I think I finally got my baking groove back. There's a phrase in Ottolenghi x Goh's Sweet book: "hold your nerve" and it's felt like a supportive Mom who's watching my Olympic balance beam routine on the sidelines with bated breath. In three words, it connotes: "Oh we know this shit is hard and it will mentally shatter you, but just hang in there, you've got this." So yeah, those three words are up on my fridge now, as a point of spiritual/mental centering when things get hot and tense in the kitchen. It tends to stretch my patience out or make me hold my breath for a few longer and wait, as opposed to cracking on the first second and throwing it out half done into the garbage.
So as usual, in true K form, easing back into things means I have to leap out and jump into waters 100 feet deep ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ For the fuck of it, I wanted to make Sweet's Louise cake. So I did. But to my chagrin, I burned it (and I blamed it on our hot as fuck, old as fuck oven):
I noted to myself that I just had to keep messing with our oven. Or beg for a new stove/oven from our landlords?
The second recipe I braved was the pavlova roulade. I scorched the meringue base to black and blamed it on our sonovabitch oven again. I swallowed hard, plunged the baking temperature less 100 degrees, redid the base, and watched it like a starved hawk as it sat in the oven, and I let it bake on an internal timer, working/guessing purely on instinct...
I'm happy with it turning out and even how it turned out, all things considered.
What happens here is a little batshit: if you scroll through the comments on that post, HELEN GOH HERSELF LEAVES ONE. HERE THEM RECEIPTS BECAUSE YEAH, YOU SCREEN CAP THAT SHIT:
And upon further interneting-- yeah, this is actually a thing!!!-- that beautiful Ottolenghi bake book is riddled with errors (click the Toronto Star headline image below for the whole article):
It's... it's a little fucked up.
But moral of the story: it's not [all] me, it's them, and I have some of my baking groove back. That being said, I've also been back to chocolate work and testing things out. Of sorts. How ominous! I'm not saying anymore. But I finally have a good idea, somewhat of a business plan/model, and Matt is now my business partner/cost/project manager.
So cycling and/or cycling training (structured training/hard efforts) makes me break out into suffocating, terrifying, feels-like-I'm-being-taken-under, assaulting-as-fuck panic attacks. And they have been bad, to the point where I have to throw back a Lorazepam and Matt needs to lie with me, hold me, and try to sync my breathing with his until I come down (which can be anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour). I'm simply at a loss and I actually wonder if I can get back into it or if this is the end of my relationship with cycling. However dramatic that sounds, that is actually real; if it has this toxic of an effect on me now and I can't find a way to neutralize it, I can't have it hanging around.
On another topic, I can't handle the consuming guilt with me not being able to uphold my role in women's cycling (in a feminist/women in sport/parity for women in sport context). I had proposed organized track cycling time during the winter with my group/club back in the fall, but I couldn't get it together to organize and rally (because of the whole mental health leave). But also-- and I don't want to explain it all-- but there was a business takeover at Milton Velodrome and it's just a silly dumpster fire with the way they run things up there now, specifically with the women's programs. I was called upon by a rec track cyclist to attend a drop-in session as some last-ditch effort to save the women's track programs they were about to shitcan (these programs aren't based around racing). I couldn't make it because I'm neither mentally or physically fit to hold myself up on the track right now. But moreover, I thought it was just asinine that me and others were called upon to "SAVE" the women's programs. Why do these need saving? I unnecessarily vented (at Midweek Cycling Club, of all clubs) about this on Twitter.
I'm so tired of trying to fight for this shit and I don't understand why we're made to keep doing it.
But I wish I had been well enough to fight that one. I just couldn't at the time and I'm trying to feel okay about it.
- Obsessed, obsessed with Peaky Blinders. On the face of it, it looks like a boring-as-fuck, same ol' period series about post-war English gangsters stealing things, brutalizing people, and generally wreaking havoc on society, but I assure you, it's so much more controlled and creative than that. By moments, the show is at a Breaking Bad level of either stressing out the audience or impressing the audience. The ridiculously genius schemes thought out in each episode makes me wonder if Steven Knight was an ex-gangster himself. Also, I hate saying it, but I have to: Cillian Murphy (all of him) just paralyzes me. And I was never a "Cillian Murphy girl" (I'm a Tom Hardy girl! ...I didn't even like his character and still kept on with the show)
- I spend a lot of time on Leafly and watching Bong Appétit these days. Hey, our country is heading into something pretty historic in less than 6 months (we are! We'll be the first country in the world to have legalized marijuana on the federal level), I'm just saying that we should know some things before that time comes.
- I'm reading Michael Ondaatje
- I listen to SZA a lot, even more than I was last year.
And yes, today is Valentine's Day...
This day is bigger than it should be and it makes people batshit. People either love it too much, hate it too much, or want to treat it as a day to be overly-righteous when declaring independence and self-sufficiency. How I have felt about it is how I feel about Rosh Hashanah... in that I don't feel anything about it. Just indifferent. I have had some dudes outright spaz at me, completely unprompted, saying they "don't fucking do Valentine's Day" (Mmm, that's a nice sentiment) and I've also had some dudes express that it's a day they want to spend with me and do something sweet (Mmm, that's a nice sentiment). And the latter is not what I've shut down or rioted against thinking I'm above it. I allowed it, simply because it was nice. And then other times, I wasn't with anyone and it was regular.
I don't know where I'm going with this, but it's just a regular-ass day for me. My love, Matt, proposed we make a nice dinner together and then take a swim. But this is almost every night for us, we're probably putting just a tiny bit more effort into this dinner.
If you belong in any of the three categories I listed above, you need to ask yourself why. It probably has nothing to do with Valentine's Day.