The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Q & A Session

I am very good at asking questions. I ask a lot of questions, a lot of what ifs.

I am not quite as good at waiting for the answer. I don't mean that I'm not interested in hearing the answer and jump straight into the next question as if I hadn't asked the first one. What I mean is that I'm not very good with that period of time between asking the question and getting the answer.

That lag time is the emotional equivalent to radio's dead air.

I don't know where my impatience stems: if I think that the silence means that it won't ever be answered (and what is the worst that comes from that?), or if we're just accustomed to a "now" culture, or if I'm imbuing meaning from the fact that I have been given an answer.

Let's just say that Eat, Pray, Love has been raising many internal questions about why I do what I do and why I worry where I worry. And I've been closely considering the time between the question asked and the question answered.

What do you do in that space? Forget you even asked the question? Wait impatiently for the answer?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Tell me now!

Any while you think I'm being facetious, it's really just feigned facetiousness so I don't appear to be a complete freak. But I truly am wondering if I am the only person who has trouble waiting for answers. I am the type who prompts the person to keep talking when their voice trails off as they're thinking.

On a completely unrelated side note, we were watching Food Network last night and Duff was on an episode of another show. He told the host that he had been a chef for over 20 years and Josh looked at me dryly and said, "did you know that? That in the free moments when you weren't making out with him during that middle school trip that he was cooking? Damn you frittered that."

And this is biting me in the ass ten-fold this week because I'm making a cake for a shower and using fondant. And, as I've said before, I skipped the fondant classes when I was study cake decorating because of the girl who would yammer on and on about her fan-fucking-tastic pregnancy (why bother showing up to class when I'm going to spend the bulk of it in the bathroom crying?). I could use some advice. Some colouring fondant advice. And, as Josh says, I frittered that away. In more ways than one.


Io said...

Hm. I don't think I ask very many questions, at least on my blog anyways. Now I feel self centered. In general when I am waiting for an answer though, I keep checking my email over and over again. It's pretty pathetic how many times a day I will check it actually.

I have no advice on the fondant. I used it once when I made a wedding cake for a friend but that was a bizarre cake that I actually painted on.

RM said...

I guess I haven't been reading your blog long enough to know you hooked up with Duff the cake guy. Hee! Hilarious!

And I was thinking about your 'wanting-an-answer-right-away syndrome', and I think it is very tied to TTC. When you are consciously trying to get pregnant every month, it is like asking a question to the universe... and then having to wait two weeks for the answer. I bet a lot of us with IF can say they are more impatient (in a lot of ways) than when they began this process.

Jen said...

I can't help you with the fondant. I used modeling chocolate twice, but I wasn't that great at it. I think, from my Food Network watching experience, that you have to knead it a lot to make it easy to work with.

Natalie said...

It's funny you bring that up... my boss is one who leaves large lag times after I finish speaking, before she replies. And her face is always completely serious. So it never fails that I start freaking out that I said something wrong or offended her or something, and then she'll respond with a joke or something. Jeeeeeez. I hate that.

Alex said...


I am a Quaker and as such, accustomed to silence. When dealing with other, actual, living breathing human beings. So not only am I OK with your silence but I may/will myself be silent as I contemplate what you have asked me and how best to answer it. Or on other perhaps random seeming occasions.

On the other hand, I was never good with the 2ww and I don't do so well with waiting to see if someone has responded to a comment I posted online. So, uh, yeah. In some realms, yes, others, not so much.

Feliz Dianne Flutter said...

I ask a ton of questions. T gets very aggravated, while I get praised at work for asking good questions :). You can never win.

Also, I understand about waiting for answers. They never come fast enough. And sometimes I wonder if I'm annoying - but the truth of the matter is that I NEED TO KNOW! Mostly when work is concerned.

By the way, I loved Eat Pray Love. My IRL book club is tomorrow and I cannot wait to talk about it.

Hope2morrow said...

My patience fuse has been linked to my infertility fuse. Somehow they have both been woven together. I used to be one of the most patient people you would ever meet. Now, since my inability to conceive has come along, I am impatient with many things. It is something I have to be constantly aware of because I am impatient and more short with people than I ever have been. Stupid infertility!

As for your fondant, I know nothing about it. if it tastes like what it sounds (fondue), it sounds amazing! Good luck!

K @ ourboxofrain said...

I think I do better with waiting for a response in real life (my husband is awful at that, though -- if you take a breath, he tends to act as though you've been sitting silent for an hour). Over email or on message board, etc., not so much. I also tend to WANT THE ANSWER NOW! The electronic world is supposed to be so fast, and the waiting therefore seems so much more interminable.

Of course, that makes no sense, really, since IRL the person is sitting in front of me and there is an ACTUAL instantaneousness to it all, but la coeur a ses raisons que la raison connait point.

Julia said...

No clue on fondant. Sorry.

As for waiting for answers, yeah... not so much. This is probably why I am attached to my blackberry so much-- I can check my email anywhere I have service. And if I don't have service I get very antsy. Kinda pathetic, ha?

Anonymous said...

I have coloured fondant a few times. It is best if you use paste or gel colour. It doesn't take much colour to make it turn the shade you want, unlike a regular icing where I always seem to have to add more. I dip a toothpick in the colour, put it in the fondant and then knead the shit out of it until it is blended and there aren't any streaks showing in it.

You can also buy pre-coloured fondant at cake supply stores. I have not used it because it is cheaper to do it yourself.

