Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rainwater infused cookie dough and train sushi (or why Princess really needs a break)

Apologies for my relative absence from Bloggie Land as of late.
I'm afraid I have entered that cyclical period of hell known as end of semester.

You think I would be familiar with this experience considering I've been a full-time university student for! eight! damn! years!

Yet, it seems that I still become a little blind in predicting the effects that such stress has on me, despite the repeated instances of such Princess-patented forms of irrationality.

First, let me recount the "highlights" of my day at work yesterday, to give you an idea of why a little stress might be justified...

- Having to do two assessments in jail to cover for the other psych assistants being sick... may I reiterate again that I was told I would be scheduled for essentially none of these after I was hired due to the tremendous commute it involves for me as the one P.A. without a car? And I have done one on more than 50% of my shifts?

- Having to leave 2.5 hours prior to my scheduled assessment because of the nearly two hour commute, as well as stopping off to pick up mad amounts of testing material on the way.

- Correctional officers making fun of me because I am so bogged down in tote bags full of various neuropsych tests, since I don't have a trunk to store them in and have to carry them everywhere with me.

- Doing neuropsychological testing on someone who is illiterate. Can I tell you what a jerk I felt like?
"I know you can't read, but testing protocol says you have to get 10 items wrong before I can stop the test, so can you pretty please just try to figure out those nonsensical squiggles on the paper in front of you?"

- Being halfway through my second assessment, opening up the tote bag full of WAIS testing material (that's an IQ test, for all you non-nerds), only to find that the only thing missing is the damn test protocol (?!?!?!). Which, it turned out, instead of being in the bag like every other neuropsych test we have, were underneath a few binders in the bottom of a random drawer... back at the clinic.

- Having to do frantic attempts at rescheduling because of this missing test protocol, because the court report is on a deadline-- yet everyone has called in sick for the rest of the week!

- Despite dressing as conservatively as possible while still looking professional, having all the inmates hanging out in the open room beside where I test line up outside their door to watch me walk by, only to head back inside as soon as I disappear.
Whistles and snide comments are a stellar way to boost my confidence when working in a correctional facility!

- Being caught in a rain and wind storm on my way back to the clinic, which actually bend the metal tines in my umbrella.

- Not getting my lunch break until I've actually worked an hour later than I am supposed to for the entire day

- And, as I finally sit down to ravenously chow down on my very late sushi lunch, getting interrupted by the receptionist saying that they need me to leave, as the clinic is closed. As such, I get to spend my "lunch" break shoveling raw fish into my mouth on a moving train.


So, while I think you may concur that it sounds like I had a particularly stressful day... you'd think I would have coping mechanisms in play to deal with this, yes?

Apparently not so much.

After the warm fuzzy sentiments of the last post, I decided that a good way to relieve some of the deadline-induced stress would be bake and decorate Christmas cookies. I decide that I am going to be particularly artistic, and thus purchase reams of cookie cutters, icing, and sprinkles.

However, when I set to starting my baking, despite being fully stocked in pine-tree shaped cookie cutters... I have no flour. And the fluffy snow I described below has degenerated into a barrage of gray sleet.

I manage to grab a few cups of flour from my upstairs neighbours, then contently mix my dough. And then I notice that the dough needs to be chilled for a few hours.

Frustrated at the delay, and recognizing that fitting this oversized metal bowl full of doughy goodness into my apartment sized fridge would be an exercise in futility, I decide a great idea is to cover the bowl with a pizza pan, and nestle it in the snow in my front yard.

After a few hours, I bring the bowl back in. I try to roll out the dough, but the snow is apparently not functioning as well as refrigerator, and it resembles toffee. It doesn't help that I have no flour to sprinkle on the rolling pin to prevent the mixture from pasting itself on to ever viable surface, and I am too embarrassed to make a second flour request.

I try to chill the dough for longer outdoors.
The pizza pan somehow gets slightly shifted, and my delicious cookie dough becomes infused with the deliciousness that is city rainwater.

As I look into the gray coloured water with mountains of dough sticking out, it strikes me that I feel especially pathetic at that moment, with my kitchen strewn with baking materials and my clothing smeared with various ingredients. My inability to make a batch of sugar cookies, which is generally one of the simplest things on the planet to accomplish, feels like a failure of momentous proportions. I throw myself onto my bed, and inexplicably begin to sob.

The worst thing (besides crying over cookies?)? The fact that me, someone who helps people regain their perspective, didn't even have the insight to remember that my good reliable friend, the End of Semester Crazy, was visiting.

