Umm... Duh, Right?

This weekend, I finally cleaned the kitchen. There were a lot of dishes and no counter space and the trash needed to go out and the fridge had some spoiled food in it and it was. just. time. I don't mind cleaning, I guess, but I have to be in the right mood. It's hard to get up the motivation--I come home from "working"* all day and I just want to lay around. I haven't been feeling very motivated about anything in the last few weeks. But it was kind of getting out of hand. And when I finally do work up the will to clean, it's usually in a day-long frenzy of the dirt-blasting, dish-washing, laundry-doing, floor-scrubbing, life-organizing sort.

In completely unrelated news, I now have a clean bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and living room, along with clean sheets, towels, clothes, and dishes.

I have known since early high school that I work better in an orderly environment. I know it sounds kind of strange. But sometimes, when my room would become a pigsty, I had terrible trouble concentrating on my homework. I would have to clean up before I could really get down to it. I also realized that I got out of bed faster and in a better mood if I didn't have to climb through piles of clothes and shoes and junk to get to the doorway. Who would have thought?

Since I have recently been feeling like my life is out of control and that I'm surviving in a strange limbo land, it only makes sense that this would be a step toward living again. I can't believe it took me this long to realize this might help me feel a little more focused and in control.

So I scrubbed. And I vacuumed. And I sorted. And I tossed. And I laundered. And I folded. And I cleaned. You get the picture by now, right? Okay, good. I thought so.

The list of things to do dwindled, but the frenzy was still running strong. I stood in the kitchen and stared at the gleaming counter tops. And decided to bake bread. Two kinds of bread, actually. Whole wheat bread and herbed focaccia.

Just as I need an orderly environment to thrive, I also need a physical outlet for my stress. I should totally join a kick-boxing class. Then I would have a lower stress level and a lower weight level. But I'm cheap and lazy. So instead, I bake break.

That sounded weird, right? Let me explain. Making bread requires kneading dough. Kneading dough takes your whole body. It's not just in the hands. It's in the arms and shoulders, too. You put your weight into it. It's kind of like having a punching bag. A punching bag that turns into starchy, carby comfort food when your aggression is gone. So it's a win-win situation.

The funny thing is, I know this. I know that I use bread as a stress release. I've even told people about my need to bake when I'm angry. I kind of can't believe I haven't made bread to combat the RAGE. I think I might need my brain checked. It's been moving very slowly lately.

So I used this weekend to get back the control. I cleaned. I made bread. I relaxed. I deliberately ignored my job. It was so good.

And this morning, I forced myself to get up a half-hour early and have breakfast and make my lunch. Because I have been stopping for a latte and a muffin every morning on my way to work and then picking up some kind of fast food for lunch so that I have an excuse to escape my office for an hour. But who do I think I am, Rockefeller? A month of eating out for two (or all three) meals a day is hard on a budget. And it's not like my job pays that great. Plus, calories, people! No wonder I look like a blimp. I am SO SLOW in the thinking department. This was like a Weekend of Clarity for me.

I ate cereal and sipped freshly brewed coffee while I made a cheddar, ham, and turkey sandwich on HOMEMADE wheat bread. Then I added a whole ton of other lunch-like things to my pretty polka dot cooler bag, since Sister is awesome and went grocery shopping while I cleaned. YOU GUYS! Our house now has food and a place to cook it AND dishes to cook it on. These are like Nobel Prize worthy accomplishments, people!

So even though today was a weird day in which my boss came into the office and chatted about nothing for several hours, left at lunch and came BACK (almost unprecedented) and chatted for several MORE hours. This was incredibly helpful; I accomplished a grand total of zero things. So... Not really unlike any of my other days.* Anyway, I think I was in the middle of a sentence up there and totally left it dangling. SO, even though today was weird and uncomfortable, I was still in control! I ate breakfast before I left, brought my own coffee in a travel mug, and left the office for an hour and ate my packed lunch at the park in my car (Because WINDY! Ohmygod guys, it's FALL!), all without spending extra money or calories on crappy food I receive through a window.

Today was a good day. Not great. Not good good like last Thursday. But still decent. I was in control. I was not a RAGE machine. I was able to let go of my work stuff before I walked in the door, into a clean and happy kitchen. All in all, an improvement over many of my days this summer. SUCCESS!

Now you tell me one (or all) of the following things:
  1. Have you recently had a "duh" moment in which you realized a simple fix to a seemingly unfixable problem?
  2. Do you like bread?
  3. How do you deal with stress? 
  4. How do you maintain/regain focus and control?
  5. Have you baked my herbed focaccia yet?
  6. Have you accomplished small things recently that you are completely proud of and want Internet recognition for?
  7. What did you have for lunch today?

*Let's not pretend that what I do all day is actual work. Because it's not. It's a combination of  butt kissing, conflict avoiding, and secret blogging. Which is exhausting and kind of like working, but it doesn't result in any kind of marketable product. So, you know, "working."


