FIVE-Minute Wonder

timer, time, five minutesI only have five minutes to bake.

Now, who can make scrumptious, tasty chocolate chip butterscotch oatmeal bars in five minutes? Not I, but that fact has never stopped me. Because I always try to fit in too many things in too little time. And then I whine, “Why can’t I get everything done?”

Nice, the way I psychoanalyze myself, I decide, as I soften the butter and pour in 1½ cups of white sugar, mix, then add ½ cup of brown sugar. The purple mixer, a sweet Christmas gift from my son and his wife, whirrs along like the hummingbirds outside our window. hummingbird, time, baking

Until we moved back here to the temperate climate of the bay area, I’d never heard the soft buzz of the hummingbirds’ wings as they compete for the sugar water in our feeder. Hard to replicate in words or even human sounds. How to describe? Like a hundred bees racing by my ear, only without the buzz. No, that doesn’t do it. It’s a hum as indescribable as the sound of a mixer’s beaters swooshing in the creamy butter/sugar blend.

I watch another hummer whiz past as I crack in one egg, then the other. Of course, I cogitate; my son had ulterior motives for giving me a new beater for Christmas. He loves my cookies. And he’s smart, I’ll hand it to him. He moans with delight and appreciation every time I bring him a new batch of chocolate cookies or, his favorite, my ‘forgotten cookies.’

Shoot! Speaking of forgotten, I am now 2 minutes late for my yoga class. I add another egg and a teaspoon of vanilla. The smell of the extract gives me a sense of serenity usually experienced after an hour of yogic gyrations. Total nirvana. Funny, how one of the synonyms for vanilla is ‘bland” or ‘plain.” Vanilla is one of the finest aromas in the world – up there with honeysuckle or the ocean. ocean, time, yoga

Ocean! Oh no, I promised my brother I’d send him the pictures from our summer seashore vacation. Has it really been a month since then? Where’d the time go? I almost sent those photos two weeks ago, but I got immersed in writing some new chapters of my book, and visiting our Berkeley grandkids, and my ‘day job,’ and our four out-of-town visitors in the past month.

I measure 2 ¼ cups of flour and slowly add it into the bowl, attempting to not sneeze as the white powder tries to escape the impending merger.

Speaking of merging, my daughter calls, interrupting the cookie making, and talks about the latest ultrasound. She and her husband merged again, and a third child is on the way. How the hell did I become a grandmother of five, soon six? Last time I looked, I was tucking our children to bed after reading them the fourth chapter of The Witch, the Lion and the Wardrobe.

Oh damn. I forgot to pick up the dry cleaning again. My wardrobe is suffering for it – will I need to wear the same blouse from three days ago? Horrors.

The mixer moans and I remember that I’m beating the hell out of my concoction. Quickly, I add the oatmeal and the chips. I’ve missed yoga, I’ll have to add a load of clothes to the washing machine now, and the potatoes are bubbling for the casserole tonight. Where was I?

Ah yes, five minutes to get everything done. I glance up at the clock. Well, I only have five minutes now before I need to….The dog hits his head against my arm. “Feed me,” he says, “Now.”

“Henry, it’s too early!” I tell him with a twinge of sympathy. But I glance up at the clock. Twenty minutes past his dinner time. Where oh where did those five minutes go?

cookies, chocolate chip bars, time, baking


29 thoughts on “FIVE-Minute Wonder

  1. ha ha…great post! I used to be able to get stuff done in 5 minutes. Come to think of it, I was pretty good at multi-tasking too. Not so much anymore! Lost that ability after I turned 50. (-Love that hummingbird photo)


    • Oh, I was hoping I couldn’t do as much in 5 minutes because I was trying to do too much – age is not allowed to have anything to do with it! :+) Yes, hummingbirds at dusk turn into magic.


  2. I hear you, sister-friend! Personally, I think we lose our multi-tasking skills as our kids grow up and the tasks become less urgent.


  3. We women are supreme multi-taskers until we retire. I actually feel wasteful only doing one thing at a time in my five minutes. Now, about those oatmeal bars, share the love, sistah!


  4. If you can fill the unforgiving five minutes
    With 300 seconds worth of distance run,
    Yours is the world, and everything that’s in it!
    And – what is more – you’ll be a woman, hon.

    (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling, even though he’s dead and all)


  5. You wore me out with the fun and craziness – I’m going to sit down for 5 minutes, but wish I had a cookie and a glass of milk, so I could be doing something in that 5 minute break!


  6. Great story! I can’t understand why the clock keeps going and I don’t! It keeps getting worse in this oil-of-old-age era! Guess that’s why I found this wonderful box of choc chip cookie mix … all you add is one tsp of butter and one egg and voila! Definitely not as good as yours but you can spend more wasted time on the computer and still not get anything done!


  7. Roughwighting, you tell the most marvelous stories. I loved your cookie-mixing escapades so much. I have been trying to do lots in five minutes all afternoon. Pick beans, make phone calls, plan a surprise visit, pick tomatoes, move furniture, clean table, read 100 blogs, no, wait a minute, make pico de gallo. Your story made this crazy life seem wonderful, missed yoga class or no.


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