Is the world becoming an angrier place or is it just Vancouver? Damn, people are angry here (myself included. I’m one of the worst culprits of rage-ism sometimes!). Remember how the Husband and I went to Maui in April? Everyone there was so incredibly chill. Relaxed. Straight up happy. They even made it a point to tell us how happy they were. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian economy’s not doing so well and the locals all told us that they had to work two or more jobs, seven days a week. Despite their financial situations, we had so many people tell us that they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. That they work hard and play hard. That they were incredibly happy. Maui is paradise. You can’t be there and NOT be happy.
I hadn’t been that relaxed in a long time. The stress just melted away. I mean, there was glorious sunshine and blue skies every day, the air smelled sweet, the food was amazing, and the people were just so gosh darn friendly.
As soon as I boarded the plane to return home, I could feel it. That nervousness in my fingertips. That nagging in the back of my brain. That darkness that crept into my chest and threatened to overwhelm me. All the stress and anger and bitterness from my normal day-to-day life was filling my body, even before my plane touched down.
I’ve had a lot of conversations lately with friends about the state of this city. The consensus is this: Vancouver is a swirling vortex of negativity and rage. Everyone’s in a bad mood, all the time. No one is courteous or friendly. There’s no such thing as human decency, politeness or kindness. It honestly shocks me when someone raises a hand to thank me when I’ve let them change into my lane or when someone says “thanks” for holding open a door. You could knock me over with a feather and it really makes my day when I smile at someone in the elevator, say hi and they actually respond. It’s rare these days.
Case in point – I was walking Abby around the block the other night and was standing on a street corner, waiting for the light to change. I saw pedestrians crossing on their right of way, with drivers doing their typical thing of driving right up to the human being in the cross walk because they can’t wait an extra second to turn left. The jerk-off in the car at the front of the line started yelling at the pedestrians to walk faster so that he could turn.
Yeah, dude, because I’m sure you were racing to a burning building to help rescue babies, kittens and old ladies. Chill the frack out, dbag.
Oh, I should also mention that the aforementioned pedestrians included an old lady pushing a baby in a stroller. Just run them over while you’re at it, buddy. Society will understand. You’re an important person with important places to go.
Seeing that kind of BS really grinds my gears (random reference for any of you fellow Family Guy fans out there).
So to combat the feelings of depression and indignation that overwhelm me on a daily basis,
I drink I bake cheerful things like these lemon poppyseed blueberry muffins.
Lemon Poppy Seed Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Joy of Baking)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
Zest of one lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
Preheat the oven to 370 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners or grease.
In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, zest, poppy seeds, vanilla and almond extracts.
In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Don’t over mix the batter or else your muffins will be tough.
Fill each muffin cup about halfway and sprinkle in a layer of blueberries. I do this because I find that mixing frozen blueberries into the batter always colours the batter, regardless if I cover the berries with flour.
Top with more batter and dot the top with a few more blueberries. If you’re using fresh berries, you can probably fold the berries directly into the batter before scooping into the muffin cups.
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 5 to 10 minutes then move the muffins to a wire rack.
These muffins were just what I needed to sweeten my sour mood. The muffin is incredibly tender and moist, thanks to the buttermilk. You can’t beat the flavour combo of lemon and blueberry and the poppy seeds pop delightfully against your teeth with every bite.
So instead of getting mad at the world like I do on the regular, get thee to the kitchen and bake sunshiney muffins!