We have a saying in my family that goes like this: "Everybody gets to do what they want to do."
It started on a summer vacation attended by several family members, their significant others, some friends, and a gaggle of kids. It quickly became a nightmare to coordinate activities and meals and schedules for 15 people. So one day (out of itchy frustration) my mom announced, "Guess what? From here on out, everybody gets to do what they want to do," and it was decided that people were off the hook. Sub-groups formed, plans were made and whoever wanted to showed up. And if some were late or missing entirely, there were no hard feelings. If someone started to get a little testy about So-and-So being M.I.A., it was fair game for anyone to declare, "Everybody gets to do what they want to do!" and remind you to surrender. Not only did it work, it was brilliant.
Over the years, EGTDWTWTD* has evolved from simply a vacation tool into regular life use. For example, if you have a problem with another's behavior or a judgement about a decision they're making and you voice it to a member of my family, they'll throw a EGTDWTWTD in your face. Its an awesome reminder that you can't control people and that really, it's their life after all and none of your business. I can't tell you how many times I've said it to myself when I've been frustrated by another's actions. It just helps me begin that journey of letting it go. The truth is, we can never really know what's going on inside another person anyway.
*I know it's a mouthful of an acronym but I get to do what I want to do:)
This adage comes in very handy when you're living in Los Angeles because people do inexplicably NUTS things all the time. (If you read my blog regularly you know this.)
Case in point:
There was a trumpeter outside Trader Joe's today. It was a lady trumpeter so I think we should call her a trumptress. She was horning for donations in a long frumpy dress playing alongside a pre-recorded percussion beat. I do not know what more to say about this except:
Everybody gets to do what they want to do.
(See how easy it is?!)
The flip side of this concept is that you can give yourself permission to do what you need to do, taking others out of the equation instead of irrationally taking into account their thoughts and opinions about your life. Isn't that great? And ideal?
Like: instead of taking the easy road and buying them, you can make Oreos from scratch!
And if it pleases your little heart, you can do so while being accompanied by a pre-recorded percussion beat.
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
yields 25-30 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa (I love Sharfen Berger)
1t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 T room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortning
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor or electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. While pulsing or on low speed, add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing slowly (or pulsing) until the dough comes together. It'll be a bit dry--that's okay.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter (less than you'd think), roll them into little balls, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (2"apart) and flatten with your fingers slightly. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool completely.
Make the cream: mix butter and shortening in an electric mixer and on low speed add the vanilla and sugar. Turn the mixer to high and cream it all together for several minutes until super light and fluffy.
Assembly: Using a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs into the center of half the cookies. Place another equally sized cookie on top and gently press, letting the filling ooze to the outsides. (Alternatively you can use a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off to pipe the filling.) FYI, here's a link on how to fill a pastry bag.
P.S. A semi-related quote that happens to be my most favorite:
"What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"