Okay, so deal: why am I
baking making granola for two when I’m only one?
No, I’m not preggers, you sick Sherlocks, I know who you are and this isn’t a British teledrama episode called The Sign of Three.It’s the start of a new swim season around these parts, where outdoor pools reign supreme and the scent of chlorine wafts off my saturated skin in noxious waves. Our greatest fear is that winter is coming and heaven forbid the temperature drops below a chilly 68 degrees at night.
So naturally, I’m following Manatee Survival Rule #1 and storing up body fat for the winter months. Duh.
Life has a funny way of crumpling all our life plans into a wad of week-old newspaper and chucking it in a whole new direction. I started swimming when I was 3, but it wasn’t until 9th grade–right after I quit my competitive swim club–that I actually fell in love with swimming as a sport. As luck would have it, I failed to make the school volleyball team (in hindsight, a good thing) and then I got cut from soccer tryouts (a very good thing–I loved playing soccer, but oh dem soccer Mean Girls), so I ended up in normal-people fourth-period PE instead.
Gym was–there’s no way to say it nicely–a waste of time. I was an athletic kid in a pool of floundering, I-don’t-do-movement types–literally. During our swim unit, they forced us to stand in the shallow end of the pool and swim across the short length of the pool, which is like asking a cheetah to sprint across a sandbox. Not that I’m a cheetah, because then cross-country would probably have wanted me and that’d be a whole different story, but you get the point.
And in that lackluster, dingy family pool was where I first met Mike
Mike found me as I was streamlining underwater. Somehow the school couldn’t find a sub that day and asked him to step in. When I popped my head up, he was standing at the edge of the pool with his hands on his hips, and the first words to me were:
“So, what’s your 100 time like?”
Rather surprised at this abrupt introduction, I told him I probably went a 1:10 but that I hadn’t checked in a while. He chuckled and shook his head.
“Oh, don’t worry. You’re much faster than that. You’re coming to try out for the team this semester, right?”
And that’s how I became a freshman varsity swim team member. I don’t remember hesitating or wondering, “Do I really have what it takes? What it this leads me somewhere I hadn’t anticipated? Will I be able to commit? Will I even like it” I simply took a suggestion, tried it…and found it serendipitous.
That lack of hesitation threw a whole new aspect on my high school self: suddenly I was not only good at something, I was part of something special. That year I went to my first regional championship with a 0:55 time for my 100 free; by my senior year, I was back for my fourth and helped the team secure two Top 5 relay medals, two new school records, not to mention a Top 16 for myself (in the 100 fly). Better than all that, though, were the strap lines and the absurd goggle tans; the kind of ridiculous amounts of food we shoveled down every day (3 ice cream bars and 2 donuts easy before dinnertime); the cheering and the huddling and the deck changing and the Instant Ramen. Lots and lots of ramen.
In a lot of ways, I admire my younger self for my unquestioning chutzpah, for that undeterred drive to simply dive into new things (like bad puns) and test out the waters. And it’s something I’ve striven to reignite as I explore, cook, swim, and laugh my way through grad school as well. For a period last year, while I was studying away from campus and no longer teaching, I disconnected myself and was 10 times more miserable for it.
Thankfully, this year, I’ve sprung back onto the test board: I’m back in the pool, sharing my love for baking with everyone around me instead of hoarding it in secret, taking dance classes again, joining up international mentorship & social groups, making nighttime excursions to Disneyland, meeting new acquaintances at the gym, and living life. We complain that the hours in every day are too short as it is. Then who’s got time for useless questions?
Saying yes opens a lot of doors, but you’ll never know which one leads to a treasure trove until you try.
So when King Arthur Flour offered to send a bag of this gluten-free almond flour my way, I said (well, squealed, maybe) yes. Yes to the dress. Yes to this flour, which I’d been dying to try ever since I started dabbling in more GF recipes like this and this.
I threw a handful of it into this one-minute coconut granola, and you probably know where the story ends: in my tummy. The whole darn batch. For two. In one belly.
Because winter is coming.
And the manatees are whispering to me, you, and this granola. They’re saying, Just say yes…
This is not a sponsored post. I received free products from King Arthur Flour to test and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 110% my own.