Friday, February 27, 2009

Baguette Bliss

Today was a successful day in the kitchen! I made a baguette! Yeah for me! I am super-excited about this because for me a baguette symbolizes bread nirvana. If someone mentions fabulous bread, I automatically think of a baguette with a hard, crusty outside and a soft, chewy inside. It also recalls a vivid memory of my first trip to Paris when I was in 7th grade. My parents and I were strolling along the Seine when we decided to get some lunch. So we ventured over to a street vendor to order a jambon (ham) sandwich. Do you know what he did? The vendor took a crusty baguette, stuck in on a metal spike, squirted some mustard, shoved some ham in it, then handed it to me. To this day, that is the best ham sandwich I have ever had.

Do you know another reason that I am thrilled about making a baguette? It's that to me, that baguette means gaining some small amount of margin in my life. You know, that idea of maintaining some space, a margin, between your daily life and the edges of the paper where you juggle the maximum amount you can manage. I'm not very good at maintaining margin. I possess a type-A personality and go non-stop most of the time without carving out time to do things that I actually want to do. Usually I'm okay with that; that's me and it's been me for many years. But lately I've been feeling a bit melancholy, like the pieces of my life puzzle are rubbing against and irritating each other, instead of fitting together smoothly. So, I think the fix is to gain some margin to cushion and lubricate the pieces.

Where to begin? Sometimes I would like to escape to a deserted island (complete with room service and a fabulous villa), but since that isn't going to happen I need to create some margin here in my daily life. This is where my bread comes in. Making my baguette means that I took the time to do something I wanted to do, not something I had to do- which makes such a huge difference. Now I need to ponder some other possibilities for making some space for me:

1. Exercise- I waffle between exercising because I want to and because I should. I did enjoy a great run yesterday, though. I was bouncing off the walls from too much caffeine and getting out of the house by myself on a sunny day did wonders for me. Note to self: run more frequently, especially if I keep baking and cooking like a maniac.

2. Maybe do a little shopping- not mall shopping; I dislike the mall. But trendy vintage shopping which means hunting for a great second-hand store which would be so much fun to find.

3. Listen to and play more music. Today I did something that I haven't done in several months- I played the piano. Tickling the ivories to Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" was so relaxing that I played it several times. The real trick to music as stress release is to get everyone else out of the house so I can play show tunes while loudly sing off-key or crank up my IPod and dance around looking silly.

4. Go to my happy places, museums and book stores. Maybe if I am super, super lucky I can squeeze in a day trip or two or three to some museums (and not children's museums, mind you, but real adult-oriented museums). I am trying to indoctrinate my daughter into the wonderful world of art history because I given up on my husband in this area. If I drag him to a museum, he just looks bored and asks how much longer we're going to be there. At this point, some things are best enjoyed alone.

5. Spend time with, or at least talk to, friends. I get so wrapped up in my life that I frequently forget that there are other people out there. Facebook has been great for this, though. Just seeing a random update from a friend reminds me about that person. I do admit that I would much rather send a FB message or IM on FB than pick up the phone and call someone. It's just so much easier and less intrusive.

6. Read more. Selecting a book that I want to read, not one I have to read so I can discuss it with Curly Girl, invites blissful memories of spending entire days reading in my younger years. Of course, now I do have to wear real reading glasses, as opposed to the fake ones, intended to make me look smarter that I wore in high school. I know, I'm a dork. I get it. I am such a nerd that I keep a list of books that I want to read, and one day I will get to them all. Speaking of reading, I am heading off now to curl up in bed with my newest obsession. I finished reading my hot-vampire book (see Addicted post), Twilight, but am now engrossed in its sequel, New Moon.

I would love to hear how you maintain some margin in your life. I could definitely use some assistance in this area. If you know of any great vintage stores in NC, I would love to know about those, too.

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