Making it a December to remember - seeing the year off with bread and thoughts
And here we are, last day of the year. That particular day when, wether we want to or not, we end up thinking a bit more about what we supposedly are leaving behind - because we don't, you know? Leave things behind. They stick to us and make us who we are and I'm glad it is like that - and we end up taking stock of all we lived. I'm no different, though I usually start thinking about it come September. Always ahead of my time, that's me. So another year is over. Another chapter that ends. An ending of sorts, a door to a new beggining. I actually don't believe any of that crap, to me my year starts on my birthday and I never make plans for the changing calendar. I do take stock, I do think back, I do try to see what am I taking with me, what new lessons, what growth, what progress have I made? Some years there's nothing to account for. Some years there's far too much. Sometimes you reach the end of December so numb, in a crossroads of sorts mentally and emotionally you can't even look back and see the road that led you there. Sometimes, you just go through the motions and pretend everything's cool. Sometimes hope seems like a word in a book you once read. But you plough through it.
I guess if anyone who were to look my year in the eye, would say I have got nothing to show for it. I'm precisely in the same place I was one year ago, as I sat down to write a retrospect of 2014. Still sitting here at the same desk, a window at my right giving me glimpses of lives outside, of people who seemingly, and contrary to me, do have a life. Still working on the same blog that still gets so little visits and gets me nowhere, still writing novels that will never be published, still being mediocre, achieving nothing at all, with no income of my own, leeching off of my husband's hard work. That's what people see, when they look at my life from the outside. I, on the other hand, see something quite, quite different. For starters I am grateful I have a roof over my head and a house I can turn into a home for those who share it with me. I'm gratefull that we're healthy and that we can afford to eat balanced meals, I'm more than grateful that we can get to indulge in some small luxuries once in a while. I'm grateful we are loved and love each other. I'm glad I feel comfortable and secure in my surroundings and don't have to live in fear - despite being an anxious person! I'm glad my husband and son feel the same way. In retrospect, this is part of what I have achieved this last year. As well as the year before. But as these are things that aren't outwardly shown, they don't count. I don't expose these achievements, they are my own. Maybe I never got offered a watch by some company or other for being a blogger, and because of that I look like a failure to some eyes, but in my daily life I get so much more than that. Than stuff, things. People always seem to deposit so much importance in having things, in showing off the things they have. I wish for less of that, less of that need to show off, less of the need to admire those who keep getting things and showing those things. Because they're just things and when you suddenly come face to face with imminent death, or famine, or the loss of your roots and your roof and your security, things won't do anything.
In reality, despite the emotional ups and downs and all the troubles and toils that make up for our life and that we somehow seem to be getting used to - we're always being hit with some problem or other, and the end of the year is no different! - I feel there were a lot of private, personal victories and achievements in my life this past year. Despite society seeing the measure for one's success in the money one makes and spends and the material items one owns, I tend to regard success differently in my mind, and that ends up with a struggle within me of what really are my successes and what are not. To me I had plenty, this past year. Some, I won't even share with you, they are that personal, they're mine and I wish to keep them like that. Others may sound like sweet little nothings to the world at large, but to me they were stepping stones. Huge. Like having finished book two of my fantasy novel and having gotten to the middle of book three. Like beggining and finishing writing my first - quite lousy, actually, but still I rather love it! - mistery novel and having started two more new stories with those same characters. Like having published some very good content on this blog, as far as I see it. My styling and my photography have improved so much, I think. I still notice I shy back from overwhelming my sets with too many details and props, and most times it is not a question of less being more - if you were to go check my pinterest, you'd notice that some of my fave images are heavily ladden with detail and props. It's a question of insecurity, still, of thinking I am not good enough to pull it off. There have been major fails in the past, where less would have been so much more, so I rarely take that plunge. I want to do that more often, though.
I want to fiddle a lot more with my styling, and with the camera, I want to play more with light and perspective, and I want to edit in different ways. But I feel that I have come quite far already, and I should probably be a lot prouder about my work, my art - it is art, to me, even if it is not for the rest of the world!! - and cut myself a lot more slack. Still, I want to grow as this being that likes to pick up food and style a story around that food and then takes photos of the lot and dreams of making people dream with those images. I want to keep doing that, even if I may be giving you nightmares! I can't say I have found my personal style, I'm quite aware that nobody will come face to face with one of my images and imediately know "Oh, that's hers!". I am not consistent in that way, because I am always experimenting, I am always playing around with things here, I never comform to one particular way of styling and photographing. And that's probably bad, as my work is not easily recognizable because of that, it might feel I'm all over the place, when that's not it, not really. I just have trouble commiting to being one thing only. Or doing things one way only. Or thinking the same thoughts, saying the same words. I long for diversity and I long for experimenting. No matter how much that might harm this blog, I know I cannot stop doing that. I refuse, I will not stop doing that.
I am also quite aware we are not very consistent when it comes to the contents of the blog. I try to be, but... it has never been a case of getting my husband to cook something - I will reinforce the idea that this is a team effort and much of the food that gets center stage here at my blog has been cooked by my husband! - that I want to post in the blog. Look, I won't lie, it has happened, once or twice. But the truth is that even though I am the one doing the research, and coming up with things to cook, ingredients to try, methods to experience, recipes that sound good, it is never with a thought for the blog but for our bellys. We love food, see? So when I get him to cook something it is pretty much because I so want to eat that, the blog coming as an afterthought. Like something with little to no importance in the grand scheme of things, which is not particularly true, it has a huge importance to me. But it will never come before my family, and so the food we cook and eat ends up here because we wanted to cook and eat that, not the other way around. Another thing I'm aware of being prejudicial to my blogging status. It is as it is, anyway and that's the way we do things 'round here. At least I try to post twice a week, and I try to shoot and style food that really has been a good experience for us, both to cook and to eat. I think that's why I always have so many pictures of bread, and why most of the posts are cakes... we always bake bread and cakes over the weekends! It's quite convenient to pick up said cakes and breads, style pretty settings and dreamy scapes, and shoot. The recipes are never too hard, or time consuming, and the taste is usualy so good! This por blog lives on convenience, not on groundbreaking.
Like this deliciously handsome bread, filled up with cereals and raisins and nuts and spelt flour covering the top before it goes into the oven. The recipe can be found here, but instead of braiding individual small buns, we have been popping the whole of the dough into a tin as I have been rather particular to having loaves that I can cut into slices and make toast. I do love my toast on a cold Winter Sunday. As I have said before, bread tastes differently depending on the shape you give it, and this loaf will surely taste differently form the individual buns. Those are a smidge nuttier, I'll grant you, and sweeter, this one is less heartier, richer in taste and lighter as well, because you end up having less crust than with the buns. Still, it is a delight to have a loaf of good, warm, redolent bread come out of the oven and fill the house up with it's particular scent. It is a primeval feeling it gives us, that of primeval nourishment, a sense of security and safety, a feeling that all's well, and life goes on, and thank the universe there's bread to put on the table, at least, even if so much is going off its hinges and the world is going out of its mind around us. Bread can give you a sense of purity and togetherness, a sense of hearth and home, a sense of belonging. Bread is the purest form of nourishment you can offer someone, and the act of breaking bread and sharing it has so many hidden meanings one cannot even begin to understand. So let me break and share this bread here with all of you who visit this blog regularly, who read it - bless your patience!! - who find worth in me, in what I do here, who see the pictures and get carried away in your imaginations, who appreciate and find me talented enough to deserve your repeated presence and your comments. May bread ever be present at your tables, and may the year that now comes bring you plenty. Thank you.