Procrastination City

Z took the boys to a park Saturday morning where they met up with friends. He’s been trying to get them out of my hair as much as possible so I can work on my paper. I’ve been trying to procrastinate as much as possible because the reality of my paper is freaking me out.

We were invited to a birthday party that evening and I volunteered to make cookies. So my Saturday morning procrastination was quite useful rather than a waste of time. For once I listened to the tiny bit of reason that I posses and didn’t plan a complicated decoration. I just piped outlines and dipped them in colored sugar. As I was finishing up the piping I realized I’d had a hell of a lot of fun for a few hours. The whole process-making the dough, rolling it out, getting the perfect consistency of icing, deciding on the decoration and then executing is satisfying to me. I know that repetitive tasks bore a lot of people to tears, but I dig ’em. It’s like you get a bunch of opportunities to chase perfection.

2 e cookies

When I’m done all I see are the mess ups. How to I ease up on the amount of icing at the corners of the Es so they don’t collect more sugar than the straight lines without breaking the flow? How do I get the curve of the top of the 2 to look more uniform? Is it easier to knock off the extra sugar as soon as I’m done decorating or when I’m ready to pack them up? Identifying the flaws and trying to figure out a better way to do it next time is part of what makes it exciting and satisfying.

I got to do something I love completely unencumbered by the boys. I felt energized and, as corny as it sounds, really grateful.

truck cookies

I miss baking for a living.

My procrastination activity on Friday was doing our taxes. Not a lot of fun while I was doing them, but holy shit, I swear I’ve shed a weight that has been hanging around my neck since the first tax document arrived in the mail in January. Yesterday’s procrastination activity was an epic nap. Today I’m writing this and making pierogies and gnudi. But the best procrastination event will happen on Saturday. Z and I are driving to the city so he can attend a work event that only lasts two hours. He’s got a free hotel room for the night so he convinced me to go with him. We’ll be gone for about 30 hours and our amazing friends will stay with the boys.

The paper is due on April 25th. So far procrastination has been pretty wonderful, but I do need to get my ass in gear. I’m looking forward to the morning of April 26th. The feeling of relief at having it done, man, I can’t wait for that.

naked dance party

This weekend T had a naked-save-for-one-sock dance party.

sick boy

C’s first cold since the ear tubes were put in and so far he isn’t spiking a crazy fever. The damn things seem to be working!

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Screw Ups

The cookies and pie were made right on schedule Tuesday. Actually, the apple cake was made on schedule as well. But when I took it out of the bunt pan it fell in two pieces and the top of it was burned. Shockingly I didn’t handle it with a lot of grace.

Baking is my thing. I did it for a living for several years. I’m not a pastry chef by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never worked in a restaurant. But I did make yummy stuff at a tiny wholesale bakery. It gave me an understanding of working with dough and confidence as a home baker. This cake that fell apart is my go-to dessert. My mom got the recipe from a roommate back in the early 70s. It was clipped from a newspaper or magazine where it was part of a Rosh Hashanah  meal menu and had the inspired and creative name of Jewish Apple Cake. It’s my Dad’s favorite and was my first birthday cake. I love making it with apples we’ve picked ourselves in the fall. The bakery I worked at was owned by an Israeli woman, we basically made the same cake for the holidays in individual loaf pans. We did plum cakes as well. The bottom line is this cake and I have history. It’s easy, it’s no hassle, it always comes out right.

I mean except for Tuesday it always comes out right. And it did come out fine the second time. Of course, I failed to take a picture of that one.
Listen, I have self confidence issues. They are a huge part of my anxiety disorder. I wish when the cake fell apart I didn’t fall apart as well. I wish that I didn’t spend a big part of Tuesday beating myself up about it and feeling pathetic. I don’t want my boys to see me losing it when I mess up. I don’t want them to think that it is normal to be so hard on yourself. Some days I feel like I will never beat this anxiety thing, not even enough to function. How do you fight a whispered voice in your head on a never ending loop that tells you that you are a piece of shit because you messed up an easy recipe? After a few hours of hearing the message it is really hard not to believe it.

What I want to be able to tell my boys is that everyone fucks up. That beating yourself up about it is a waste of time. That having 2 out of 3 desserts (or whatever) turn out is probably good enough. That the world isn’t going to end if you don’t remake the cake (or whatever). That life is too damn short to torture yourself. And if I tell them enough times perhaps I’ll start to believe it. In the meantime I’ll make the cake a second time. I’m glad I did. Like I said, it is my Dad’s favorite. And his birthday was yesterday. So he had leftover Jewish Apple Cake as birthday cake.

I told T he could pick out a present for Grandpa. He insisted on getting a cherry picker. I told him Grandpa was turning 64 and asked if he really thought Grandpa wanted a truck. T assured me he totally did. 
I did a crap job with pictures. Here’s the only one of the pumpkin pie. Use your imagination. 

And some gingerbread cookies. 
My fellas just before we headed from one cousin’s house to another’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Sadly, T is speaking volumes with his actions in this one…