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The Alexandria Papers Newsletter

The Alexandria Papers
The Alexandria Papers Newsletter
By Dr. Alexandria Szeman  • Issue #4 • View online
Finally! It happened. After over 50 years of baking, 4 years of successfully baking bread (we’re not counting my years of bread-baking failure in college), and two weeks of nurturing a starter, I baked my first sourdough bread. It was a little small, but it tasted delicious. Now comes the hard part: perfecting this recipe for “simple” sourdough bread (as the recipe calls it, “perfect for beginners”).
It amazes me that though I’ve been continuously baking bread for the last 4 years, each time I begin a new recipe, it’s like starting over as a complete and utter novice. I pretty much mastered simple rye bread, and that was why I decided to be brave and try sourdough. Now, on to better sourdough.
What about you? What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve ever baked or cooked?

My very first loaf of sourdough bread!
My very first loaf of sourdough bread!
Mindfulness
I’ve had a very hard time “staying present” this week, if only because I’m grieving a major life change – and loss. I keep reading that one should “stay” with grief, so that’s what I’m trying to do. But it’s so painful and so hard. Mindfulness helps me be more patient, like when I’m waiting in line, but apparently mindfulness doesn’t lessen grief. At least, not mine. Not yet.
General anxiety disorder was helped by cooking therapy | The Washington Post
Migraine
On the advice of my migraine specialist, I went to a medical massage therapist in my 40s. She worked – for five years – on any mechanical issues that might be worsening my migraine attacks and increasing their frequency. She also taught me how to do some of the massage myself. I still do it regularly, and it does help lessen, if not completely alleviate, the pain.
How to Practice Self-Massage for Pain Relief | Migraine Again
Trauma and Sexual Abuse
One of the things the medical massage therapist told me was that, despite my having been in therapy and dealing with some of the trauma of the 15 years of rape and childhood sexual abuse, I’d never dealt with the residual trauma in my body. When she worked on me, waves of grief and images of myself as a child often came to the surface. The trauma still isn’t completely healed, but there’s not as much physical pain as there used to be.
Mental Health
The pandemic, since we’re all in it together world-wide, has brought more attention to mental health, and I’m very glad of it. As someone raised in a severely dysfunctional family that expected everyone to “act normal” no matter what kind of abuse was going on, I’m relieved that people can finally admit they’re struggling and seek help.
Americans Understand Importance of Mental Health, But Still Neglect It
Books
I adore Sylvia Plath’s poetry, but apparently I’ve never read much about her life: I didn’t know she loved cooking. This article was fantastic, as were the images of Sylvia’s hand-written recipe cards (see the bottom of the Atlas Obscura article below).
This Writer Is Tweeting Everything Sylvia Plath Ever Ate | Atlas Obscura
Cooking and Baking
I’ve been baking forever and I didn’t know some of the tips presented in this article. Have I told you lately how grateful I am for the Internet of Things and its vast store of information?
Baking Tips: How To Get Good Results Every Time - Once Upon a Chef
My Books
Yeah, still in the pandemic, so I’m still struggling to get any writing done. This newsletter feels like a major writing accomplishment these days. My ebooks are still on sale, for only 99¢ each. Or free with Kindle Unlimited. Enjoy!
Amazon.com: Alexandria Constantinova Szeman: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
Till Next Week
The best place to reach me is Twitter, but you can also contact me via my blog/website: The Alexandria Papers.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Dr. Alexandria Szeman

Alexandria shares articles on Mindfulness, Migraine, Trauma & Childhood Sexual Abuse, Mental Health, Books, and Cooking & Baking.

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