I honestly thought it was all about the cookies.


ana said...

Whosoever told you baking was simple. Don't lose heart, go out and buy them in a box. Much easier.

BTW just happened upon you through Ashley's recommendation. Love your blog, adding it to my list of reads.

Michelle said...

i'm with ana. i bake from the box :)

missed you!

nicoleantoinette said...

There you are! Sorry you've been so stressed out- but cookies are SO the answer. Always.

Miriam said...

Aw, poor cookies. Why didn't they fit in the fridge?

I <3 you and I missed you!

Lisa said...

"I throw myself onto my bed, and inexplicably begin to sob."

Hee. I heart you. It cannot be said enough! I'm taking their advice and sticking with the box.

brookem said...

Oh dearie! Sometimes a good cry is just what you need to gain that perspective right back. I find that a good sobfest ofen helps to gain some clarity again.
Hang in there with all this end of the semester stuff. Thinking of you!

eric1313 said...

You had me at the mention of cookies. I am so starving right now!

Anyway, I'm up at the old community college, checking things, writing like crap and saying hello to my friends.

The weather sucks here, too. Sleet, frozen rain, ice all over everything. All kinds of bad weather.

Hope the inmate population doesn;t scare you too bad. Hey, now you see part of why they are in there, right?

Talk to you later, Princess. Peace.

distracted spunk said...

Ha ha ha ha ha. Awwwwwwww.

Okay. You get a hug.

QueenBee said...

Oh girl, I'm sorry that everything turned out so badly. And believe me, I know EXACTLY what you're going through with the whole being ogled at when you don't even want to be.
I wear a black sweater that literally comes up to my neck, and black pants to work EVERY DAY. It never fails that I get hit on by middle-aged, balding dudes with families back home that have no clue how their father is acting.

It's disgusting, really. How 'bout I come over, we'll make some MORE cookies (I'll bring the flour with me), and you'll get to munch on them while we sit around and watch some mindless T.V. Sound good? (That is MY coping mechanism! hehe)

Anonymous said...

I used to work in a jail... I can fully sympathize with being leered at while wearing your frumpiest suit.

My favorite was the time I got locked in a soundproof conference room with an inmate who seemed kind of twitchy and who, when I asked him what was wrong, told me that he hadn't been given his meds in a week... his schitzophrenia meds.

Abbey said...

Awwwwww. I'm so sorry. I was entertained that in fact people really do borrow cooking supplies like flour and sugar. :) Hope it's all over soon.

libby said...

eight years?! eight YEARS?! oh my lord. you are gonna just grab your diploma and RUN outta there when this is all over, aren't you.

i called it.

Ant said...

:-) Don't cry over spilt cookies!

This sounds suspiciously like one of my "bad day" posts...

Generally, I give up around 2/3pm when it's going to shit like that, crack open a couple of beers and watch some shit telly. Appointments and deadlines be damned, because you just know something crap is going to happen to get in the way of getting it all done...

Wendy said...

I understand stressing out, my midterm is coming up and I'm worried, and stressed and overall feeling very grumpy.

Honestly, it's a good thing that you cried - that normally helps get your frustration out and you're supposed to feel better afterwards, did it work?

Cookies are awesome and I really think you should try making them again because you'll feel like you accomplished the best thing in the world, especially after what happened the first time. :)

Miriam D said...

OMG that sounds so frustrating with the neuropsych testing! You have to haul so much crap to do those damn things!!! Don't worry, holidays are coming, and exams will be over soon. At least you got the good cry out now.

Hope said...

Oh no! To quote Friends: "It's le poo right now, but it will get better!" ;)

the frog princess said...

Ooooh darlin'! What a day!

There is a cookie on my blog. Help yourself... I think you need it! :)

S'Mat said...

thinking some ignorant joke about disabling cookies might be inappropriate...
the end of semester crunch has savaged me too, but i have fewer hearty anecdotes to share, so at least you have that.
pre-chilled dough sounds pretty bogus to me, but baking can get pretty esoteric (maybe that's how you get gooey centres?)
ain't it great how all the little irritations choke us up until one teensy event becomes THE ANALOGY OF LIFE. especially when, in light of a day gone sideways, we set one completable and highly controlled task with tangible (and yummily satisfying) results, mindfully offsetting all the other things interrupting our mindfulness, only to fuck it all up.
i hear you princess, i really do. maybe flour-less cookies aren't enough of a challenge for you. stipulate new limitations next-time, like barbequing or putting the cookies on sticks?

