Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Self Flagellation

Pardon me while I vent for a moment.

No one is happier than I that Christmas is finished. (Though that is disputable since really, today is the fourth day of Christmas and there are eight more days to go until Epiphany). But my obligations to Christmas are finished anyway. One week of my precious school vacation was consumed with Christmas preparations and seventy five dozen cookies (give or take a few). With one week of break left I should be able to use it to rest, relax and rejuvenate before getting back into the school grind for another semester. I say "should" but that would be in my dreams.

On the Second Day of Christmas I had to clean up the aftermath of the First Day of Christmas. And that would only be the dishes and chairs and boxes and leftovers. I'm not talking about decorations or Christmas trees. I also had to bake hazelnut cake for a client order. I started that project out by not toasting but burning the hazelnuts at $10 a pound.

On the Third Day of Christmas I worked for four and a half hours without a break to ice and decorate the cake, delivered it in the pouring rain and finished it off by a night spent tossing and turning over my dissatisfaction with it.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas I baked, iced and decorated a carrot cake to take to a meeting with a bride and groom from out of state who were visiting for the holidays and wanted to taste cake and plan for their wedding. An half an hour before the meeting, while checking my notes about their wedding details, I discovered that on the date of their wedding in July, I have a large commitment that will prevent me from making a wedding cake for them. Regardless, I had to proceed to the meeting and give them the cake with my apologies and good wishes that they can find another baker for their date.

From the meeting I went directly to the sports club in desperate need of some stress relieving exercise. The only exercise I actually enjoy is swimming. I have found swimming laps to be exceedingly relaxing and meditative. It is almost perfectly quiet under the water. I can clear my mind and get into a zone and swim until all my anxieties are gone. The trick is to get to the club when no one else is in the pool (most people like to sweat on cardio machines or flail around on tennis courts anyway) and then the swimming is truly divine. But since it is Christmas vacation, of course, the pool was full of people. In the lap lane there was a girl with Down Syndrome just hanging out. I asked her if I could have the lane and she was only willing to share it with me. I could tell it was completely useless to try to coax her out of the lane (her own sister could not) so I decided to swim around her, trying not to kick her as I went by. This kind of situation makes it difficult to meditate and get into a zone though the girl was very supportive telling me "good job!" at the end of each lap. She didn't tire of coaching until I had swam nearly thirty laps. By that time I had to keep my eye on my own kids that they were staying out of the way of other lap swimmers that had arrived and were anxious for me to finish up so they could take over the lane.

So much for my recreative relaxation.

Tonight one of my offspring brought me one of my Christmas presents that he had sat on and broken.

What will the Fifth Day of Christmas bring? Do I dare get out of bed to find out?

Enough whining.

Either the cabin enclosure and lack of sun is getting to me or I just plain don't know how to rest, relax, or rejuvenate. How do you?


  1. I'm right there with you. Only my runaway thoughts are what's keeping me from rest. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning going over things in my head that can't be helped in the middle of the night. Today I'm taking my boy to a movie. We're going to laugh, eat popcorn and forget about everything else for an hour and 45 minutes. Maybe an outing by yourself will help? A photography jaunt? Or shopping therapy? Praying you'll find a way to the three r's soon. (Not the academic kind either.)

  2. I know how you feel, but how did the clients like the cake?

  3. Ha. We are all in the same boat, more or less. I'm finishing a rush job indexing for a publisher (who "forgot" to send me one of the chapters that happens to be 250 more pages!). Cattle are coughing so we are giving everyone a booster today (more time away from indexing).

    On a positive note, will you show the hazelnut cake? This is my dad's favorite (he's 98) and I always come up with one every year for him. Our neighbor shucks his own hazelnuts and gives them to me. If you were in Iowa I would donate to you! 8-) Happy Boxing Day (a day late).

  4. Now that brings up questions in my mind about growing hazelnuts. They are a huge crop in Oregon which has quite a different climate then Iowa. I will keep the hazelnut cake recipe request in mind.


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