When I woke up I attempted to make Peppermint Bark. My sister makes it every year. Not making it has been my tradition for about 3 years in a row. I have good intentions. I buy the white and dark chocolate chips and candy canes. I even go so far as beating the peppermint sticks into red and white striped crumbles. FYI - even if the chocolate candy doesn't get made, beating the heck out of something in a plastic bag is good for holiday stress.
Determined that this would be the year I went the distance, I began by melting the chocolate chips in an improvised double boiler. My mom used to have a double boiler. I don't know what happened to it. Funny how I still find things to miss about my mom. I stirred the chocolate until it was melted and smooth. I spread it out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then stuck in the fridge to harden. Easy peasy.
This would have been the perfect time to multi-task by frosting the sugar cookies I made the day before. I got side tracked doing something else as is apparently my new habit. When it was time to melt the white chocolate, I repeated the process, stirring gently as I waited for the chips to melt into a smooth paste. Only it didn't happen. It morphed into a kind of thick, dry ball. I'd been warned to watch it because there is a point at which the chocolate melts or becomes unusable. There was no discernable point. I stirred and watched but the chocolate refused to cooperate.
I called my sister who walked me through the steps of melting chocolate in the microwave. I'd purposely done it on the stove because I thought it would be easier to watch. While I started over with a new bag of chips, Johnson tried to bring the old chocolate back to life. He nuked it, stirred it, added milk to it. All he got for his effort was a blob of something he could use to patch drywall.
I had better luck with the second batch. It melted. I spread it on top of the dark chocolate and tossed on the crushed peppermint. Into the fridge it went and I put myself back to bed. The first thing I did this morning was check it. As I expected I had two separate layers of chocolate, not a pretty sheet of double-layered peppermint sprinkled bark. I was ready to toss the whole pan into the trash as well as the idea of every melting chocolate again.
So what does all this have to do with encouragement? First of all, I called my sister 3 times last night. Each time a little more frantic. Each time she calmed my chocolate-challenged jitters and offered suggestions as to what to try next. I'd be in a bad way if I didn't have her to talk to.
Secondly (is that a word?) having lunch today with my writing group friends reminded me just how important these ladies are in my life. If ever there was a group who would circle the wagons or come to my rescue, it would be these ladies. We laugh and cry together. We share our hopes and dreams as well as our writing. Critiques are offered with no agenda other than helping each other become the best writers we can be. I don't think you could find a more diverse group of women, yet the bond we share is as rock hard as unmelted white chocolate. I'm a lucky girl to be so blessed.
Finally, I'm also blessed to have so many cyber friends. They've never failed to lift me up and bring me joy, especially when I need it most.
Reaching out with a grateful heart to each of you,
P.S. My peppermint bark did not look as pretty as that pictured above.