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It's the time of year when the kids tend to hover a bit.

December 7, 2010

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It's the time of year when the kids tend to hover a bit, snoop around here and there, ask questions they normally wouldn't - you know. I don't mind all this, and wasn't surprised when, during intermission, they wandered into the kitchen where I was making Reindeer Balls (my version of Russian teacakes - oatmeal instead of nuts) and asked, "Mom, if you could have anything for Christmas, money is not an issue and it has to be something material, what would it be?"

Well, now, I couldn't come up with much at all except for a DVD player (ours kind of blew up last spring) or a new crock pot (same fate as the DVD player). "No!" they hollered. "It has to be just for you!" Big sigh. I'll need a bit of time to think, I told them, and asked that they come back in 24 hours and ask again.

I do my best thinking while I'm baking or cooking. Sometimes vacuuming. Anything that takes focus. But it was shoveling I had to do most of Sunday, and shoveling doesn't require a lot of focus. Shoveling is where I fantasize about things. Not naughty things, mind you, but things that would be really really wonderful if they happened or appeared or simply were. Not that I need them to happen; sometimes the thought is enough. Like if all the mosquitoes just up and died one day. Or if hair grew only where it's supposed to grow during one's lifetime. Or if there were suddenly a pool of warm raspberry Jell-O in my backyard. Or if all the crappy, self-absorbed drivers got flat tires one Saturday morning at a particular time. That kind of thing. This time around I thought about how great it would be if some wealthy anonymous old land baron paid my way through school so I could get a degree in psychology and counsel people like I do a lot as it is but I'd get paid for it, and in turn I would bake cookies and pies and cakes for him every week as a kind of thank you stipend deal. Before I knew it I was done shoveling, and still hadn't come up with a response for the kids.

When they did ask, I said I had to be honest, and that what I wished for was a thing, an event, and it would be that we would be together, at some point over the holiday, for even an hour, and share a meal, and laugh, and tell a story or two before we all ran off our separate ways. And if that doesn't happen, that's fine, because it's bound to, eventually. We're a family, after all, and families tend to find each other, wherever they may be. Come hell, high water, or enough snow to keep you shoveling most of a Sunday afternoon. Love is like that. It gets through things. It would be nice, though, to be able to plan a meal. It is the holiday, after all. You know.

These bars offer up a delightful combination of tart and sweet.

And they look pretty. Just in time for Christmas.

Cranberry Chocolate Graham Bars

12 graham crackers (double squares) broken into pieces, 1/2-1 inch

2 sticks butter

1 cup light brown sugar

6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup dried cranberries

Place graham cracker pieces into an 8 x 8 baking pan along with cranberries.

Combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil for two minutes.

Pour hot brown sugar mixture over crackers and berries and toss to coat. Bake for ten minutes at 350. Sprinkle chocolate over and let cool for an hour. Cut and store in fridge in covered container.

Enjoy!

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