8:17 AM on Sunday morning. First batch of cookies is out of the oven, second is baking. What? you ask. Is this some kind of early morning baking competition? Vying for a spot on Real Housewives of Philadelphia? Nothing so glamorous. Just a minor lack of attention to detail (a skill that Skadden so relentlessly drilled in my head I thought I would never forget a comma, period or “l” in public).
A bit of background: we’re going sailing today (can you see my heart soar?) and I decided to bake some chocolate chip cookies to bring along. At 4PM yesterday I pulled out my King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking cookbook and started to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, 100% whole grain (just ignore the sugar and butter and they’re healthy, h0nest!). It wasn’t until I was halfway through the recipe that I read “refrigerate overnight.” Ack! We’re getting picked up at 9:30 this morning. When scouring the book for a no-fail cookie recipe, I failed to notice the nifty little overnight symbol next to the title of the recipe.
For the reading-impaired, the accommodating folks at King Arthur even provide little symbols in their cookbook
Which leaves me, at 8:22AM, scooping cookie dough onto my cookie sheet, transferring to the cooling rack, and, of course, eating cookies for breakfast, while Hans dozes away in the Land of Nod. (I will mention here, for proof of my martyrdom status, that our oven only fits one cookie sheet and I only have one cookie sheet, so this is taking about three times longer than if I had a conventional oven.)
Paul Simon sings ‘I am a rock, I am an island . . . I have no need for friendship, friendship causes pain, its laughter and its loving I disdain . . .’ What a way to live! It is a natural human reaction to seek out community. In Western society it is the norm to be connected to some form of community – the workplace, family, friends, neighbors, church, the local watering hole – because being an island is not only lonely but cuts us off from helpful, beneficial human interactions. Alone you can accomplish the work of one, but working with one, two, or three other people, your impact is multiplied.
The sailing community is a great group to belong to. As we sailed down the eastern seaboard, through the Bahamas and island-hopped from Puerto Rico to Trinidad, the sailing community was with us every step of the way. Harbors with a large number of cruisers had a morning radio net relaying weather, news and announcements. Dinghies buzz around harbors an hour before sunset as friends visit other boats for sundowners. Ideas, suggestions and advice are exchanged, as are cotter pins, light bulbs and a crimping tool. Friends are made quickly as people often stay in a harbor for only a day or two. Help and spare parts are offered without reserve because everyone believes in boating karma. s/v Whisper was our little island in the Caribbean, but it was an island we encouraged others to visit. We knew we couldn’t sail the Caribbean alone and the sailing community jumped in to help with a generosity and hospitality that is unrivaled.
Our countless positive experiences with the sailing community encouraged us to continue living aboard when we moved to Philadelphia a year ago. Why wouldn’t we? Our other option was to move into an apartment building where neighbors often don’t know each other and the only community activity is passing in the hall or riding the elevator together. During our first week tied up at Pier 3 Marina we were invited over to another boat for dinner, someone brought us flowers, another boater dropped a big bag of fresh veggies in the cockpit and someone else loaned us their car for a week. Yet again, boaters coming together to help each other out, be welcoming and generous. Marina residents got together for a Christmas party and over the past few weeks a group has organized a spring clean-up of the marina. A small, but telling, anecdote: the soap dispenser in the bathroom ran out of soap over the weekend, by Sunday evening someone had placed a bar of soap by the sink.
It is natural to gravitate to communities: the group helps the individual through tough times and encourages each member along in good times. As smart as we think we are, someone else always has a different perspective that will shed new insight on an issue, problem or question. I embrace the boating community as an invaluable part of my life.
What community do you belong to that you can’t live without?
Dunkin & Styrofoam cups
I love Dunkin Donuts. The donuts are basically puffed white flour and sugar, the coffee is weak, but I can’t resist the Mass. based breakfast franchise. Maybe it’s the pink and orange color scheme that appeals to me or its blue-collar Mass. roots or the feeling of holding hot coffee and a sugar glazed French cruller, but what doesn’t appeal to me is the Styrofoam to-go coffee cups. I get Dunkin about once a month, but the woman who works down the hall from me stops there every day for coffee and a donut. Five Styrofoam coffee cups a week, 50 weeks a year adds up to 250 styrofoam cups a year. Let’s say that 10% of Philadelphians follow the same morning routine. That is 154,000 people. 38,500,000 coffee cups a year! It’s time for Dunkin to switch to paper. Better yet, it’s time for Dunkin’s customers to bring their own to-go cups.
Sailing for SOS
A big congratulations to a blog friend who hasn’t had Dunkin for a loong time: Lee Winters successfully arrived in Fatu Hiva (a tiny little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) after 21 days at sea alone on his little sailboat. Lee and I “met” through the Log of Whisper. He sat at his office job day in and day out dreaming of going cruising. Our roles are now reversed. Read all about his voyage and the charity he is raising money for, SOS Children’s Villages, at his website: Sailing for SOS
Hormone injected eggs?
Hans and I buy the majority of our groceries at Reading Terminal Market and Trader Joes. Last night we needed a few items that were specific to the grocery store (baking powder being one) so we went to the nearby Super Fresh. We pushed the cart up and down the aisles looking for the best price on almonds, searching out good crackers and salt-free canned tomatoes. A couple observations:
- chicken. Purdue advertises hormone-free, all natural* chicken. What is that pesky little asterisk? *The USDA/FDA regulates that no poultry can be injected with hormones or other additives. So they are advertising the fact that they are following USDA/FDA guidelines. Do they want a pat on the back?
- Eggs. I had a coupon for Eggland’s Best eggs – 50 cents off a dozen. Yikes! These ones are loaded with Vitamin B6; look over here, these ones have Omega vitamins! How about some eggs from hens that run around and eat grain and bugs in the ground?