Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why Flourless Chocolate Torte?

My therapist says you have to be happy with your life. That’s the cake (or in my case, the flourless chocolate torte, since I don't eat wheat flour). Any relationship you get into after that point is the icing… but the relationship should never be the cake... erm... torte.

This is where I find myself. My divorce will be final at the end of the month signifying the end of over a decade with my ex. So I'm now taking control of my life, putting on my big-girl apron, and attempting to create a delectable un-iced torte. And the un-iced part is quite honestly fine with me. Attempting icing seems a bit messy and complicated at the moment- even with my big-girl apron on.

So… the most logical thing would be to determine the ingredients, right? What would make me happy? Huh. Well…

1. A job I don’t dread going to.

2. A career I enjoy.

3. A residence I can comfortably afford.

4. A secure financial future.

5. A community that feels like home.

6. Hobbies that I enjoy.

7. A social circle I can have fun in.

8. And a (local) close friend or two I can count on for anything.

9. Zen.

Sounds like a reasonable start, right? This recipe, however, is lacking quantities. For someone as uptight and anal and rule driven as myself, this causes a bit of consternation. It’s weird though… when I cook, I just throw what ever seems like it’ll taste good together in the pot and see what happens. I’m a great “taste and see” cook. Not so much with the baking. Baking is more exact. I measure when I bake. My life would be much easier if my therapist used a cooking analogy…

But the reality is that this metaphorical torte is supposed to change flavor over the course of my life. Sometimes the proportions of the ingredients will change, but as long as there is maintained a balance in the give and take of ingredients, well, I should remain relatively happy in my life. Right?! Sounds good on paper. Of course, in real life, I’m missing some ingredients.

Let’s check out the pantry, shall we?

Ingredient 1: A job I don’t dread going to. Hmm. This ingredient has been seriously depleted. I’ve already had my salary cut significantly. And repeated rounds of layoffs have me worried about my job security all the time. Coupled with the lack of work I see on a daily basis… yikes. I used to like my job. Now it’s a scary, miserable place to be.

Ingredient 2. A career I enjoy. Also in need of restocking. It’s up in the air whether I really enjoy my career. I don’t hate it per se, but I do have some definite dissatisfaction. Part of that is due to the current constant fear of losing my job. Part of that is because I’ve anticipated losing my job and have been looking proactively for another and there is virtually NOTHING out there, so I feel like it might be time for a change. And yet another part of that is because I feel like my job doesn’t make a difference… maybe that’s idealistic (and unrealistic)- especially for someone in her mid-thirties- but hey, it is what it is.

Ingredient 3. A residence I can comfortably afford. Hah. Definitely do not have this going for me. When X and I purchased this house the negotiations and purchase were just about the last straw in our marriage (we had significant other issues, though). We could afford it as a “we” but the “we” is no longer. And in the lovely market we can’t sell it. And affording it is getting difficult (see pay cut, in Ingredient 1 above).

Ingredient 4. A secure financial future. Does anyone have this these days? But Ingredients 1 & 3 are severely hindering this.

Ingredient 5. A community that feels like home. Not so much. I’ve been here almost two years. A good part of the first year, however, was spent dealing with the demise of my marriage and the ensuing early part of the separation. Not really a good time for community building. We moved here for jobs, knowing virtually no one. I’ve tried to make this place feel like home, but I’m definitely not there yet. Perhaps because I know I don’t really want to stay here.

Ingredient 6. Hobbies that I enjoy. These I do have- thankfully. In the year that X and I have been separated I finally started trying some of the activities I always wanted to try but never did. And so far that’s worked out well.

Ingredient 7. A social circle I can have fun in. This is one of those ingredients that if all of the other ingredients were plentiful, I’d be ok with what I’ve got now… one or two social engagements a month. But with most of my days being so dreary, I could stand some additional entertainment. I really had no idea how difficult it would be to form a group of “hanging out” friends.

Ingredient 8. A (local) close friend or two I can count on for anything. I am fortunate here. I do have two of them. One old, one new. Worth their weight in dark chocolate.

Ingredient 9. Zen. If only. What’s the opposite of Zen? Because I’ve got the Costco-jumbo-economy-family-sized container of that.

So, my torte is currently looking to be flavorless at best and a culinary nightmare that would have Gordon Ramsay inventing previously unheard f-word combinations at worst. Ingredient procurement is what I plan on working on for the next… oh… however long it takes.

Unfortunately, even the best mega-mart isn’t going to carry what I need. I’m on my own.


Zee said...

Welcome LTB! Sounds like you have a lot on your plate (or, rather, in your mixing bowl) and I feel for you. Some recipes are easy, and some take a few tries to get it right. (And flourless chocolate torte is an intimidating one. Maybe you could start with chocolate chip cookies and work your way up?) Anyway, whatever happens, the last line of your post is not strictly true. There are loads of us clueless bakers out here and while we can't create your torte for you, we can all hang out in the kitchen together, stirring and chatting and sharing baking tips. Who knows what we'll cook up? So preheat the oven, and I'll open this bottle of wine. Thanks for inviting us in!

Beautiful Mess said...

Welcome, new bloggie friend! I hope you find the ingredients to make your life what you want it to be. There's A LOT of support to be gathered, you'll get tons of that!

Antigone said...

It's at these moments I wish I had a personal chef. *sigh*