Wednesday, December 31, 2008

another new beginning

As 2008 leaves us and 2009 offers 12 fresh months it is time for me to reflect on the past year.

Last new years eve I was celebrating one month of living without roommates and of clearing my life of un-needed baggage (in the form of so-called friends). It had been an awful couple of months but 2008 came to offer a fresh start.

Now, I am celebrating one year living alone and thriving happily this past year.

January and February passed quietly. In March I adopted Geoffrey who has since become the love of my life and the closest thing to a son I will probably have.

In April came my 23rd birthday which was celebrated quietly at work at the bed and breakfast. Shortly after that we hired Sidney at the BandB. She quickly became (and still is) an amazing friend and neighbor.

May was the month to look for a new job. I had been at the BandB for a year and needed to go somewhere to grow in my profession.

Around this same time my grandma fell and broke her hip. I returned home to see her for what would turn out to be the last time. This was the hardest weekend of my life. To say goodbye to my grandma - my best friend on Mothers Day.

In June I started my job at the signature room. I hated it for a couple weeks. But, things started to get better and I started a great relationship with a special guy I met there.

Late in June my grandma died. I was devastated, but prepared for the loss. It was decided the funeral would be held on Labor Day weekend - a weekend we always spent with family.

July was my month of mourning. I was having a hard time dealing with my grandmas death and every little thing made me cry. I spent 4th of July with 2 of my favorite people in the world. Andrew and Karla.

July was also when Lauren came to work at Signature. She has become a great friend and co-worker. And we have a hilarious story involving our first time hanging out...but I won't bust her out in public!

August I returned home once again. This time for my grandmas memorial. It was good to see my family. To reconnect with friends from high school and to hang out with my cousins that I don't see nearly enough. The weekend was emotionally draining and certainly not a vacation.

September brought the return of school. I was not ready to go back. I felt too old to be in school. To emotionally wrecked from the summer and in need of a vacation.

But, I reluctantly went back.,school,school,work. That's about it. The 29th would have been grandmas 87th birthday. A hard day for me.

Fall also brought the news that the chemical company Monsanto is trying to ruin my dads livelihood and steal all his money and hardwork.

Seeing my parents stressed is scary. They are usually two of the most happy go lucky people I know. I feel helpless here in chicago.

November...still lots of school and work. Free time spent with the guy I was beginning to fall for. November also brings what used to be my favorite holiday - thanksgiving- but lately I've been spending it at work with my kitchen "family." Its cool to get paid double time but no money in the world beats hanging out with my family.

Which brings us to this month. December. My quarter at school ends and christmas approaches quickly. My parents come to my house this holiday and a new tradition begins. It was so much fun to have them here. I love my parents so so much. My mom had her 4_th birthday (I'll leave that other number blank for her) the day after christmas and we ate drank played board games and were merry.

And now its time for the new year. Wow. Only a few short paragraphs summed up my year. I'm boring.

My year of great loss - grandma

My year of great gain-
Friends like sid, lauren & cardel

My year of realizing what really matters-
Great family, great friends, great memories, love, laughter, and living like everyday is my last.

I feel I have come so far in the last year. I find myself worrying less, letting go more, and just generally going with the flow.

I refuse to get caught up in the pettyness of everyday arguments. Life is too precious for that. And I don't want wrinkles and grey hair.

What I cannot control is in the hands of God and He is much better equip to handle sitautions that I am so I let Him have them.

Let me tell ya. Life is good this way. I used to be such a control freak but now that I've let go it feels amazing.

I smile more, stress less, and feel like a million bucks every morning when I wake up. (Ok sometimes I only feel like a hundred grand but still, I feel good)

I love my life. I love everyone in it. Even if you're only in it a little bit I still love you.

Even if you're confusing and challenging and make me want to poke you with a stick, I still love you.

Because you teach me, and you push me, and you make me a better me.

Goodbye 2008

Bring it on 2009

Saturday, December 20, 2008

what the world needs now...

Is love sweet love

Yeah, that and grocery stores made specifically for chefs.

Going to the grocery store with the general public makes me kookoo. Going to the grocery store with the general public when they are shopping for holiday meals drove me almost to the point of being the next face on america's most wanted.

I was at the store to purchase ingredients to make 3 types of biscotti. Pretty straightforward. I needed 2 kinds of dried fruit,3 kinds of nuts, almond and orange oils,and parchment paper. I also planned on picking up some extra flour, sugar, and eggs since I am doing more baking than usual right now.

Annoying person number 1)While I'm getting flour I can't help but notice a woman my age looking at boxed cookie mixes. She seems quite upset that she may have to add eggs or oil or basically any other item to the mix in order for it to become cookies. She finally decided to "screw it, let's get the break and bake kind"

Tears form in my eyes as I realize how truly lazy americans really are.

Then a smile emerges when I realize this means job security for me.

Annoying person 2) this lady really irritated me because she actually spoke to me. After inspecting my cart and deciding I "look like a baker" she asks if evaporated milk and condensed milk are the same thing. I explain that no they are incredibly different. She wants to know if she can subsitute condensed for evaporated because it seems this grocery store doesn't have it. I reach up, turn the can of condensed milk facing the proper direction and tell her the store has plenty the can was just turned around.

It doesn't end there...she then asks me if condensed milk comes FAT FREE or lower in sugar... I remind her that it is called "sweetened" condensed milk for a reason and reassure her that one can won't kill her.

She then asks if I can tell she's never baked before in her life.

No, really? I thought she was the pastry instructor at my culinary school...

Just another soccer mom keeping my job secure.

Annoying person 3) maybe this isn't entirely deserved but he still irritated me. I needed dried cherries for my biscotti and couldn't find any. When I asked a worker he proudly handed me dried cranberries with artificial cherry flavoring. Seriously?!?!

I settle for dried blueberries

Then, I need unsalted pistachios. No pistachios salted or unsalted in the nut aisle. Worker suggests I look in the produce section. Bingo-pistachios right next to the pineapples...all of them pre-salted.

I'll deal.

Now I need parchment paper. "Oh we've been out of that for weeks but we do have freezer paper" great plastic coated freezer paper in my oven. Perfect.

Had to go to Target...

So the moral of this story is: I hate grocery shopping with regular people. I hate wandering the grocery store for hours looking for 10 items. Things should be logical! I shouldn't have to look by the oatmeal and maple syrup for corn syrup.when is the last time someone put corn syrup on their damn pancakes???

As a worker in the food service industry I should have a grocery store for only me and my collegues. Well...not all my collegues cuz some of them are stupid too, but you get the idea.

And to my "regular" friends out there please please don't be those obnoxious people making other cooks lives hell at the grocery.