Speaking Presently

Kitchen timer click ticks consistently form it’s perch on the back of the stove, keeping time for the experimental blueberry muffins in the oven. I’m in the funk I get in at this phase of any effort, the beginning after a minor setback that some would reasonably call a bit of learning.
I come out of the gate with an idea, ready to charge to the fruit of success, shining ideas twinkling before me. I begin with a serious energy and optimism. But…if my first attempt is less than I hope for, my shoulders drop and I am touched by a sliver of sadness. I no longer sit with this bit of pity. I look at it, agree with it, that yes, this could be seen as very annoying, then I continue toward the goal.
The way this played out tonight was through an effort at making vegan, gluten free, soy free, agave sweetened blueberry muffins. The first batch was too dense, too sweet, too much like bread pudding, not much like a beautiful blueberry muffin. My mom stayed around our house an extra while since muffins were on the way. The boys happily sat on either side of her, listening to Cricket in Times Square. She sipped decaf tea. And she really liked the first test batch, and the second. She didn’t stick around for the third.
By test batch, I mean 2 muffins. Depending on how they come out I either add flour or liquid to the existing batter. This time I added a 1/2 cup of flour, then another 1/2 cup for the following test batch. Oh well then, I thought. If these are fine with Grandma, I’ll add the blueberries and bake the remaining batter.
Once the bowl and measuring instruments were clean and dry I set to work again with a different angle toward the same goal. All the while that voice of doubt, of just enough discouragement to keep me quiet and serious, kept up a whisper. It wanted me to know this second batch might not work, that I may need to wait, maybe through several attempts, countless really. Yuck. I dislike this voice, but there it is.
Fortunately the second batch seems fine, fluffy, moist, much like a blueberry muffin ought to be. Hmmm….tastes good too! A little too rich for my taste, maybe a bit too sweet, but I can easily remedy this and I know from experience that many people would enjoy them just as they are, no complaints, even complimenting them. As I have no one available to taste them tonight I’ll have to take my word for it, from the inner voice that is kinder, encouraging, the one that helped me wash the dishes, dry the mixing bowl and try again.

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