I overheard my dogs telling their friends about me baking a cherry pie.  They expressed appreciation for interrupting their monotonous life with my spasmodic machinations in the kitchen, a place where I usually consume rather than create. They asked for Rachel Ray but bargained that cheap entertainment was better than none.

Baking a pie is a contact sport for me. My sister, Carmen, can whip out a piecrust in a nanosecond on a place the size of a plate. I need an afternoon and 144 square feet of countertop.  When finished, her clothing is immaculate, yet I look like the ghost of Christmas past. Still haven’t figured out how flour got inside our canister lights.

My failure rate on pies is 78%.  However, I decided I would try it again since I’ve learned some new tricks:

  • Follow directions– I like smartphones because I can appear unflustered doing what guys loathe: asking for directions.  I carefully followed the cookbook directions.
  • Be patient – No Olympic athlete wins the gold medal the first try.  Why do I expect perfection the first time? Or the tenth? I took my sweet time.
  • Don’t compare myself to othersGary Wiens, says the cruelest effect of the Edenic curse was that humanity began to determine their worth based on the opinions of others.
  • Positive attitude – I quoted “The Little Train That Thought He Could,” and sang, “I did it my way.”  The dogs asked for more quotable remarks and for a little Credence Clearwater Revival.
  • Surround myself with encouragers– Yes, they were dogs, but they are masters at expressions of gratitude. They even asked for an encore. However, I doubt I would invite a cat to watch me bake a pie. Cats can be so junior high.
  • Accept what you can’t control– No force of my will could have baked that pie any faster.  My alteration of the process of time and temperature would have prevented success. Some things just gotta take time to bake.

The pie was a success. My wife calls it the “Breakfast of Champions” preferring it to bacon and eggs any day.

What tricks do you use to tackle formidable tasks?