Crossroads

crossroads

I wouldn’t call it Writers’ Block. I have plenty of ideas and lots of thoughts to share. I still adore writing. Yearn for it, actually.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lost interest in blogging or in social media. I maintain a curiosity for what others have to say and I feel a thrill of creativity when I think of the possibilities.

It’s not – exactly – that I don’t have time, though time certainly is an obstacle. A daunting obstacle for one who works full-time (among various other commitments) and has a forty minute commute on either end of the work day. Still, it’s not, I suppose, an insurmountable problem for one who has the proper motivation.

No, instead I’d say that I’m suffering from a kind of soul ache. Some people might call it depression, but it’s not – exactly – depression.

I’m tired. Not physically tired, but spiritually exhausted. I find lately that I don’t have it in me anymore to furiously race against the clock just so that I have a couple of hours left at the end of the day to devote to a blog post. The very thought makes me weary.

This all came on fairly suddenly, and so I have to ask myself, Why? What’s different? More importantly, What’s the solution?

Do I need to narrow the focus of my blog? Since T’s been back from The Stan, it feels less like a MilSpouse blog and more like an EverythingUnderTheSun blog.

Or – and I keep coming back to this – do I resign from the blogging world entirely and focus on a larger, more cohesive piece of writing? Maybe. I’ve always wanted to do that and, most unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do both.

Somehow, though, the thought of giving up my blog hurts me. I love my blog and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. I adore the people I’ve met through blogging and am grateful for the connections I’ve made. I revel in checking for comments and, of course, in reading my Odd Blog Searches.

How can I give all of that up? I know cutting the cord is always painful, but that it’s often required to move on. I just don’t know that I can do it. Yet, here my blog sits like a virtual orphan.

That hurts me, too, but I need some time to think.

So, on the advice of a friend, I’m taking a blogging sabbatical. You may see me around now and again. I reserve the right to post an occasional entry, should The Muses be kind. But I suspect I will be largely absent for at least a month or two.

I need some time away from belly shots and memes. I need to re-learn how to think in threads longer than 140 pithy characters. I need to rout the words seriously, totally and like from my vocabulary. I need to stop believing that the interverse needs to know my every thought milliseconds after it flashes across my consciousness. I need to know that I can be clever without being critical.

I need a soul vacation.

View from Glen Boulder

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Yesterday the pavement on our driveway was oozing and bubbling. Today the weather was slightly cooler – just enough to solidify the lava flow – but it was still blazing. My feet burned stepping out on the wooden planks of the porch and the metal clip of Owen’s leash was hot to the touch.

We’re Mainers. We’re supposed to be prepared for any weather, so we did what we do best: we coped. (Actually, Owen is reportedly from Arkansas and I was born in Massachusetts, but we’ve got squatters rights.)

Owen sat by the pool to beat the heat.

Owen by the pool

I sat next to him, dunked my feet and ate a wonderfully refreshing Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicle. And played Angry Birds.

What?

Now, you know you want to be as cool we are (or at least as Owen is), so you need the popsicle recipe.

First, you need these:

ice pop molds

Because store-bought popsicles are full of sugar, high fructose nastiness or other bad-for-your-body sweeteners. Not that I’m judging. Except that I am.

Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 2 c. cubed fresh pineapple (canned won’t yield the right amount of sweetness)
  • 1 – 1-1/2 c. Pom juice
  • 1/2 c. ginger beer (I use Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, which is sweetened only with pineapple juice and honey)
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice

Directions

1. Place pineapple chunks in a blender. Pour in Pom juice until just covered. Add ginger beer and lime juice. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour into ice pop molds. Leave a little room at the top for expansion as the pops freeze. (Also, the ginger beer makes it frothy. You may need to scoop out some of the foam and pour in more of the mixture.)

full ice pop molds

3. Freeze for four to six hours.

4. Enjoy! You may need to run the molds under cool water to get the popsicle out.

popsicle under faucet

But it is so worth it!

Popsicle!

Sorry. This picture is actually of a watermelon-mango popsicle I made a few weeks ago (it sounds better than it was). I didn’t take any pictures of the Pineapple Pomegranate ones because I was too busy eating them, but they are a deep red with swirls of pink froth running throughout.

Beautiful on the inside and the out!

Like this guy:

Owen by the pool

Stay cool!

Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Creeeaaaak! Poof!

That was the sound of me opening my WordPress account for the first time in almost two weeks and blowing the dust off of my dashboard.

I don’t really have an explanation or any excuses, so let’s get down to business.

This morning I was chopping fresh pineapple and thinking about all the cool treats I could make to counter the temperatures that were bursting through the 100 degree mark like an angry bird on a mission. (The previous sentence contains a hint as to where I’ve been for two weeks.)

100 degree temps

My house, today.

Many people don’t feel like eating in the heat. I look at extreme heat as an opportunity. A delicious,  refreshing excuse to eat homemade popsicles, smoothies and ice cream.

My pineapple idea hit me harder than a Mack truck hits a moose. Not that I’m a moose. Although if I keep eating ice cream, it will become a distinct possibility. But who cares? How good does Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream sound? Pretty moose-worthy, right?

So here’s what I did:

First, I ran to Facebook and posted this:

FB Ice Cream Idea

Then, oh, about nine hours later, I concocted this:

pineapple coconut milk ice cream

Let me assure you that the consumption was as spiritual as the conception. So, if you’re looking for a little religion in your life, try this:

Pineapple Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c. cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (gluten-free, of course!)
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional, but it adds thickness)
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pineapple (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions

1. Combine first five ingredients (coconut milk through xanthan gum) in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for about an hour for best results. (But you can proceed to Step 2 if you’re desperate.)

2. Pour mixture in ice cream maker and use as directed. I have a Cuisinart and it’s awesome. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you could probably use these instructions, developed by the fabulous Chocolate-Covered Katie:

Mix the ingredients together in 1 or 2 shallow plastic containers. Freeze. (You could also use an ice cube tray.) Once frozen, pop the blocks out of the container (I thaw for 30 seconds in the microwave first) and blend in your Vita-Mix. (If you don’t have a vita-mix, you’ll probably have to thaw longer, but you can still get a yummy ice milk.)

3. While the ice cream maker is doing its thing, spread the finely chopped pineapple on a dish in a single layer and pop it in the freezer. Add it to the churning ice cream five minutes before it’s done. (If you are using the Vita-Mix method, omit.)

4. Enjoy! I sprinkled mine with some additional shredded coconut because I’m fancy that way.

Oh, and if you’re feeling guilty, don’t worry. T and I did a three-mile walk with nearly-full pack this evening, so I’m sure I sweated out some of those moose-inducing calories.

Probably.

By the way, I also made Pineapple Pomegranate Popsicles today (say that three times fast). It was probably the best popsicle I’ve eaten and that includes lime Freeze Pops. Any takers for that recipe?

How about you? What do you do to beat the heat?