I think it’s good to be reminded now and then that I’m alive. Not only alive, but vulnerable. Remember that one part about life where none of us are invincible?

Last night I visited a dear elderly friend in the hospital. He’s always been the active, outdoorsy type, and he recently broke his neck in a wacky snowmobile accident. He instantly went from strong to weak, mobile to paralyzed, independent to helpless. Wow. I try to wrap my brain around that, and it just doesn’t work.

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I’m currently taking an online course for Medical Transcription. In studying all of the organs, tissues, and systems, and all of the many, many things that can go wrong with all of them, it’s mind-blowingly amazing that all of us aren’t in the hospital, all of the time.

Life is short. So make your battle plan: Carpe diem. Show your love. Give hugs. Call your mom. Plant flowers. Learn to sing. Volunteer. Read books. Hold a baby. Go for long walks. Bake cookies and give them to that new family next door. Turn off the TV, and get up from the computer, and start living life instead of looking at it. I’m not talking about hedonism here, I’m talking about taking advantage of your time and energy and youth to accomplish things now.

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Now, speaking of celebrating life, I brought you baked goods. The epitome of bliss, right? These scones are delightful. I’m saving a couple for breakfast tomorrow.

Cranberry Gingerbread Scones

adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces

Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup buttermilk

2-1/2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for egg wash:

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 cup turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the lemon zest and cranberries. In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, molasses and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1-1/2 inches thick. Cut the circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with some rolled oats, or turbinado sugar.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.