Friday, April 30, 2010

It's not about the cookies

So I started a blog entry Wednesday night talking about the cookies I baked this week - and it was, as you can imagine how a few paragraphs about Pastry Pinwheel Cookies would be, well, it was pretty damn boring.  I was tired when I was writing it and I didn't have much to say, I figured there were a good dozen or more grammatical and typographical errors in it and in reality it was just 'filler.'  It was fulfilling the deal I made with myself to bake cookies and write about them; week 17, check.  But basically, it was crap.  Even though I try pretty hard to update my blog a few times a week and always by the end of the day every Wednesday - those few hundred words just weren't gonna cut it I slept on it - then started this, then slept on it some more.

I spent a lot of time, at very odd, and perhaps even inappropriate moments, over the past couple of days thinking about this blog and this little project of mine.  I hope it's obvious that I love being able to bake, and I'll confess that, when I have the time, I really do enjoy being able to write about it too.  And, yeah, sure I do hope someone other than myself may read it now and then, and knowing that that's a possibility kind of forces me to put more thought and effort into it than I may otherwise.  The baking and giving of cookies part of it as a project or a charitable act or good deed or whatever you want to call it, well, that's where it gets a little muddy.  You see, I really enjoy it, doing it for and working with the people at Gilda's Club certainly help to make it feel very fulfilling at times, it's nice when people comment or compliment, and of course that makes 'me' feel good...and then?  well, and then I feel bad. Because, well maybe it's my guilty conscious or Catholic upbringing, because then I get to thinking 'is that why you do this? to make yourself feel good?'  And I tell myself 'no' - and I hope I'm being honest with myself, and convince myself it's just a nice side effect of it all - but still, I can't help but thinking it's all a bit of a catch 22.

So then I thought about writing that, and decided that was being just a bit too open about everything, so I opted not to include it here - then, uh, I guess I must have thought otherwise.  Then I went back to thinking about what it is that I write about - and you know, it's an awful lot about cookies, in case you haven't noticed.  I try to make it interesting or maybe apropos of what's going on in the world - and I have no problem going into detail about baking: how I may have varied the recipe; why I chose one cookie over another; how I think they turned out, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.  I'm a detail oriented person (again, in case you haven't noticed) so the more detail the better - if there needs some explanation about the different types of flours or the merits of bittersweet chocolate over semi-sweet, then I'm your girl.  But, for whatever reason, this week, well, it just feels a little different.  Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's my mood, or maybe it's the conversations I've had or the people I've met - I know I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just doesn't feel right making small talk about salted vs unsalted butter this week.

I think more than anything I need to, or rather want to acknowledge this:  the fact that this is for people affected by, recovering from or living with cancer is definitely not, and never will be, lost on me.

Fortunately, my own experiences with cancer taught me that just because we may find ourselves in a tough, or for some, even an impossible situation, it doesn't mean there can't be hope and life and certainly some fun and enjoyment, fulfillment and clarity along the way - actually, I'm thinking 'the more, the better.'  So maybe it's alright to take all the good we can get, keep those that matter to us in our hearts, and for my part, I'll keep a cookie in the jar.


  1. It's funny, I often try to understand the concept of "altruism." Do we truly act kindly with no expectation of personal gain? Or do we act kindly because it feeds our soul? I don't know the answer. What I do know is that no kind gesture is without impact on some level; if it is simply that you feel good for a moment, it's worth it. You can never truly know the affect you have on others, because too often we rush through life and don't take time to appreciate. My friend, who lived with cancer for many years, lost his sense of smell for a very long time due to chemo. When he was able to smell again, he never passed the flowers in Wegmans without smelling all of them; he taught me to do that. Take time to smell the flowers, and taste the cookies; it's all good! _Heidi

  2. You enjoy making cookies & writing about them, and the folks on the receiving end of the cookies enjoy them. This makes everyone feel good. I think its a win-win situation.

    Thanks for everything you do.
    Faithful reader Kim

  3. Thanks for the comments, very nice of you both - so nice in fact that I've got the good/bad thing going on again! Just kidding, I think my biggest issue may be that I 'think' too much!

    And Kim, I cannot tell you how unbelievable it is to me that I actually have a 'faithful reader!' :)


  4. Mary Lou,
    Thanks for the chuckle.