I just want to write.  About anything at all.  I want to feel my pen scratch across the surface of this page, leaving behind words that say who knows what.  I want to be lost in what I am writing, without caring exactly what it is that I am trying to convey.  Charging forward without an inkling of a theme or topic.  Hoping that somehow in the process of forcing my hand to move, I can pierce through the sluggish soup that is my mind.  Giving voice to something that I am itching to express, yet caged by a rigid brain that refuses to relax.  My deepest fear is that…I truly have nothing to express.  That I am without perspective and opinion, without likes and dislikes, without self.

When people ask me what kind of hobbies I do, I always feel pressured to recite a laundry list of exciting facts about my recreational life.  But all I can ever say is that I like to bake.  And read.  I’m one of those people who are constantly chasing one interest after another, without committing to any of them.  In my room there is a pair of ballroom dancing shoes that mark the one semester in college that I joined the ballroom dance team.  In another corner is a tennis racket that I bought even though I know that I am athletically disinclined, but in a fit of delusion, I managed to convince myself that I would actually force myself to play.  On the shelf, collecting dust, is a box of plastic beads in an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes—the only remnants of the one summer that I joined a jewelry making class.  And back home, is an untouched acoustic guitar that I could not stop myself from purchasing, so enamored was I with the idea of plucking out a sexy tune while softly crooning to a crowd of admirers.  There was sea kayaking, swing dancing, even Go (the ancient Chinese board game).

The passage I wrote above is one that I scribbled in my notebook in an attempt to break through a writer’s block.  I think the frustration mirrors what I feel when I think about “my hobbies.”  To think that I spent all this time trying to find the one activity that best expresses Me, when I could have just chose one thing to excel in.  And my fear is that I would end up with nothing at all, except for a smattering of knowledge in everything.  What does that say about my person? 

If I had endless energy and resources, I would leave the lab after a 8 hour work day, dance to the blues in a Swing club, leave in time to catch the sunset while kayaking on the Charles, return home to cook myself a gourmet meal, pull out my guitar and strum a few chords, and if I tire of that, I’ll just switch to my sketch pad and pretty new pastels, or fashion some home-made bead earrings, while researching about graduate schools.  And maybe before I go to bed, I can squeeze in an hour’s worth of reading from my science textbook.  Instead, I come home after work and I’m too exhausted to do anything but veg out in front of my computer. 

At least baking is here to stay. 

I’ve been meaning to make cupcakes for a long time, but was afraid that the frosting would melt before I could bring them to work.  And I couldn’t possibly eat a dozen cupcakes by myself.  I could, but there would definitely be consequences.  But I was inspired by Cupcake Camp Boston which was hosted by a lounge in Union Square.  It’s an event where professional and amateur bakers volunteer to bring cupcakes to share with the public for free.  As I leaving work early, I told my postdoc adviser that I was going to Cupcake Camp (which I had to say twice because he must have thought he heard wrong).  Yes!  Cupcake Camp!  And I was unabashedly excited. 

My coworker and I got there half an hour early so we were one of the firsts in line.  I was so glad, because the minute we entered the lounge, everyone just went crazy.  There were plates and plates of cupcakes.  Swirls of buttercream frosting, sparkly pink and blue sprinkles, blooming flower patterns, mini and jumbo cupcakes, even Elmo cupcakes.  People were just piling on the cupcakes in their trays and I felt guilty for the huge line of people who were still waiting outside to get in.  Out of pure generosity, I only took three.  Well, I couldn’t eat more than three anyways, the amount of sugar was overwhelming.  I also did not think to bring a tray. 

Last week I finally chose this Key Lime Cupcake recipe to be my cupcake debut.  These were incredibly easy to make and delicious.  The cupcake itself has a nice crunchy topping and a soft, fluffy interior, filled with prominent lime flavor.  The tartness of the lime also balances the rich cream cheese filling.  I halved the quantity for the frosting recipe and that was enough to cover 12 cupcakes; I also opted out of the food coloring even though I really wanted pretty light green cakes.  Originally, I wanted to pipe the frosting into nice neat swirls, but I realized I don’t have the right piping tips.  Maybe my next cupcake endeavor.