Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Oh hai. Yeah. I must admit, I'm not incredibly sure how to go about this, my first post in a number of weeks. Especially since when I wrote my last post, I was positive it wasn't going to be a "goodbye for now" so much as a "see ya later, or more likely never again." I even went three weeks without baking, which has to be a record (except for last summer when I was stranded, oven-less). Those weeks leading up to my last post as well as the intervening weeks have been rough. I can't lie about that. It takes a lot to get me out of the kitchen, off the internet, away from the other flour-obsessed crazies (so titled with all the affection in my heart). But it happened.
You see, for most of this year I've been more than a little bit depressed. And in general, my solution has been a combination of two things: running and baking. But that solution just wasn't working. I was having crying jags in the middle of stores, hours of unprovoked sobbing at home while J sat helplessly, days when I nearly didn't make it out of bed. I almost left my program here at UNC, which, since I had dropped everything to start it, was not a very good sign. Graduate school has been a wee bit isolating, thanks to the dearth of other married folk (or people who aren't scared of married folk) or people who had worked prior to going to graduate school. There are social complications because of those two facts, which aren't important to get into specifically.
Not only that, there are times when I wonder if this degree will be all it's cracked up to be. The question of type of job versus job field has come up multiple times. You see, I love environmental chemistry. I geek out on organic chemistry, particulate matter, and climate change science. But I also adore fast-paced, highly structured, people-oriented jobs. It's what I loved about my job in Wisconsin - I got to interact with so many people, there were new challenges every day, and new goals or projects around every corner. How do I know that I'll get that when I join the environmental job market? And - the big one - which matters more, the field or the job type? Needless to say, these are big, big questions. Around the time that I bid a short goodbye, I was nearly convinced that I was going to leave my program. The program I had moved halfway across the country for, the one for which J had picked up and moved without a single job prospect.
So this blog? The baking? The photos and the writing? Those weren't a high priority. Priorities were heart-to-hearts with my mom, frank discussions with my advisor, and cry fests with J. And thank goodness for all three of them. My mom, who listened even when she couldn't understand what I was saying through the tears, my advisor, who patiently talked me through my waffling back and forth on accelerating the program into 1.5 years instead of 2, and J, who was there, forcing me to, if nothing else, go on walks for the fresh air. Because there were definitely times when just getting out of bed was difficult enough.
What does that have to do with cookies? Oh, very little, except that I forgot to buy ice cream for the coffee ice cream tart. I did bake everything that had been chosen up until these cookies, but taking pictures just wasn't going to happen. The coffee ice cream tart will happen eventually though, given my love of coffee in all its forms. But the cookies were a welcome back to my kitchen. And a promise that things get better.
A bit ago: Chocolate Pots de Creme
Next week: Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp (hoping to find rhubarb, but it feels a bit early still)