Friday, February 6, 2015

Vanilla Bean Scones

After 15 months away, I’m finally back in Minneapolis. In fact, I’ve settled not even two blocks from where I used to live. It’s familiar territory, to be sure. But there’s a lot going on in my life that wasn’t there before—enough, in fact, that I almost feel I’m starting fresh in a new city. I’m living with three women my age who all lead interesting lives and cook really good food. I’m getting on the bus every morning with a thermos of hot chocolate (I’m like a French child, I know) and a book in hand. I’m taking ballet when I can, writing when I can.

I like this life.

I wouldn’t be me, though, if I weren’t grappling with some degree of inner conflict. It’s nothing new, really. Part of me wants stability, comfort, a reliable paycheck and income that will allow me to live alone, or buy myself a grownup-size mattress, or, I don't know, go for some boozey brunch every now and then. I'd like to be able to say, “Hey, should we open another bottle of wine?” to an empty room on a Tuesday night. I'd like that to be an option.

And I think I could’ve had all that by now, and the reason I don’t is because of that opposing force in me that’s always wondering what’s going on over there, what would that be like. A meandering life driven by daydreams and whims doesn’t much allow for Sunday brunch and bottles of red wine that came from somewhere other than my mom’s house, but what it lacks in passing luxuries it makes up for with the feeling that I’m really squeezing the juice out of life, pulp and all.

That dissonance won’t be going away anytime soon. But right now I’m thankful that I have some freedom to explore options. I’m thankful that the first thing I see when I wake up is the winter sunrise over uptown rooftops. And I’m thankful that I can drive north for a weekend at home, split open a few vanilla beans, and mix up these incredibly light and flaky vanilla bean scones.

The recipe makes enough for a crowd, but I freeze the leftovers and take them to the office over the next several weeks. I grab a coffee on the way, settle in at my desk, and eventually unwrap the first scone as a reward for putting in a solid 15 minutes of work.

Treats like this are, for me, a way to assert ownership of my life. Those small moments when I turn away from the screen to sip the coffee, munch the scone–they belong to me completely. If you think this sounds a little too abstract and sentimental, I suggest you try it. Take a few scone moments. Take enough of them, and the day starts to feel like your own, no matter where you are.

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