Life is Pain, Princess, Eat Cake

I seem to keep coming back to the fatalist’s view of the world, and rejecting it. I had a conversation with a friend at work the other day, where she informed me that early on, her teachers taught her that life sucks, and then you die. You can’t win, she told me. Only the one guy wins. Everyone else? She shrugged. 

Life does suck. Sometimes. For a while. But when it does? You look for the beauty. And you don’t allegorize life as a race with only one winner. Everyone’s goal post should look different, and in the end, we all pass them, unless we lie down and die quit. When life hands you a kitchen full of dirty dishes in spite of a week of broken promises about doing them, you scream a little in frustration, and you bake a cake you hadn’t planned to. Because something in life should be sweet. And then you spend three hours cleaning and washing and by the time it’s bedtime, life is better. It was painful, but the end result is a win. 

It’s not always possible to bounce back that quickly, I know. I couldn’t have done this the night before. I know I couldn’t – I tried. It’s not like the dishes magically appeared while I was at work. But I only have so much strength, not only physically but mentally. When I was tired I leaned against the sink and managed to wash up a drainer full of dishes, then had to quit. But that small act, piled on a good night’s sleep, enabled me to muster the will to go on. And the next day I powered through it instead of curling up and whimpering. Life is pain, but when you push past the anger at what’s been done to you, you discover that you hold the keys to your own success. You don’t have to reach for someone else’s goals. Just what makes you happy.

any flat space in the house is covered with the most random possible collection of objects. Sigh.

And if that is spice cake, add two whole grated carrots, then swirl in cheesecake filling before baking at 350F for 30 minutes in a 9×13 pan, then winning is tasty. Don’t forget to add a whole cup of chopped walnuts because the people who didn’t do dishes won’t eat anything with nuts in, and they can just suffer until they learn that making their own rewards is more fulfilling than waiting for Mom to fix the problems every time. Also, because Mom is not a monster, there are packages of leftovers from dinner in the fridge for the miscreants. 

The First Reader was appreciative of my cranky baking. But what was I going to do? Lose my temper, rant, rave, and storm which would accomplish nothing? Or channel my frustration into productive (also delicious) routes that meant I got to wake up to a shiny clean sink? That works much better for me. Oh, it’s not that the kitchen is clean. But it is cleaner, and the weekend is coming which means I can finish the cleaning job in somewhat more leisurely fashion and have time for the garden. It’s about priorities. I don’t want to be rich. Never have. I just want to have gremlins who will do the dishes for me! 

In the meantime, I had strawberry shortcake with strawberries picked fresh from my own garden. Fresh shrimp from the visit to North Carolina, broiled after marinading. Corn on the cob and buttered noodles with roasted garlic marinara sauce on it. And I still stepped on the scale to see a small downward trend this morning. Two hours of vigorous housecleaning plus baking does count as exercise after all! There will be days where life hurts. There always are. But they don’t last forever, and if you choose to change them into something beautiful, that’s up to you. Eat cake. When life hands you lemons, make lemon meringue. My life? Gave me strawberries. I could cry over them, or I could make cheesecake swirl shortcakes. 

20 thoughts on “Life is Pain, Princess, Eat Cake

  1. Oh sure, life is a grim, grinding hardship and agony from the day you’re born, til the day you die… but I say, those are the people who don’t find the small joys in living, so they can’t enjoy the big ones.

    On that note, I made myself Filipino hot cocoa balls, and I want some now.

    1. Oh, that sounds tasty. Recipe?

      Yes. I’m always thing of the dandelion blooming through a crack in the dirty asphalt. Life may not plant you in a bed of roses, but you make it work anyway.

  2. I remember doing some yelling when dishes weren’t done, LOL! Baking is a much better solution. And if you come across any gremlins that do dishes, send one my way, please!

  3. I used to be banned from helping in the kitchen – that was my wife’s realm (apart from making omelettes, for some reason) and I wasn’t even allowed to stack the dishwasher. Then she died. Oddly enough, now that I do my own washing up I do and dry the dishes in less time that she needed to first fill and then empty the dishwasher. Not all modern devices are really labour-saving, and enjoyment can be had in just modifying recipe and cooking it to suit your own tastes. Never give up!

    1. I am sorry for your loss. Something makes me think you’d rather have the slow dishwasher.

      My dishwasher takes forever, and doesn’t always get things clean. I prefer handwashing.

