Good afternoon, friends and neighbors! It’s good to be back behind the keyboard. Emily and I had a great time down in Florida, despite a few hiccups along the way- a bit of motion sickness, misplaced forms of ID, you know… the usual. Right?
As I hoped, or possibly feared, Florida gave me a lot of quiet time to think. Of course, my wife, mother, and in-laws were present to streamline things and make sure I didn’t spend the entire time sleeping or lost in thought- but there were plenty of moments when I knew I had to get my head in order, and more than a little worried about what that order might mean.
It’s a very frustrating and disconcerting thing to be afraid of your own thought processes. Here I was, trying to take a vacation that I sorely needed, and I couldn’t even do THAT right. My parents-in-law- who were putting us up in their house in the Lakeland area of Florida- gave us a blank ticket for whatever we wanted to do. “Treat yourself!” they said. “Whatever it is you want to do, do it because you can. You need to relax!”
A wonderful invitation, and certainly something Emily and I availed ourselves of- but self-care is not the same as “treating yourself.” Self-care is often doing things you don’t want to do- or are afraid to do- because they need to be done to make yourself better.
Good evening, friends and neighbors!
This week’s entry is going to be a little light, and next week’s is gonna be… well, non-existent, because I’m finally getting to go on vacation. Emily and I will be heading down to Florida for a few days to see her folks. It’ll be our first chance to ACTUALLY get away in nearly two and a half years, and frankly, it couldn’t have come sooner.
Good afternoon, friends and neighbors.
The clock starts as soon as I walk in the door.
In the first 10 – 15 minutes of my day in the bakeshop, I need to:
1. Determine the state of the front counter and what they will need immediately.
2. Whether anything has been requested that I didn’t anticipate the day before.
3. Amalgamating my task list for the day.
4. Pulling anything that will need time to come to a workable temperature (frozen doughs, cream cheese to soften for icing, etc.)
5. Prepare my station- knife roll where it’s accessible, sanitatizer bucket and towel, extra dry towel tucked in my apron.
6. Review any instructions from the pastry chef.
7. Get a cup of tea or energy drink in me.
Once I have that list ready (as well as an energizing beverage), the planning begins.
Good evening, friends and neighbors.
The bike ride to the cafe is only about 10 minutes on the way there, and 15 or so on the way back because of hills. There’s a certain part of it that I really enjoy- it’s when I
pass by Laurelhurst park. Sometimes I cut through and then I can ride a long-bomb hill right down to the
“BAGEL WITH CREAM CHEESE AND LOX. AND CAPERS.”
cafe. It’s an exhilarating part of the morning. On Thursdays and Fridays, Chris the bread guy is on and usually leaves a freshly-made plain bagel on my work bench
“YOU ARE MY GOD.
WHERE’S THE GODDAMN LOX. AND CAPERS.
… It’s a good way to get the day started.
About the Author
The Black Hat Baker, a.k.a. Matt Strenger, lives in SE Portland, Oregon as a professional baker. Here, Matt bakes, cooks, exercises, and explores, returning to his wife and their hobbit hole up Mt. Tabor to write about all of it.
Email the BHB at blackhatbakery(at)gmail(dot)com
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