I think that really is all there is to colouring fondant. If you have more questions, as long as they are asked before my bedtime, I can answer them.

luna said...

that's so funny because I've been thinking of you when I watch duff! sorry I can't help with the fondant, but he could!

my patience is always tested by waiting for answers. infertility has pushed the limits, and I imagine adoptin will push the envelope even further. but I'm a madwoman checking email when I pose a Q online. in person, I am learning to grow more accustomed to silence. while sometimes I want that initial reaction, other times I'd rather have a more thoughtful response.

Josh said...

ahem, I believe I said, "in the free moments when you weren't playing tonsil tennis..." a little more accuracy in your posting please.

PaleMother said...

Hi Mel,

Can't help you with your fondant (that's like a bad joke, isn't it? "EEK, there's an insensitive pregnant girl in my cake!")

The answers thing ... well, I've had some good advice about that over the years. Here's two or three:

"...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903in Letters to a Young Poet

I highly recommend that book, if you haven't read it. They had us read it in art school and it's one of a handful of life-changing books for me personally.

Then recently ... from Letters To Sam by Daniel Gottlieb (I blogged about him a while back and these quotes are just two of literally dozens that hooked me):

"I had a great teacher, Carl Whitaker, who felt strongly about the importance of confusion. To him, knowing was a lot less important than searching. 'Confusion is like fertilizer,' he said. 'It feels like cr*p when it happens, but nothing grows without it.'"

"Sam, be ignorant. It can be the beginning of something wonderful."

When I blogged about this book, I said that last line (and everything in the book, for that matter) has some serious cred when it comes from someone who has managed to go on living and loving so well for 25 years with quadriplegia.

Love, love, love the fertilizer analogy.



Topcat said...

I have no fondant advice whatsoever. I DO, though, thoroughly relate to the asking questions like a machine gun. I can't help it, I'm just so CURIOUS.

It appears you rounded me up - wow. Thank you. I know why that part of the post resonated with you, as AA meetings are a lot like blogging. Coming together, feeling heard, relating, sharing.

(Heh heh to Joshs tonsil tennis) xo

Tara said...

When I ask a question, I need an answer - NOW. IMMEDIATELY. I cannot stand waiting for the answer. I don't really know why - I guess maybe I'm afraid of getting an asnwer that I don't want and I panic??

Jess said...

Oh yeah, I always want answers nownowNOW. That's why I love my iPhone. Sitting at a restaraunt and want to know where the nearest Macy's is? LOOK IT UP! Where can you find a humpback whale in the wild? LOOK IT UP! What's standard protocol for stimming? LOOK IT UP! :)

As for the fondant, I had no idea but as soon as I read it, I thought...Ask My Reality, she'll know!! And sure enough she'd already commented. lol

katd said...

Shut UP! How in the WORLD did I miss the Duff post? I can not believe it!! And I've been reading since way before that post. I watch Ace of Cakes all the time and now I feel like I know a secret about Duff. :)

Samantha said...

I think you are typical in having trouble waiting for an answer. Part of it I think is the Internet age - run to Dr. Google, shoot off an email, IM, text message, call the cell. Geez, I mean even voicemail seems so SLOW. It's hard to have patience in a world that praises speed.

(Tonsil tennis, he, he.)

Sassy said...

For the fondant, have you tried the Wilton website?

Fertilized said...

I'm so glad to see someone else captivated by Eat, Pray, Love

LJ said...

Fondant = fail. That's just the prettiest inedible food in the world.

I do the same thing with waiting for answers, but know that at the same time, I take my time getting back to people when I don't mean to.

kate said...

Ah, count me as one of the impatient ones... I need immediate responses, you know.

Actually, I need immediate EVERYTHING these days. I sometimes feel like a teenager in that I just can't wait for this all to hurry up and be OVER so that I can get on with the living of my life. Which is what life is, that, in the words of (many but to me most memorably) John Lennon, life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.

What can I say? I'm a work in progress. I'm trying. I'd like to not live in that shoe-drop-waiting phase. Not that enlightened yet. Not that patient yet.

Do you think that maybe the fact that each and every IF person has had one-too-many two week waits makes us impatient for other areas of our life? It's like if we have to regularly endure that kind of trying circumstance whether we like it or not, we somehow hope that we won't have to wait for other things, I guess. I don't know. I do just know that the 2ww is one of the most trying things I have yet dealt with in my life, and I don't like it, not at all, not one tiny bit, and I have yet to figure out what it's there to teach me ('cos I certainly haven't gained any perspective on patience since I started trying...).


MAN. I wanna come visit you, just so I can hold the hand of someone who held the hand of Duff! Making out with the to-be-badass of cake decorating! You ROCK! And I was far too dorky in middle school to be bumping lips with people. That had to wait until high school, but then, yes. I was kissing anything that stood still long enough, professing undying love for each new suitor, etc. But none of mine were anywhere NEAR as cool as Duff, that's for SURE.

kate said...

Life is what happens to you when you don't bother to read other people's comments before leaving your own.

I'm clearly not the first or only reader to connect impatience with the conception process. Not an original thought in my head. Oh, well!

Bea said...

I don't have any cake tips. But I thought I'd better answer your question quick-smart, in case the delay is killing you.

What do I do in the space? I'm pretty sure I worry about the way I phrased the question, trying to work out if it accurately conveys what I want to put in to the conversation.