The screen blinks and stalls as I wait with bated breath for the picture to load.  I don’t really know what to expect.  Scratch that, I know exactly what to expect.  But I don’t want to get excited; don’t want to bring my hopes up.  Instead, I steel myself for disappointment, for failure, for reality.  And I realize how ridiculously neurotic I am, getting all worked up about a stupid gel electrophoresis picture.  If it doesn’t work, I just have to start the experiment over again, and it’s not like I haven’t done that before.  It is not as if my entire scientific career hinges on this one result.  Besides, there’s always a chance that it turned out perfectly.  Why is it so hard for me to hope for that?  I just have to believe it.  Yes, yes, I believe it!  Show me victory!  No, no, I am jinxing myself.  Bring it down, keep it in, hold my breath.  No! What am I doing?  Stop being so wishy-washy and just be excited, damn it. 

The picture loads. Perfection.

Sweet, sweet, bells of victory are ringing in my head.  Suddenly I have the urge to grab the nearest person, shove the picture under his nose, and explain how the seemingly insignificant black bands on this piece of paper redeems me from the laboratory slump I’ve been stuck in the past few weeks.  Instead of giving over to an extravagant display of celebration, I swallow my excitement and sit down with a wide grin on my face, hoping somebody would approach me first to ask me why I’m so happy. 

I don’t think this is all that uncommon; it probably happens to you on a daily basis.  Maybe when you’re trying to decide what to throw on in the morning.  The moment of gut-wrenching, uncertainty as you step outside your apartment wearing that somewhat unconventional outfit you usually keep in the back of your closet only for emergencies, like if everything else in your wardrobe caught on fire and this was the only thing left—or when you’re feeling especially adventuresome.  You walk down the street, trying to convince yourself that you are pulling off this outfit, while scanning the faces of passersby for hints of approval or disdain.  Standing uncomfortably in the train, you try to ignore the eyes of judgment, knowing that you are providing that morning’s entertainment for the commuters who forgot to bring a newspaper to pass the time.  And even though your coworker compliments on your fashion sense, you still do not feel entirely confident, dismissing her remark as an obligation of propriety. Truth is, you could wear a garbage bag and look like the Queen of Sheba if you just believed in yourself. 

Yea, my experiment worked and my dress makes me look drop-dead gorgeous.  But what bothers me is the fact that restraint and pessimism is my first reaction to anything new.  Oh, of course it won’t work.  Didn’t my hand slip for just a moment while I was preparing the samples?  I must’ve missed something in the protocol.  This dress makes my legs look stumpy.  I should’ve exercised more before I tried to wear this.  When did being “realistic” mean that I had to bring myself down?  When did I learn that I don’t deserve to expect the best from myself? 

If you are anything like me, don’t let insecurity cripple you. 

I made strawberry shortcakes a few weeks ago.  The biscuits would’ve been even more delicious if I hadn’t almost burnt them.  I’ve been living in this apartment for a year now and it is still a struggle to adjust temperature and time to my ancient, finicky oven.  If you do try to make these biscuits, I recommend cubing the butter into small pieces, especially if you do not have a butter masher. Despite the burnt edges and bottoms, the biscuit was pleasantly crispy and flaky, and surprisingly, not too dry.  The whipped cream takes forever to whip up by hand, but I love watching the froth build up and the liquid magically thicken as the bubbles pop and release air into the mixture.  The final product is beautiful, and all mine. 

Cream Biscuits
from Ezra Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups / 375mL flour
1/4 tsp. / 1mL salt
4 tsp. / 20mL sugar
2 tsp. / 10mL baking powder
6 tbsp. / 90mL cold butter in small pieces
3/4 cup / 185mL cream (heavy / 35%)
Additional sugar for sprinkling on top.


1 quart / litre strawberries
aprox. 1 tbsp. / 15mL suga
1 tsp. / 5mL balsamic vinegar

Whipped Cream

3/4 cup / 185mL cream (heavy / 35%)
1 tbsp. / 15mL sugar
1 tsp. / 5mL vanilla

Directions found here