  1. Sarah Pearson9/6/11, 10:18 PM

    It's 7.17am. I haven't had breakfast yet.

    I am completely in awe of anyone who can bake bread without it coming out flat.

  2. It takes good yeast and a lot of patience. The focaccia recipe takes almost 24 hours, so I don't make it often. Plus, you've got to have everything *just* warm enough to help the yeast do its thing, but not so warm as to kill it. It takes some practice, but I think anybody can do it if they have enough time. Which, who does these days, right? ;)

  3. 1. Yes. We were trying to wean the baby off her 5 am feeding but keep the 2:30 one. Which had her waking at 5 am every morning ready for the day (if we feed her, she sleeps till 7:30). My duh moment was when I said, "Hey, how about we get rid of the 2:30 feeding instead, so we can not be awake at 5 am every day? Worked like a charm.
    2. Who DOESN'T like bread?
    3. I have an unfortunate tendency to eat my feelings. This was not a problem in college when I had the metabolism of a greyhound. Now? Sort of a problem.
    4. I am still trying to figure this out. Usually it involves a lot of tears. There's got to be a better way.
    5. I don't bake. I like to cook but baking is too precise, I don't like to measure.
    6. I made Renaissance Faire costumes (NERD ALERT!) for me and the baby. My mom made my husband's because there's no way I would have time for all those. Also, I made a diaper cake for a baby shower I'm going to this weekend, and it's a little tilt-y but overall pretty awesome.
    7. I am sick so I had Kraft mac n cheese and chicken nuggets, and do not feel one bit bad about it.

  4. 1. Ha! It's amazing how these things are SO CLEAR in hindsight.
    2. True story, my friend.
    3. Ah, emotional eating: my long time friend and comfort. And I never had the metabolism of a greyhound...
    4. Tears are the first step. And usually my second and third, too. They don't solve anything, but they kind of feel good in a strange way.
    5. I love baking. Mainly because I like eating baked goods and I'm cheap. :)
    6. Congratulations! That sounds awesome. Plus cake? You're amazing! And you said you didn't bake.
    7. That sounds like the best meal ever. Now I want mac & cheese... Mmmmm.... mac & cheese...

  5. 1. I have those "duh" moments all the time. And then I feel like an idiot.
    2. I DO like bread. How did you know?
    3. Music. It's the only way I can deal with stress.
    4. Music, music, music. Music fixes everything.
    5. I have not, but my brother-in-law wants to.
    6. Uhh.... I'm currently re-learning to ride a bike. After ten years. And I haven't crashed yet. ^_^
    7. It's 9:40am where I am, I haven't had lunch yet. But I think I'll have Subway. =]

  6. You might be my new best friend because A) you had DUH moments and B) you clean like a crazy woman when you need to refocus just like my IRL bestie! Also, C) I love bread.

    I need BALANCE to keep/regain focus and control. When my days are UNbalanced I get really cranky. What this means is, I need to do some productive things, things for me, things for my family and have some lazy time all in the same day and I'm a happy camper!

  7. Cleats and Flip Flops9/13/11, 12:50 PM

    1. In a sales meeting, someone did a presentation on "kicking your own ass" to get out of a sales slump. One of the techniques was to clean and organize your desk. So I did, and now I actually WANT to work...okay, not really...
    2. LOVE bread
    3. Michael Buble relieves all stress (both his voice and, I would imagine, hanging out with him in person)
    4. I don't
    5. No, but I've eaten it!
    6. I cleaned my desk (top, files, and drawers!) and I played soccer last night for the first time in three weeks without dying!
    7. Haven't had it yet. Not hungry because I ate some cashews and a small piece of carrot pineapple cake that a co-worker made last night.

  8. yvonne@attractedtoshinythings9/13/11, 8:16 PM

    1. Awesome post, it has inspired me to clean my trashed house this next weekend. 2. Herbed *break*? 3. YOU HAVE AN AWARD WAITING FOR YOU AT MY BLOG!!!!! 4. I ALSO have a polka-dotted lunch bag!! Is yours white with turquoise and blue dots? SO IS MINE!!!!

  9. Balance is SO IMPORTANT. Where do you get some of that? It's always on my grocery list, but it seems to be back ordered at every store I go to. ;)

  10. Oh, Michael. I love that man... I need to listen to more of him.

    And? YAY about the soccer game. I really don't want you to die. I like you. And your face. Please stay alive. Amen.


    My lunch bag is brown with hot pink polka & orange dots. So we're like fraternal twins who dress *similar* but not exactly the same, which is cooler anyways.

  12. Relearning anything takes GUTS. And relearning something that could leave you with (minor) injuries? Rock on!

    When you went to Subway (which was like days ago, because I fail at the Internet), did you have the Honey Oat bread? Because that stuff is amazing. Especially for bread lovers. Although, I think it could convert just about anyone.