Abstraction, funky flowers and cake mix cookies

Psychological abstraction, good or bad?

One of my new favorite words—or anti-words—is abstraction.

The other day I was watching a TedTalk on YouTube. Now, some TedTalks are really awesome and informative, and others… not so much. While watching one, this term abstraction fell into my head from out of the clear blue sky.

Too many dang abstractions! Provide something concrete and specific for the love of God. Did you think no one would notice?

Abstraction connotes dealing with ideas or concepts rather than specific actions or facts.

Words associated with abstraction: theory, preoccupation, absent-minded, daydreaming, distraction, generalization, speculation, hypothesis.

Sounds like this could be bad, depending on the context of course.

When it comes to psychology, abstraction takes on a bit of a different meaning though, and is thought to be a good thing–an advanced stage of thinking and learning. Carl Jung philosophized about it and plenty of psychologists have psychologized about it.

The development of thoughts or notions deriving from specific events. Ideas that cannot be discerned from a physical presence or physically touched–Abstraction

Too much abstraction can also be a bad thing though, I believe.

And perhaps this is one of my big downfalls. Meeting life’s goals requires specific actions. Perhaps abstraction can be like a false positive type thing. I think I’m getting somewhere, when all I’m really doing is thinking about getting somewhere. Abstraction may become a crutch for some people, including the social anxious person.

Less abstraction. This is my goal! Make concrete, specific and realistic goals and then work to meet them. Seems simple when it gets said like that!


The Peacock Flower—TT—JoAnn Ryan

Colloquially known as the peacock flower, I encountered these caesalpinia pulcherrima on the same visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Port of Spain as when I photographed the majestic bougainvillea for my previous post: “Moody Monday: What happens when memory suppression ends?“.

They are quite remarkable aren’t they? So intricate and showy. Native to Asia and introduced to the West Indies, this flora is sometimes considered invasive and weed like. Aww, poor thing! It’s quite wonderous I think.

The Peacock Flower—TT—JoAnn Ryan

Cake Mix Snickerdoodles—TT—JoAnn Ryan

Cake Mix Snickerdoodles

I love scratch cooking, but it’s not always feasible for me right now. Cake mix cookies provides a nice way to cheat–a zillion kind of cookies can be made with a simple Betty Crocker cake mix.

One I make often is to whisk together 1/3 cup oil or butter (Betty Crocker says 1/2 cup, either works) and 1 egg. Dump in a cake mix and mix well until cookie dough is formed. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

Flavorings like vanilla extract or cinnamon can be added as well as flaked coconut or chopped nuts. Once the dough has chilled it can be rolled into balls (using a small ice cream scoop is ideal) and then rolled in additional ingredients like cinnamon sugar or finely sifted powdered sugar.

Snickerdoodles are one my favorite combos. This time I decided to add an additional teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter as well as roll them in cinnamon sugar. I do love cinnamon! I also added almonds, sliced and chopped, to both the batter and the cinnamon sugar.

They were delicious and I was happy to get my baking fix on!

I do hope everyone is doing well. Looking forward to catching up with all of you! I actually published this post last week, but decided to pull it and publish it this week instead. I was a bit tired last week but feeling better now!

Today is my birthday. Going to Maracas Beach! Fun!


10 thoughts on “Abstraction, funky flowers and cake mix cookies

  1. Let’s start with – Happy Birthday, JoAnn! Delight in this day of cookies, bougainvillea, and Maracas Beach. Sounds like the perfect day, actually. Pity, though, you aren’t a Scorpio.

    As for abstraction, much of its relative usefulness (or not) depends on a person’s starting point. If someone is dealing with an issue directly, then he/she lapses into abstraction, it could be an avoidance. A means of distancing oneself from the problem.

    On the other hand, if one starts on the outside, abstraction could be a preliminary, a means of judging the situation ad of identifying its contours before engaging. In those cases, abstraction is a good thing.

    Now, as for that Peacock flower, native to Asia and introduced to the New World. In common with many Trinis, right? Ah, to live somewhere where such magnificence not only is common, but is considered to be weed like? Question is, is there any difference whatsoever between the Botanical Garden and the world outside its walls?

    Nice job on the snickerdoodles, JoAnn. One of my personal favorites too. By the way, that’s a heck of a “cheat,” especially considering how many improvements you made. So, you started with the flour and sugar mixed already, and you did everything else? Yeah, and you enhanced it with a ton of improvisations. Most people would consider that to be cooking from scratch.

    By the way, wonderful innovation on your part to boost the cinnamon, and to add almonds. A nice gift to yourself, and to your readers’ imaginations!


    1. Avoidance, yes that sounds familiar…. So much easier to deal with something, at least in the short-term. Thanks for the great explanation. Much better than mine!

      I do love cinnamon. Sometimes I will put it on my toast without even adding sugar. Healthier that way anyway.

      Thank you for the birthday wishes. I took a lot of nice pictures which I will post next week. I can’t complain too much but of course sometimes I still do, lol.

      Are you saying that you are a Scorpio? If so you would be the first friend I’ve ever had who was Scorpio. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do I claim a Scorpio’s style and title? Strong words. Just what the deuce do they mean?

        Along with blueberries and turmeric, cinnamon is one of those things which has no business being a superfood. It isn’t how any of this works. A superfood is something like kale, which you have to eat deliberately. Healthiness lags unless the eater gags, right?

        That’s a really good idea, toast with just cinnamon. Thanks for the tip!

        By the way, have you ever tried cinnamon in savory dishes? It’s surprisingly complimentary. If you recall the Persian Rice Pilaf post from a few years ago, that had cinnamon. Much more recently, and frequently, I dust chicken lightly with cinnamon sometimes, a minute or so before it comes off the grill. The chicken’s succulence makes the cinnamon sweeter, and the spice enriches the chicken.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve had some delicious Middle Eastern dishes that included cinnamon, cloves and such spices. Cinnamon on chicken sounds great to me. You’re right though, superfoods are not supposed to be fun or tasty to eat. Not always the case luckily!

          Well, now I will have to look up some things about Scorpios. Have to admit the deuce reference went completely over my head. I don’t mind admitting my naivete. What is that?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t waste time researching “what the deuce,” JoAnn; it’s just me being even more insufferably pretentious than I usually am.

            The phrase is fairly common in British English, and it means the same thing as does, “what the devil.” The closest equivalent for us (i.e., Yanks) is “what the heck.”

            Then why didn’t I just say that in the first place? You may recall the earlier statement about pretentiousness.

            Oh, and as far as superfoods go, look for something this summer which highlights two of them – blueberries and cinnamon. Double healthy and double delicious (fingers crossed!).

            Liked by 1 person

            1. There are Britishisms that I love, like mini-breaks and wobbly bits. The brits have a way of making even insults seem rather classy.

              Blueberries and cinnamon. Yum! Will look forward to that!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was indeed yesterday. I have this trouble with WordPress. Sometimes when I publish if I don’t forget to change the date it will use the create date instead of the pub date. Not sure if others have this problem but it’s extremely annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

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