Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting What You Deserve

It's unfortunate the above phrase always has negative connotations, because it can mean positive things are finally coming your way, too. I've felt this more and more since I followed my heart and quit the easy path that was laid out for me.

For example: apartment living. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I have terrible luck with neighbors. Every apartment I've lived in has had some of the worst neighbors imaginable. Weekly parties at midnight on Wednesdays, crackhead med students who never sleep, musicians and their "band," Harley-Davidson owners, barking dogs, cats in heat, flocks of parrots nesting in the palm tree outside my bedroom window!

I consider myself a rational, reasonably good neighbor. I don't have pets, and we don't throw lots of parties. If we do have a party, we always invite the neighbors, and make sure it moves inside (with the windows shut) after 10 pm, regardless of the day of the week. If someone else is having a party, I don't expect them to be quiet before 10 pm, and even later on the weekend is fine. If I have an issue with you, I always talk with you first before involving others (landlords, police, etc). I don't even walk heavy! So why do the stars always align that I have terrible, discourteous neighbors?

I'll tell you why: so we could earn the awesome place we live in now. Our cute little house a block from the beach, with the cutest elderly owners you can imagine.

I'm seeing the same thing with my job, because last night was my first time at our new bakery, and I LOVE IT. I've been scheduled to start at this bakery from when I was hired six months ago, since it's about ten minutes from my house and none of the other bakers live near me. It was the last of three new bakeries we opened, and I have been patiently laboring away in one of our others stores until we opened. Apparently all my hard work at the other stores has paid off, because this store is awesome. Everything I could want in a bakery.

I like getting what I deserve.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stressers vs. Neck Pain

So far Life is doing a heck of a job trying to give me more stressers to make up for the ones I'm aliviating. It's like I have to keep a quota. But I've finally found doctors in my area for those all-important yearly and twice-yearly exams; you know, the dentist and such that you KNOW you should go see, but just have to gear yourself up to actually make the appointment. Also found out I'm going to get to start working next week in our new bakery, opening up just down the street, instead of having to drive an hour to the current one. Plus I got a little research done for our upcoming trip to Paris.

And just as things are falling into place? The oven stops working during the bake and I can't reach my boss. Thank God everything was baked except for the bagels, but still.

I'm also starting to notice a trend. I tried to do some meditation like my healer-friend instructed: my boss calls to tell me something wasn't done the night before and I'll have to take care of it tonight. I actually started this blog post as part of my dicipline and stress-relief: my boss calls to tell me why he missed all my calls last night when the equipment was failing.

He's a great man, don't get me wrong. I really like working for him. And he did just give me a $1 an hour raise, along with the extra $1 I will be getting for becoming a trainer, all after only six months working with him. But my goodness, is it a test or what?

Thanks to my husband for tasty libations and dinner when I get home - otherwise in my frustration I would probably have resigned myself to neon Kraft mac-and-cheese.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I could never keep a diary, either

Why does it seem so hard to keep posting on this damn blog? I think it stems from a combination of laziness and realism: do I really expect to be the next Julie and Julia? Nope. So why bother?

Recently a friend of mine who is a Reki healer was working on some neck pain I've had for the last two months. He suggested, aside from the usual stretches, massage, hydration, etc. that I do something to de-stress myself. Something to collect my thoughts and focus my mind, both before and after my work day. For those of you that know me personally, you know I very rarely am "off;" meaning I'm always busy, always thinking, always planning. I have to read a book before I go to bed to control my mind and make it focus just on one thing in order to fall asleep. Meditation has never been something I could do. Sitting still and not thinking for an extended period of time? Are you kidding??

But maybe a blog is a way to organize my thoughts, a la stream-of-consciousness writing. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a lot going on in my life, because I like to hear what other people are up to. But then I think: I'm going to Paris in two months, I've already become a trainer at my job though I've been there less than six months, I live in one of the best climates in the western hemisphere and consequently visit Disneyland on a regular basis, and have a less-than-average job title. So maybe there is a lot going on. Maybe my pain is stress-related, as well as job-related. Either way, attempting to keep this blog going isn't going to hurt anyone, right?

So here we go. Round three. Let's see how long it will last this time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sometimes God just says "Sit down, crazy!"

If you read my last post you noticed I have a dinner party tonight. Well, in the midst of my overachieving prep the kitchen sink clogs. I'm not sure how this happened because I'm VERY careful what I put down the drain: no potato peels, eggshells, citrus rinds, coffee grounds or other foreign objects that are on the "no no" list. Sometimes I think things happen because God looks down and says "STOP. You're going overboard. Who cares if you don't have tuiles for the top of your dessert? You don't have to make empanada wrappers yourself; go buy real ones at the latin market down the street. Your friends are coming to see YOU, not the food."


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh God! The garnish! I forgot the garnish!

Hosting a dinner party is no easy task when your friends are expecting greatness. Well, it's kinda easy because I'm willing to spend days working on it, but here's my latest delimma:

Hosting a Bunco party in two days. The theme is "New York." Dinner was easy - street foods from all over the city. But as a pastry school grad, dessert really needs to be something special. Got it! Individual New York cheesecakes with a spiced apple and caramel compote and raspberry coulis. Easy. Now, what to do for the height to make it really spectacular?

Idea #1: A red tuile cookie in the shape of an apple. Amazing, right? But stencil. Can I really cut an apple shape out of cardstock and make it look good? Yikes.

Idea #2: A great tall sugar comet or other shape. But sugar doesn't hold well, and I won't have time to make them all during the party. Plus no way to get isomalt to make sure it's foolproof.

Idea #3: A beautiful chocolate free-form garnish. Oh, wait, that requires tempering chocolate. Nevermind.

Do you see? Drama. Crisis. Mass hysteria. Why is my life so hard?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Halloween. I'm not crafty, I'm just clever.

Ah, as we enter the end of September, the fun holidays begin. Halloween, my fav, is just around the corner, followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas. A food lover's dream, and my bank account's nightmare.

This year, since the husband and I are both in new jobs, we can't exactly ask for these coveted holidays off. Halloween is typically a huge affair for us; hundreds of dollars and months of work poured into completely unique costumes that are then shown off at the West Hollywood Costume Carnival. But since I'll probably be working that evening (and he the morning after) we have decided to pour that money into decorating the house, since we actually have a house to decorate this year. The theme? The Nightmare Before Christmas, of course.

Problem #1: I'm a chef, not a seamstress. Sure I can hand-stitch what I need to when a costume requires it, or when I did theatre in college and needed to help sew someone into a costume between scenes, but to create elaborate decorations? Hmm.

Problem #2: I'm a chef, not an artist. My painting skills are limited, though what I can do is pretty nifty. So there will not be giant stand-up cutouts of Jack Skellington, but maybe I can make the "days till Xmas" clock. Hmm again.

I'll post pics as we go along, but we've both got some clever ideas to decorate the way we want, without having to enlist an army to assist.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Does a cookie count for dinner if it's the same amount of calories?

The more I'm trained on the job, the more I'm taking on. It's great, except that I'm not fast enough to be able to do things like, you know, eat. Today I had a whopping four minutes to sit down while waiting for the pastries to come out of the oven, so I grabbed what was ready in the store. We make this awesome chocolate cookie with dark and white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts. I'm not usually a fan of chocolate cookies or white chocolate, but this sucker is gooood. And since it has about 400 calories, that's a meal, right?