Sunday, March 24, 2013

In Which I Ponder Cinnamon Rolls

Before i spend too much more of my day distracted from writing this post because i am trying to deduce the intricacies of uploading a photo from my iPad to my blog via Google+, what say I just get this written?

The above picture, which may or may not show up when you read this, is of a dozen of my made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls. One of the great joys of going to Grandma's house in Oklahoma was the little bun warmer she kept on the counter, and regularly filled with homemade cinnamon rolls. Although I never got her precise recipe, I did glom onto a pretty great one in the More with Less Cookbook. "Edna Ruth Byler's Potato Roll Dough." The recipe yields 100 rolls, cinnamon rolls, or a smaller number of donuts, and has always been a huge family favorite here. I have made cinnamon rolls in two different countries, multiple states, and most of the 10 or 12 residences in which we have lived.

I found this recipe in the days before anyone even knew what gluten was, let alone had a sensitivity to, or had to make foods free of. In the days before bread became known as the devil's playground because of the double whammy of gluten and carbs. Before we had to worry about such things as high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils. Back when things were simpler.

Although the results are absolutely delicious and aesthetically pleasing, I don't make them that often. There are reasons, of course, not to be stuffing myself, or my family, with carbs, even if the carbs are my cinnamon rolls. Along with my homemade French bread, my family loves my cinnamon rolls better than all the rest.

I made the full recipe today. Two big bowls of beautiful, hand-kneaded dough, leading to soft, warm, sweet, fresh cinnamon rolls. For my family. Not for me. I knew ahead of time I would not be eating any of them this time.

And it occurred to me.

What's the difference today? There are days when I'd kill for a doughnut, and I pretend there is no such thing as a serving size of ice cream or chips. Days when any rational thought my brain tries to suggest, which might lead to saying no, or to saying "enough," is summarily dismissed as the crazy rumblings of a looney tune. Thoughts like, "you know eating this is probably going to make you gain weight," "you already had some of this earlier today," "OMG, are you eating again?" "You are not even hungry! Hey! You're not hungry!" And I stuff my fingers in my ears, and stuff the food in my mouth. (Pretty talented, if you think about it.)

But not today.

I know how good these things are. I know exactly what ingredients are in them. I have no qualms about there being any baddies in them, like HFCS. I feel very proud of the fruits of all the work it takes to make them, and today I have the extra lift that comes from remembering that I froze some cream cheese frosting months ago and realizing I could use that! Bonus!

So, I'm curious. What is different about today that makes me able to bake them, smell them, know how good they are, see them, touch them, and yet not eat them?

And there you go. A blog post that asks a question and doesn't answer it. I'm going to sit with the question and see what comes up for me. Can you relate? Are there times when you can say yes to the better choice and times when the yes is far, far away and all you think about is having [it] now?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Free Vacation! (see fine print!)

Have you ever accepted one of those free vacations in exchange for attending a sales presentation? Did you buy what they were selling? 

I don't know much about time shares, and I don't even think i know anyone who has one. But I have been on the receiving end of sales pitches in the past. Today, however, was my first experience with the sales presentation as payment for the free hotel stay. 

We got off to a bit of a rough start. Compulsively Honest Me just wanted to let the guy know up front that we weren't going to buy what he was selling because we had zero dollars for something like a timeshare. He bristled, and commented that in his three weeks here, NO ONE had come in with their mind closed like that. (He has sold for other similar companies, so he's not completely just off the cabbage truck.) And then he mentioned that as a scientist, he cannot understand anyone closing their mind without knowing the facts. Whether or not he meant it, I felt duly chastised. 

Truth is, what he was selling did look great. At the moment of truth, he gave us a few minutes to discuss it, and we decided to say no. Then another guy came and offered us a less expensive deal, three of them as a matter of fact. And finally, after we said no to that one, the third guy came and offered us a special deal where they would put a prize freeze into effect for us for 18 months and during that time we would be eligible for a free stay at six different locations, one of which was Hawaii, which did appeal to us.

First price and program offered to us was $49,999 with $9,995 down today, and $648 for 120 months at 17.5% interest, which they suggested could be reduced if we refinanced it with our local bank. Final offer was $1,750 with $259 down or paid in full with a $100 discount. 

I'm sure their tactics work well. We said no. As clear as it was at the time that our answer should be no, ten hours later I feel SO relieved that we did not obligate ourselves in this way. The tactics worked well enough on us -- we were engaged in the conversation, and definitely were getting drawn into the idea of traveling to these beautiful places. But even as we talked, and he sold, we realized more and more that our lifestyle really doesn't fit with this system. 

Someday we'll get to Hawaii. Until we do, we'll have a potential more $648/month to put our kiddos through speech therapy and college and guitar lessons and home education curriculum.