Love, Baking, & Bipolar

Today I had peace in the form of sugar & screen. I had a return to myself for a few brief hours that has me calm with a smile hours later. All hail baking and the magic that was released into the world and the available screens: Love Actually. Even just hearing the theme music gets me all warm and happy.

Since I was a child pouring sugar all over the floor in an attempt to produce meringue cookies, I’ve been a baker. (butter baking trick at the end) There’s a feeling of all being right with the word when I’m baking on my own. There’s a calmness I don’t often get to experience in other activities including cooking. Can I cook? Yep. Am I amazing at it? Sometimes. Am I good at baking? Yes except pastry, I’ve never done pastry or pies. A moment of preening: I had a baking catering thing going to bake cupcakes & cakes for a year or so during the whole cupcake craze. I loved it, baking, creating recipes, figuring out ways to customize my products, and working with customers. I loved it all until it was cut short when toxic mold sent us my parents’. I didn’t bake there often, I think my Mom had flashbacks of sugar floor. This continued through another mold house until we finally found this home a little over 3 years ago, right at the time of my break.

Thanks to the low functioning brain of mine I couldn’t get my rhythm and was generally crap at anything but simple cakes. Anything beyond the simple was overwhelming and my lacking made me despondent, and I stopped for the next three years. As I got better mentally, I was terrified of regaining my 80lbs lost on a no sugar diet, so I didn’t do anything with grains or sugar. It was quite the bake blocker (I had to, sorry). Then, about 6 weeks ago I let the lithium carb cravings have little tastes here and there, satiating the monster here and there. Until 3 weeks ago when I thought, screw it let’s see if I incorporate a little here and there. I did, and I gained about 6 lbs. Taking some care, I’ve been baking over the last 2 weeks and am still hanging out between 6-10 up from my peak lowest weight. Thankfully I’m quite tall, so it’s not showing too much The most significant difference between then & now is that I don’t want to eat all of what I made, that’s part of what got me to my max weight. I thought the cravings would increase a lot, but I honestly only wanted 1 cookie. (“one cookie?” is now my daughter’s favorite phrase)

JC Van Damme in Kickboxer

The thing is, I lost many parts of myself during my break, a few stood out today. I hadn’t watched my annual Love Actually or any other RomComs really, even other ones I would watch often. I was in a weird place where my husband knew everything, and I began modeling myself after him. Don’t get me wrong, I love action movies, my Dad made sure of it. Watching Kickboxer with him is one of my favorite memories.  This love didn’t hurt when getting dates either, but they weren’t the only movies I enjoyed. Early in our relationship Miles & I would swap out, two for us, one for me.  It went on for years until life got busy.  You know, kids. I still watched them on my own or with the mini, but all that stopped, life was too much.

Today I spent hours baking Christmas cookies with Love Actually in the background. My recipe page turned into a blog ideas notepad as I was reminded of all my thoughts and feelings in this movie. It has every type of love I can think of: young, unrequited, adulterous, familial, lost, grieved, caregiver, and across language barriers. Some people complain it’s not romantic, but that’s the point. Love isn’t romance, it’s broad and varied, earned or not, it’s what makes us who we are and creates our life worth living.

Today I was at peace for a few hours.

While I was looking for photos, I learned that despite Hugh Grant’s confusion and some miffy authors, this movie is so widely appreciated it’s described a classic holiday movie and a cult favorite.

Baking Trick:

If you don’t have the patience or planning to get softened butter, just cut it up all over and tilt it a bit and it will go quickly. This also works with cream cheese.

More surface area = faster temperature change

You can find the sequel here, done for Red Nose Day 2017, complete with another Hugh Grant dance and the traditional music at the end covering charity scenes that has me all teary right now.

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