won't be any worse off than you are now, just try." So I did, and they said no and I never forgot how defeated I felt at that moment.
I decided at that moment I was better off not asking for anything unless it was absolutely necessary, like life or death or at least in some sort of crisis category. Wouldn't you know that my life has included ironic crisis after ironic crisis? Almost like if God were up there sending me opportunity after opportunity to learn this message that asking for help sometimes is not only OK but an important and healthy part of human interaction?
I can just imagine it now...God is like "Hey you down there, wake up and smell the roses! What do I have to do to make you ask for some freakin' help? Give you MS? A child with Type 1 Diabetes? An alcoholic Father? C-Diff? Render you unable to walk? Give you 2 children with Autism Spectrum Disorders? Chronic Migraines? Earthquakes?"
In all seriousness, I am learning and growing as a human being and I am liking life more and more each day. A week ago, I wrote that a larger apartment had been offered to me in the same building, at a very reduced rate. As I sit here typing to my hearts content, I am enjoying the noise of the ticking of my new washer and dryer in the background, the bright and sunny living room creating a positive flow of energy that I need sometimes and even my Budgie is singing. Yesterday my whole family, nieces included came down to help, because I simply asked if they would. My old apartment is empty and clean, my new one full and unpacked and my new, happy, blessed, & challenged journey continues...
all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed. It rolled off the table, then onto the floor and then my poor meatball... One thing unfolding after the other, sometimes my life reminds me of that song.
It is really funny and strange how easily things can work out if you just believe in their possibility. Want a bigger place to live? Make an appointment to see a bigger house or apartment, even if you can't afford it. It is like saying to the universe that you are ready to choose your bigger home, even if this is not the one, you are ready to choose what you want. That is action you can take today with the intention of moving closer to your dreams or goals for tomorrow.
Seriously...it works. Who knows? You may love it so much that they may drop the price for you!
Would you believe me if I told you? Ah, OK, I guess I'll divulge.
We rent. We rent a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom. We rent a 3 bedroom/ 3 bathroom with NO laundry hookups. It has been an expensive nuissance of ours since we moved in with our brood of children. We were told that they would give us laundry hookups inside our apartment but one thing after another (spaghetti with meatballs, remember?) and they couldn't after all. I need to mention that we also have a difficult neighbor right next door who won't share the hose and has boundary issues. Our excitement about moving into our beautiful apartment turned into frustration and disappointment soon after we moved in.
Then, one day the front apartment became vacant. It is a 4 bedroom, with laundry hookups, a pantry and no difficult next door neighbor. Unfortunately, we then learned that the rent was $1,000 more bucks than our current rent.
What would you do? Give up? Not try? Settle for what you've got?
Hunny and I decided to set up an appointment with the Realtor even knowing we could never afford another $1,000 in rent. However, we thought it would sure be nice to see what the possibilities are instead of complaining. "You never know what can happen." Hunny said to me. The apartment has stayed vacant for 2-3 months now. Today, I got an email the rent is being lowered by $800 dollars and it was offered to us as an option to move in. Considering we pay almost $200 in laundry each month, um...let me see...hmmm.....hell yaah!?!! Did I forget to mention that it comes with a long hose line of it's very own!
Visualize the possibilities even if they are impossible to see. It affirms their existence.
Think about it. Why does the inevitable always happen when it is most inconvenient? How would your perception change if you chose to see your experiences through a different filter?
Feel in your heart that all is good and well, believe that any challenges you may encounter are within your scope of power to manage and rise up to. Trust that even in crisis, the Earth still turns, the Sun still radiates it's warmth, the Wind still dances, and Water still flows past even the largest barriers.
Life can be so rough; at times forcefully sucking you from the vacuum of your comfort zone, then thrusting you into the abyss of transformation. Although change is often a welcomed part of life, it can also be one of the most frustrating and frightening of life's experiences. How many times in my young life have I felt like a fragile seedling plucked from my mothers soil, roots and all and thrown as far as the eye could see? Time passing by so slowly as I soar through the sky almost suspended in the air, awaiting my landing in a fresh new spot of soil to sow my newly matured roots.
At the tender age of 33, just a couple months shy of my 34th Birthday, I can hardly count the many transformative experiences of my life. And how many of those times of change have been unwelcome? My body changing due to the course of Multiple Sclerosis or Dysautonomia. Who in their right mind would welcome a transformation like that? And lets not forget to acknowledge that it makes a poor topic of conversation. It is literally painful for me to talk about the frivolous or the mundane superficial topics most women my age converse about. I would be the quiet one standing in a group of mothers discussing soccer or Girl Scout meetings. I would be standing there nodding and smiling while thinking of the surgery on Tuesday, the Hematology, PT and Cardiology appointments on Thursday, wondering if the new ooh la la custom made AFO will help me walk without a cane, wishing I had a chance to say good bye to my Dad, hoping my son won't cut himself today...I cannot speak of soccer for the stress I am experiencing silences me and I would rather go to the Dentist than speak about Girl Scout cookies.
How could I speak about cleats when Multiple Sclerosis has disfigured my feet, the new atrophy revealing itself to my damaged eyes almost daily. Where do I mesh and with whom? I feel I have become lost within my own generation, my disabilities and challenges stealing away from me the ability to shoot the shit with other moms, small talk has become a foreign language to me. My children and their disabilities, life threatening medical conditions and puberty all but render my brain stunned and and and and stupid. Some days I can only focus on insulin, and glucose readings. Other days I am struggling to maintain my composure as I try to fit in 4 medical appointments in one afternoon. I cannot think if the TV is on and I forget everything I shouldn't. My brain is like a hard drive that is about to freeze up or crash.
It is all I can do lately to just "be" me. To eat olives because they make me happy, to skip breakfast because it makes me sick, to come home rather than chat up the other mom's, to take a shower knowing walking up the stairs to do it will render me useless later that day. Change can be such a blessing but the change that occurs with MS is not welcome by me, not at all.
It is difficult to fit in here, in this prosperous community. I write my rent check every month knowing it will leave us short on money for food or other necessary things. I drive my kids to school and park my car among the Mercedes and the Lexus that line the street, feeling out of place but thankful for the car I have. I am in constant conflict, feeling out of place and worthless but also feeling so thankful for the breath in my lungs, the blood in my veins, the inspiration directed by my spirit, the thoughts circulating through my mind and the love I feel so deeply in my soul. I am both negative and positive, sad and happy, thankful and disappointed, scared and excited, humble and jealous. I am a walking talking paradox.