Right now I'm working on macaron-making. Here's the skinny: the macarons pictured above were made using Tartelette's recipe. This was my second batch, and while they look pretty darn decent in the picture, they were slightly undercooked! I know. So finicky. My first attempt was an unmitigated disaster. And the third? Those went straight from pan to garbage. Ugh! As soon as I go buy myself another kinda expensive, tiny bag of almond flour -- I'm trying these -- because I like to punish myself.
In between macaron experimenting I started attending a boot camp in the evenings and on Saturdays. I've been three times so far. As I type this my shoulders are tight, almost crampy. I also need to cough but am trying my best NOT to cough because my stomach muscles simply don't have the energy. Also, they burn and hurt when I cough. When I'm actually at boot camp? Let's just say the image vacillates between sad and ugly. Guys! I have the upper body strength of a newborn. Let's not even talk about my core. It's on fire, remember?
And thirdly . . . last Friday, I had a meeting with my dissertation chair over one of my chapters. It went okay. We had a good discussion: she explained the weaknesses in the chapter, I argued my own position. She was nice, even (somewhat) complimentary at times. But she in no way patted me on the back, handed me a cigar, and told me that what I had written was brilliant, erudite, and ready for publication. No. Not any of that. There is more work to do. Argh.
When I was young, I pictured my 40-something self as capable, assured, making things happen. And yet, the real 40-year-old me is still taking baby steps -- fumbling in the kitchen, struggling on the playing field, pecking away at my computer keyboard. It's hard work, this life of frothy egg whites and unruly thighs and theoretical feminist concerns. I do wish for mastery, make no mistake. In some ways I need just a modicum of success, a whisper that "I'm okay," or heck, I'd take small french cookies that are perfectly baked. But right now . . . I'm feeling my back up against the wall, and it's not an entirely bad feeling. My best work generally comes from defiance. Tell me I can't do something and I WILL SHOW YOU. I'm feeling the need to gird up my loins, fresh courage take -- to make lists, to read, to run up a hill without having palpitations.
The frothy egg whites? No promises there.