      1. Not that I really ought have any, but pretty much anything that isn’t laced with nuts, raisins (oatmeal cookies might be good, if not for the flies – er, raisins people keep putting in them), or bananas. There is one exception, and that is Macadamia Nut Cookies – but that’s nothing to go out of your way for. Generally, any cookie (not big on peanut butter… don’t actively dislike such, but..) brownies, cakes, etc. The Christmas cookie known at times as ‘pecan fingers’ might also seem an exception, but that’s pecan meal/powder – not landmines. Also no issue w/ pecan pie (and while he likely should not have anything with that much sugar, $HOUSEMATE has a… weakness?… for pecan pie). And should you commit fudge… well now.

        Mind, I do bake so brownies & cakes are not something I find rare.

        That might be enough background to force the foreground underground.

  4. Just remember to enjoy everything now, because soon enough you’ll only be using enough stuff for two. 🙂

  5. I used to bake bread, kneading it by hand, to work out my frustrations. Lately, though, I’m having trouble finding the soothing comfort that dough and batter would bring me. Your last couple posts have hit so close to my heart – my own ghosts are invading my space and the fatigue of dealing with them has resulted in a sort of apathy – something I loathe.

    However – it is a Friday and that calls for a little special something (you might share that recipe BTW – the Hubs is a fanatic for sweet, cream cheese anything) and maybe getting my hands and face and hair dusted with flour would be healing and satisfying.

    Life is shaking me again – Husband getting ready to retire; truly an empty-nester with both my daughters out on their own. I thought I was ready, but I guess I’m not quite there yet.

  6. Yep. Sometimes just baking works. My uber treat is either freshly made Swedish Tea Ring (think cinnamon rolls, except connected, in a ring, look it up,) chock full of raisins and nuts and with twice or more as much cinnamon that the recipe calls for and enough glaze to kill a non-diabetic, or…

    Brownies made with a cream cheese filling (one egg, 1 block cream cheese, 1 cup of powdered sugar, mixed) where you fill brownie pan with half the brownie mixture (extra nuts and toss in a big handful or two of chocolate chips) then drop in the mixture, then top with remaining and it takes about 2-3 times longer to bake than normal but who cares because BROWNIES….

    Helps pass the time when wife is sick and life just sucks. Yay. Whee. Poop occurs, continuously, on a regular basis, with extra helpings of poop. So I bake. And cook. And eat. And life goes on.

  7. I just had the wrong kind of gremlins. Note to self; change the batteries in the UPS.

    Beyond dealing with a Border Collie terrified of thunder (again; lost count of the number of boomy days we’ve had this month), I’m happily contemplating the end of the new-well project. We were on a shared well system, and the headaches were a bit much. 2 and a half years ago, we had a well drilled. The first part (pumphouse built, water and electric set up) was done in October 2017. At that point, the project went on low speed while I was getting eye issues dealt with. Last November, supports for a solar system were dug, and I started installing the system. Today, the final inspections happened, and the inspector was very happy. We were happier.

    Tomorrow, we get the rest of the tomato seedlings into the greenhouse, and we’ll give away the extras. In a week or so, the summer squashes will be ready to go into their raised beds. Grilled zucchini is a nice summer treat.

    1. Grilled zucchini is good. I wound up putting five plants in ground and tossing three. Eight would have been far too much of a good thing.

      And sounds like good progress. Keep fighting on.

  8. “Lose my temper, rant, rave, and storm which would accomplish nothing? Or channel my frustration into productive (also delicious) routes that meant I got to wake up to a shiny clean sink? ”

    Errrmm…every once in a while; NOT often! I find I must embrace the power of AND.
    I throw the temper tantrum, AND then channel my frustration into something positive.

    I think it helps the youths in my domain, from time to time, to remind them, RARELY, that I MEAN what I frappen SAY, and I want it DONE RIGHT FRAPPEN NOW!

    That would totally be a waste of energy if I did it every day, or week, or even month. I think it might happen every other year.

    Even if it doesn’t do THEM any good, it makes ME feel a little bit less oppressed. It’s all verbal, though, I don’t actually punch, kick, etc.

    Not suggesting you try this. If you do, however, make a note of what happens afterward, and keep that in mind, because whether or not a behavior is effective depends on the consequences of that behavior.

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