I’d forgotten how therapeutic cooking can be. Baking, in particular. I do believe people usually lean one way or another. You have your bakers, who like measurement and absolutes, and then you have the cooks, who look at various ingredients and can play, with it with or without a formal recipe. I’d just finished Alyssa Shelasky’s “Apron Anxiety”, where the kitchen functions more or less as her sanity – providing her a release when nothing else seems to be able to do the same. Great book – perfect summer read if you love food and haven’t picked it up yet.

 

Last Wednesday, I’d planed on making T a big batch of peanut butter cookies. I figured I’d be up late making them since I had trapeze, but I found myself home an hour early after leaving midway through the class in tears. While the class wasn’t my finest, the substitute teacher who didn’t know me or my capabilities had said some things which really upset me. Out of line seeing as this is something I do only once a week rather than in their formal circus training program.

Still coated in a thin layer of chalk that seems to linger until the next morning, I started scraping out what was left of my large container of peanut butter from Costco. It doesn’t last long when you’re making peanut butter cookies, at 2 cups worth a pop.

This is my favorite recipe which I found on AllRecipes.com. I made them for T before a road trip only a month after we started dating and I’ve used it ever since. Lesson from last time – if you’re running low on granulated sugar, stop and go get some. It’ll be worth it. I added the tiniest bit of Splenda and it made them come out flatter than usual.

Ingredients
• 2 cups peanut butter
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 pinch salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & grease cookie sheets. Stir peanut butter and sugar together until smooth. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets (if you put them too close together, they seem like they’ll never finish cooking!). Press a criss-cross into the top using the back of a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (I usually start with way less and work my way up to avoid burning the bottoms). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Yesterday I went back to the rig for another class, determined to turn the prior week’s experience around. And even though I’m not where I was (had to take off 3 weeks when I tore up my hand in class and then a few weeks before that, I’d been out 3 weeks with a sprained ankle), I like to remember where I’ve been, and then I feel pretty good!

Here’s an older video… my swing is way lower. My toes aren’t remotely pointed and my strength, though more than it’s pre-trapeze days still is not so apparent.

I had to remind myself I’ve gotten stronger. Way stronger. This is me swinging for the first time out of safety lines three months ago. All me for the first time. No one pulling my lines. No one there to save me if I did anything dumb or to pull in any way, shape or form to help me get additional height. Just me. Just me.

And this is last night… Not perfect, but hey, I’m back up there. After all, that’s all I can do. Because unlike him, I know where I’ve been and I know how far I’ve come. Long road ahead but sometimes you have to keep it all in perspective, bake, and smile.

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