Yoda said...

Oh my! Your apartment sized fridge reminds me of my first 2 yrs in school when I lived in the TINIEST apartments. Not very fun, I know.

Rain infused cookie dough? Ouch, that must've hurt. Next time around, you should use my fridge. Trust me, I've got PLENTY of empty room in there ;-)

Damsel in Digress said...

this will be a long comment.

1. i'm so sorry to hear how stressed you have been! did you feel better after sobbing though? because the other day, for many reasons and no reasons at all, i just sobbed and sobbed in my apartment's bathroom and had to admit i did feel a bit better afterwards.

2. how oh how could cookies (all that is good in the world) turn on you like that? hmph. the cookie cutters and decorations and what not sounds so adorable though. maybe you can buy plain sugar cookies and decorate those!

3. this: Doing neuropsychological testing on someone who is illiterate. Can I tell you what a jerk I felt like?
"I know you can't read, but testing protocol says you have to get 10 items wrong before I can stop the test, so can you pretty please just try to figure out those nonsensical squiggles on the paper in front of you?" made me cry/laugh ... so not funny at all, but also so ridiculous! i bet you handled it like a pro tho :)

4. you have neighbors you can borrow flour from?? you lucky lucky woman, you know my probs with neighbs.

5. the dough in the snow trick? so something i would have done too :)

feel better!

blogging said...

awww punkin. i've had my "cookie moments" too. liek i told clink earlier..."this too shall pass."


Psycgirl said...

This is kind of cheating, but sometimes with an assessment if I'm a situation like you were, I just open the protocol booklet (if its the one they answer in) and say "Can you do any of these? Just take a stab at any of them." I justify it to myself by saying no one is going to do their best after I make them feel like a complete moron and I look like a condescending jackass...

Sheila said...

Stress, hormones and bad cookie dough are enough to make any sane girl lose it!

Once in a while I bake from scratch - but never cookies. My few attempts ended poorly so now I buy the premade dough.

Mmm, cookies sound good right now...

Eve said...

Oh no! It sounds like you need a little rolling suitcase for your schlepping needs.

And that sucks about the cookies! It's so frustrating to attempt to bake something and have it fail. You should try again, though. They're just cookies!

brandy said...

Ohh lady. If I had your address right now, I would SEND you cookies. Because no one, no one should cry over cookies. (And I was going to make a 'cry over spilled milk comment' but it would appear someone has beat me to it!)

DG said...

Deep breaths honey. And go buy cookies next time!!!

QueenBee said...

DUDE! Blogging, whilst eating cheese in the wee hours of the morning. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT!?

You're genius. Truly. And you're officially my favoritest. I heart you. (I wonder if there's a cool image you can put on your side bar for that)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

This made me feel better about my bad day. said...

Ugh. I am sorry - your end of the semester sounds crazy-stressful. I'm with NicoleAntoinette - cookies are usually the answer, and if something were to go wrong with them when I was in that state of mind, I would absolutely cry too. It'll be over soon, hang in there!

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

Ohhh, Princess! I FEEL YOU ON THIS POST. I have been crying over insanely silly things this week as I too am dealing with end-of-semester BULLSHIT STRESS!!! And moving! And my inconsiderate roommates!

Just hold on for another few weeks and it will be great. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway :)

Beth said...

Watch out for that stress, sweetie!

If you have to bake, I can send you my no-fail quickie shortbread recipe. If I can bake those goodies without messing up, anyone can!

electro-kevin said...

Good luck with your studies, Princess Pointful.

I just dropped by to say how much I like your name and comments on Ingsoc.


electro-kevin said...

My other favourite blog names are Betty Boob Hug and No Longer Anonymous.

No Longer Anonymous will drive you mad if you think about it too long - so don't.

Neeyahahaha !

Valerie said...

Aw, you poor thing :( I know that exact feeling. Once when I was working at my last job, I had to work late EVERY Friday. One Friday Mom felt sorry for me and brought dinner to work for me and my boyfriend. I was almost done, so I planned on taking it home with me. I was SO glad to be leaving that hell hole that I almost hit someone coming out of the parking lot. I slammed on brakes, and my food went all. over. the dirty floor of my car. I just had to throw it in park and cry. I was under a tremendous amount of stress as well.

It'll get better :)

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Missing protocols.....ARG! We've all been there. I hate the end of the semester, I'm working on (hopefully) my last term paper...EVER.

Are you applying to internship this year?