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March 6, 2007
Rose and Ellen came over after their class, looking for work.

Sure, I said, you can mix up that cookie recipe on the counter. The flour's all measured. Remember that baking soda isn't the same as baking powder.

I knew that,
said Rose, and they began.

I was busy about other things. When next I entered the kitchen, everything was mixed and Ellen was dropping spoonfuls of cookie dough onto the first cookie sheet. Rather large spoonfuls, and rather a lot of them, but I didn't say anything, as she was halfway through the first pan already.

Into the oven. After eight or nine minutes, a sharp smell of burning cookie filled the air, and I checked the oven. All the too-big, too-close- together cookies had spread, running together to form a large cookie rectangle. A bit of the dough had spread right off the cookie sheet and landed on the oven floor; hence the smell.

Oh, no! Look at them! Ellen cried. I didn't know they'd spread like that.

Oh, that's okay,
I said. We'll just cut them into bars. Oatmeal bars.

I'm a bad person,
she said, burying her head in her hands.

Is she serious? I asked Rose.

No, she answered. Can we go on your computer and look at MySpace?

Cutting the oatmeal bars was easy and even interesting, in a way. Soon the cookie jar was full again and another bag of bars rested in the freezer. Occasional bursts of laughter sounded from upstairs. Q came home and pronounced the oatmeal bars a complete success. The girls must have agreed: the jar was half empty.

I love their visits. I love their drama, their humor, the way they blurt out things an adult would have the sense not to say. I miss the way they learn, which is primarily by mkaing mistakes. I miss young laughter in the house: it's a pretty quiet place. The cats can be funny, but they don't laugh.
This Thursday, March 8: The Geranium Journey travels to Oyster Bay, Long Island as guests of Christ Church. Brown bag lunch at noon, and a visit with Barbara Crafton. An easy train trip from Penn Station, NYC; telephone (516) 922-6377 for directions.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

Cream together until fluffy:
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar You can use Splenda for this as well.
1/2 cup white sugar

Beat in:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Sift together and add:
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Stir until smooth. Add:
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins

Drop by spoonfuls on ungreased cookied sheet. If you want bars, drop them too close together. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or so, until golden brown. If you made bars, the cookie will cover the entire sheet and the top will be a little soft. Let them sit for two minutes or so and cut into bars, then remove from sheet onto wire racks to cool. Makes about 4 dozen. cookies or bars.
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