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12/22/06
Solstice and Sticky Buns
Filed under: general, rides
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 1:10 am

This evening was probably the most abbreviated Solstice Ride I’ve done in a number of years.  Normally, I head for distant trails, and on good years, get a chance to consider Things on this longest night of the year. Then, on the next day, when the sun rises just that tiny bit earlier, I begin to pick up some momentum towards the spring. It’s an annual drumbeat of sorts, the time to ponder plans and think about how lucky I’ve been to have certain people around -  much more so than any religious holiday, and certainly much more so than the forced frivolity of New Year’s Eve.  

For this year, things just kept piling on, as they have seemed to recently. My wife has been using a lot of energy to care for her mother, who went in for reasonably sudden surgery, so now she’s fighting a pretty tenacious cold which has her coughing as she tries to sleep. Tashi has still been getting the odd wobbly interludes, though they are now neither as repetitive nor as intense as a month ago.  Then a couple of gifts which I’d had “knocked and done” proved to be “wrong and unavailable.”  The shift to “Gift Plan B” meant a run of duking it with the squabbling hordes of panic-shoppers. I’ve worked enough retail to know that this is generally a Bad Idea. Now, shopping in a busy store isn’t death-defying, just a bit fret-inducing as the choices get a bit slim and people push past a little faster.

This morning it started raining - not a nice, warm-winds-from-Hawaii sort of rain, but the cold and chirpy rain tossed down from the north. Though I had the chance to take the car, as my wife wouldn’t be using it, I opted for the large contact patch of the 650B’s beneath the Zeus.  Good choice, as it turned out. To be in a car, stuck in the snarls of traffic amidst the rain, would’ve just added frustration to a reasonably stressed day.  I got to engage in my favorite pastime of uphill passing, then downhill passing, then merrily floating along through and past the traffic. It was the best type of day to be getting places by bicycle.  A little cold rain? Heck, I wasn’t gonna melt.

On the way home, I looped around to the bookstore and to another shop, which took me about and around when the winds seemed even colder. Struck out at both stores, actually, and then tacked northward towards home. Towards the top of the last hill, I came upon another rider heading homeward.  He was pretty well outfited, big honkin’ fenders and weatherproof bags.  A traffic light caught us up and I tried to say something about tomorrow being longer.  It got garbled by the winds and my resting gasps.  I finally chattered out that it was the longest night of the year, and he smiled and agreed that we’d make it.

Yeah, we’ll make it.  Maybe that’s the message for this Solstice. There are a lot of levels on which I hope that’s right.  We’ll make it.

So, at home, after a steaming hot shower for me and some strong soup for dinner, the other holiday season task lay before me.  I knew that the ride had been enough to consider the season.  It was time to bake.  Grandma’s Sticky Buns.

My grandmother died fairly young, but I remember whenever we went over to visit, a batch of the Sticky Buns seemed to be coming out of the oven. I came across the recipe a few years ago, and tried a batch.  It wasn’t a terribly difficult procedure, but required a touch of planning and commitment. The evening before, you need to make the dough, let it rise up and pound it back down before laying it out a second time in the morning and getting flour all over the kitchen.  These use copious amounts of brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and when they are baking up, you can smell them down the block.

I started by making them for the family holiday brunch, and then added batches for other folks last year. This year, I’ll be swinging by some friends’ offices with them.  Since Friday is the last time they’ll be in the office, the batch has to start tonight. Hence the final impetus to call the Solstice Ride fulfilled.

And I’ve been hanging out a bit late tonight waiting for them to rise  - they are ready now:

And with a quick slappity-slap, are ready to go into the fridge until tomorrow AM:

And with that, I wish you a happy Solstice - the days now begin to get a bit longer, and maybe we’ll make it, afterall.

2 Responses to “Solstice and Sticky Buns”

  1. Jim G Says:
    Photos, please, of the finished product! YUM
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    Just to add to my web-geek cred, I snapped a few “in process” photos this AM. I’ll get ‘em posted before too long…