Panus Bridgewaterius

Bread is done!
I love to bake bread. If it didn't leave the kitchen such a mess I'd bake bread every day. Bread requires patience. It takes time, and it needs someone who is willing to clean the mess. That doesn't sound like me. Yes, I sound about 100 years old. Who knew when I was 17 that I'd actually enjoy domestic tasks like baking and knitting.

There is something visceral in kneading dough. Turning four boring ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast) into something that rises, warming the senses and filling the house with a tempting aroma, makes me feel a sense of accomplishment like little else. Who doesn't love fresh bread?

But bread-making isn't in my nature - I hate the clean up. Flour and water = sticky mess. It finds its way everywhere. In every crevice of my hand. Underneath my finger nails, then in my hair. The mess diminishes the enjoyment.

It's been a long week in Lake Woebegone-Bridgewater. School shootings in other states don't seem so far away when the local high school is delayed due to a bomb threat. It was so 21st century: e-mailed from an anonymous account.

Other highlights of the week: One of my kids nagged me as I drove the five miles to her school about how it will embarrass her too much if I go watch her cheer - until I couldn't take it anymore and barked at her until the earth shook. My other kid gave the finger to a parent. Yes. The middle one. Yes, it was in jest. Yes, I am MORTIFIED. Turns out, though - he didn't. The parents misunderstood - but I made my son cry when I said "YOU ARE NEVER ALLOWED TO GIVE ANYONE, ESPECIALLY A PARENT THE FINGER!" It was clear he wasn't faking with his tears and "What are you talking about???" The parent misunderstood. He was pointing from his eyes (with 2 fingers shaped like a V) to the Dad's. In an "I'm watching you..." gesture.

Friday is here. I seek my PJs. I seek a glass of red wine. I seek comfort foods (bread and pasta - to hell with Atkins). I seek peace and security and warmth and love.

Peep, peep. The timer goes off. Something beautiful accomplished amidst my seemingly chaotic life.

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