Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A very special phenomenon.

Finals week does funny things to you. It makes you have hopping contests down the hallway that end in an uncontrollable case of the giggles outside someone else's door. It makes you bake more food than anyone needs to eat. It gives you dreams about softening butter by sitting on it, and about friends who drive many miles to see you, then scale the wall of your dorm to tell you happy birthday through your window. But mostly, it screws up your eating schedule.

Example: yesterday.
9:30 - breakfast in my RA's room: apple-banana oatmeal bake. Nutritional value: adequate, not awesome.
11:30 - about five or six (3-inch) ginger biscotti from a Secret Santa gift. Nutritional value: are you kidding me right now?
2:57 - realization that they stop serving salads in three minutes, run to get one, and eat the chocolate chip cookie bar in line because "there's no place for it in my salad box!" All this is followed by the realization that I'm not hungry enough to eat the salad now. Nutritional value (of cookie bar): even better than the biscotti.
7:30 - a couple more ginger biscotti to finish off the box with roommate and co. Swear off sweet foods for lyfe. Nutritional value of biscotti: just as great as it was eight hours ago.
9:00 - finally get around to eating the salad.  Nutritional value: probably worse than I'd like to think, but infinitely better than anything else I've eaten, so nobody cares.

Example 2: today.
9:30 - breakfast after my chem final: wait, the dining hall calls these cupcakes "muffins"? Excellent! Also, a little yogurt and granola, plus a wee bit of hash browns for "balance." Nutritional value: better than yesterday.
12:30 - kids meal at Chick-fil-A. Nuggetz 4 da win. Nutritional value: meh. It's tasty.
2:30 - decision to make parmesan black pepper biscotti to counteract yesterday's sweeter variety. Probably ate five nine of the little guys over the course of the afternoon and evening. Nutritional value: sugar-free, right?
9:00 - going-away party for a girl who's transferring: chips and salsa, a gluten- and dairy- and sugar-free brownie. Nutritional value: rotten.
9:45 - exam treats: "pretzels and beer," which were decidedly subpar and disappointing. Nutritional value: lousy as usual.

ALL of this to say that my life needs a little help right now - help that doesn't come in the form of cookies or cakes. Because this is ridiculous. (On the upside, those parmesan biscotti were crazy good, and you should all go make them now.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Aaaand a jolly good evening to you all. Today was an exciting day, full of unintentionally basing my self-worth on the number of "happy birthday"s posted on my Facebook wall.

But today was also a day where I forbade myself from doing work. As such, I spent my day not writing papers or practicing, but caroling, watching Bones, reading, and most importantly, making a cake. That's why we're here now.

I ultimately decided on a chocolate cake with a coffee-cinnamon (plus a hint of cocoa) frosting, and guys, it was really tasty. The cake was just the slightest bit on the gooey side, and the frosting, though sweet, had some fanciness in there with the coffee and the cinnamon. And a plus: it was a good-lookin' cake:

A note: I felt the lab goggles would be useful for a weapon such as my kitchen knife. Never know when cake might go flying.

And now, we venture into finals week, where work abounds and sleep suffers. No turning back.

See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Yes, I'm busy. But this is nothing compared to this time last year. I seriously pity high school seniors, particularly those whose college application process is more about auditions than the paper application. This time last year, there was so much tension and so much stress. No idea where I would be a few months later. My senior recital looming. The monthly push to put out a newspaper. The simultaneous desire for a break and hope that high school would never end. Let's just be real here: completely uprooting and rebuilding your life as a freshman is hard, but it's so much more draining to know that everything you do, you could be doing for the last time, so it has to count, and it has to be perfect.

All of this is why, even though I have zillions of things to do this week, I consider this to a time of relief. I know where I'll be for the next few years. I know my major with relative certainty. I don't have to worry about a senior recital in March. And I don't have to part with a whole hunk of my life in May. For these reasons, I have whole bunches of sympathy for current high school seniors. But also envy. Their whole year is so charged with energy and excitement. Anything is possible. And though they'll have good-byes to say come June 1, they also will have developed immense pride in their school and will feel an extraordinary sense of accomplishment. Props to you, seniors, for getting through it all.