Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Confessions of a Stress-Baker

I tend to obsess. I don't pretend to be unique. We all strive for more balance in our lives. But the truth is, it's easiest sometimes just to throw yourself head-long into a project or ambition and let everything else go to pot. Eventaully when the project is over or the goal met, you can go back and pick up the pieces of your previous life and salvage the important bits.

I'm trying so hard not to do that this time.

But somehow, a month has passed into a tornedo of contracts, insurance policies, U-Haul rental, and electric bills...oh the electric bills. Some things can not be spared - I'm still dedicating 7.5 hours a day to government work. I'm still making meals (sporadically) and doing laundry (occasionally). And I still take the dog out a few times a day.

It's my writing that has suffered. I have three unfinished drafts of blog posts. They're all bad. I guess in some ways I have a good excuse. After all, I'm buying a house. I'M BUYING A HOUSE!! But in the midst of the insanity, I start to feel myself losing grip of familiar, comfortable things that make me feel like myself. So I bake.

Last week, I took a look around and saw that I had: a pan of brownies, banana bread, banna muffins, lemon curd, white cake and mascarpone cream frosting. This might be hard to believe: but I didn't even eat any of it. Some people stress-eat. I stress-bake.

Baking gives a sense of control. You follow exacting instructions and use measuring cups and spoons. You use a specified temperature. You have success!

Baking appeals to all the senses - the light powdery flour, the golden crust of bread, the warm aroma of baking, the scratchy music of zesting lemons, and of course, the flavors making good on every promise.

And best of all, baking can be shared.  No one can see how panicked you are when you are handing them a brownie.  Stress, which makes you feel like the worst version of yourself, is hidden when it is behind a steaming loaf of banana bread.

So I bake and bake and bake.  I'm going to try and be more balanced this time.  Fewer cookies and more words for my book. In the meantime, I have plenty of food...at least until I pack my baking sheets.

Here's a photo of the "new house."  It was taken in the rain from behind a cow gate.  Good as it gets for now, I'm afraid.  Closing on Friday!

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