Tomorrow is my birthday, which marks twenty-five years that I’ve been on this earth. And Monday was my Dhagpo anniversary, which marks one year since I arrived in this magical corner of the Dordogne.
Birthdays are good for a lot of things—taking oneself to the symphony, eating midnight cake with best friends, exploring ancient caves in distant lands. I guess I’ve had some pretty stellar birthdays. Tomorrow I get to make lunch for my favorite wily old Tibetan, meditate with the Buddha’s relics, and eat cake with my Dhagpo family. The goodness of my life takes my breath away.
Which reminds me of another thing birthdays are good for: taking stock and giving thanks. What have I done in this year of my life? Moved a few thousand miles around the world; fallen in love; accepted responsibility; faced heartache; realized dreams. I’ve become a part of something bigger than myself, for which I am ready to give my all and teach my heart to open.
Which is no easy thing. I told a friend yesterday that when I really look and let myself feel, beneath the quotidian flotsam, I always have the sense that my heart is broken. He said, “A broken heart is an open heart.” I chided him for inexcusable cliché. He laughed me off and said, “Fine, but it’s true.” And damn it all, but it is true.
I’d like to heal my heart, to sew up all the cracks and feel better once and for all. But a heart with no cracks lets nothing in. And feeling fine is a fixed affair, while the world is not a fixed place. So, okay world, thank you for breaking my heart. With change, and beauty, with terrifying uncertainty, and ear-ringing possibility, with everything that I cannot determine, and to which I can only open.
I’m in for another year. Let’s do this thing.
I mentioned cake, but that’s for tomorrow and so there are no pictures yet. For now I give you cookies, because who doesn’t like cookies and plus these had people raving. If you think it is both distastefully wholesome and rather uninventive to add oatmeal to peanut butter cookies, I understand. I thought so too. I only did it because I wanted to use up some oats on the same day I needed to stave off a possible too-much-peanut-butter-and-jelly-by-the-spoonful catastrophe. Fortunately, it turns out the result is much greater than the sum of its parts. Two familiar flavors with two awesome textures meet up for homey, toothy, utter satisfaction.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Will Cook for Smiles
1/3 cup (75 grams) butter
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 mL) creamy peanut butter
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 cup (125 grams) of flour
1 tsp (5 grams) baking soda
1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
2 1/2 cups (225 grams) of old fashioned oats
Preheat the oven to 350 ˚ F (180 ˚ C) and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and then peanut butter and vanilla extract. Sift in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. Add the oats and stir until evenly distributed.
Scoop into 1 1/4-inch dollops onto the sheet pans, spaced two inches apart. Bake 8 minutes for soft cookies and 12 for crunchy.