An Experiment in Giving
Monday, October 5, 2009

Like a compass with the dial set to show North, I think about myself automatically, no matter which way I turn. I think I've gone a little over the edge... I think about how much I'd like some new shoes, and a pair of those funky smart wool socks (striped). I dream about back massages, and weekends away. I wonder when I'll get more time to write, and about that next great story that's rolling around in my brain and how it would make a great blockbuster movie... It's all about me, baby. All about me.

To combat all this me-speak, I'm embarking on a year-long experiment, one I hope will stretch and continue to pull me out of my cozy, homey, me-shaped hole. I know I don't have the energy to start a new organization that would change the world in one fell swoop, but I do know that I can make a little more space in my life for others. This idea has been percolating in a very slow and organic way. It feels right.

I love to bake bread; it's already something I do on a semi-regular basis, especially in the winter--so I've decided that at least three times a week, for an entire year, beginning January 1st 2010, I'm going to simply double up on my dough and bake more. I'll continue to bake for my family, but with twice the amount of bread coming out of the oven I'm going to give the other half away. The fun will be deciding on who to give it to. I think it will be different every time. I've been experimenting a bit, trying my hand at this sort of giving for the past several months, and already the results have been fruitful, and surprising.

Just last week some bread popped out of the oven and it was fairly late in the evening. Most people had already eaten. So I told my husband, \"I'm just going to walk out the front door and see what happens.\" I stepped onto the porch and a woman was walking by, talking on her cell phone. I yelled and waved like a crazy woman. \"Have you had dinner yet?\" She asked the someone on the cell to hang on and then looked at me with a sort of twisted, questioning face. I raised my eyebrows and smiled. \"Uh, no,\" she said. I ran down the brick walk to the street and popped the hot bread into her hand. \"Thanks,\" I heard her say as I sprinted back into the house.

Why not give a hot loaf of bread to a complete stranger walking by talking on a cell? Why not? I'd love to walk by someone's house and have them toddle out the front door and hand me a bag full of pomegranates. That'd be cool. (There I go thinking about myself again!!!) I'm hoping to start something new. This blog will be a journal of my baking--and of those people I meet and the many things I know they'll teach me. I can't wait until January first! I keep wondering why I'm waiting at all.

Oh, but I'm stuck. That's why I haven't launched this blog yet. I simply haven't come up with the perfect name...In the efforts to try and figure this out, I had my family help me brainstorm some name ideas. It was fun, but I'm not sure we nailed down anything useable. Help! You'll see below that I need your help.

First round of bread blog titles
Loving Your Neighbor (boring)
Baking Bread (can't get more boring than that...)
Got Bread? (Oh, that's original)
Baker's Daughter
The Dough Girl
Sour Mom (the kids loved that one!)
Give Away Your Dough (Ha!)
Got Dough?
Give Dough?
The Reluctant Baker (Love the word reluctant, but I can't remember the last time someone had to twist my arm to bake a loaf of bread...)

As you can see, we didn't make much headway with this first batch of names. Though I do think that Give Away Your Dough has some potential :) From this list we used the simple technique of writing any single word that might apply to this idea to help us find more options and talked about the purpose of the blog. The purpose being: to highlight the very act of giving and inspire others to do the same. The vehicle for the giving is a loaf of homemade bread.

Here are the words we listed: dough, bread, give, love, neighbor, peace, sourdough, flour, sourdough, loaf, crusty, crust, mom, knead, yeast, change, generous, gift, daily, small, year, oven, wheat, others...

Second round of bread blog titles:
From Dough to Crust and Back Again
The Return of the Crusty Queen (Ha!)
The Year of the Crust
The Dough Giver
The Dough Whisperer (That totally cracked me up... I do pray when I knead)
Loaves for Blokes
The Sour Mom (The kids really didn't want this one to go unnoticed)
Kneading for Others
Loaves for Love
Out of the Oven (I like this, but I don't want people to constantly think that I'm expecting another baby)
Knead Dough?

So, it's open season on votes. I desperately want your feedback. Please bend your brain to help me get this right. It would be one way you could give... to me...

Love you! Help me!