Ch-ch-ch-changes

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything.  I don’t have an excuse per se, and I won’t offer any apology.  Though I know someone out there reads my simple words, this blog has always been more for me as a catharsis than it ever was for anyone outside myself.  It’s been a way to collect and catalogue my thoughts, even if it’s been semi-public.  Readers, you do, of course have my undying affection and gratitude, but I write for my own mental health more than for any other purpose.

The last year and change has been a jumble of highs and lows, fits of joy and fits of melancholy, good things and bad things and days when I didn’t think my life could ever get any worse.  My confidence and my self-image and my pride were shaken more times than I imagined possible by something other than the heart-breaking, soul-crushing terror of the man I loved telling me he no longer loved me and hadn’t for a long time.  My divorce was finalized.  I graduated culinary school with honors.  I started seeing someone who cheated on me and then blamed me for it when he wouldn’t act like a man and just be honest with me.  My ex-husband’s new wife sent me something in the mail. My grandmother died.  I got a new job and moved out of my parents’ house.

I’ve been kicked and beaten and bullied by life.  I learned just how brutal life can be and just how depressed a person could be without actually resorting to self-harm.  I’ve questioned my very existence and my worthiness to continue this life.  I’ve questioned my personality.  I’ve become fairly certain that I am going to be and deserve to be alone for the rest of my life.  Women like me–smart, funny, pretty women–don’t end up with a forever partner like everyone else.  We’re different, so we end up alone.  Silos of difference, longing for affection and understanding, having to settle for mere physical contact from a random few who mistake us.

All of my soul-searching and loss led me to the conclusion that I am not cut out for work in the culinary industry.  My catering job ended in disaster.  My boss told me I was a bitch and demoted me, which I took as a signal that my job was in danger.  I left because I was sure the next step was getting fired.  People in the culinary field are either brutal and mean or overly sensitive.  It all stems from an overall lack of maturity among most kitchen workers.  (I say most because I met some incredibly intelligent, talented people in culinary school, but they were very much the exception.)  I still dream of opening a little bakery of my own one day, but that dream is a long way off, still.  I absolutely believe it will happen, but now is not the right time for it.

Now for the big exciting job opportunity I found for myself a couple months ago.  Shortly after I left the catering company, my uncle told me he no longer needed me to come into the office because I’d basically completed all of the projects that they had for the foreseeable future.  This prompted a country-wide job search.  I found a job in Philadelphia for a traveling trainer for a company called Reynolds and Reynolds.  I applied and pretty quickly got a response asking me to take an assessment test.  The next week, I had a Skype interview with their recruiting office.  About a week after that, I had a face-to-face interview set up at the company headquarters in Dayton.  It was for a different position, but it felt very promising.  I spent over 3 hours there, including a rather lengthy interview with the managers with whom I’d be working.  I was interviewing for the Pittsburgh territory, but after reading over my resume, they mentioned that they had an opening in the Fredericksburg, VA area.  I’d been wanting to get back to the DC metro area for some time, so I jumped at the opportunity to have a job that would put me in that area of the country again.  The job requires 5 months of training in Houston, TX before I’m sent to my territory.  So, that’s where I am right now.  I’m in Houston, TX in an apartment that my company rented for the trainees they have.  It’s new and exciting and intimidating and a little scary.  I don’t know anyone here yet, beyond my fellow trainees and an uncle down in Galveston.

My goal for the next couple of months is to post more regularly.  I always feel very good after writing, and I know it will make the few of you who read this happy to hear I’m still alive.  😉

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One Year In

It’s been a year since I moved back to Lancaster.  Technically, I should have written this post last Friday (September 9), but as it’s The Summer of Zero Fucks, who cares if I’m exactly on time with this?  Especially since I’ve been so terrible about posting in general.

I was dreading the one-year anniversary of leaving E.H. and Maryland, but it turned out to be okay.  I was extremely distracted on Friday.  I have found that distraction is the best way to cope with all of this horrible, stupid, messy life crap I’m going through right now.  That and a dedication to exercise.  I’ve been exercising most days of the week, and usually twice each day.  I’ll swim then go for a run, or I’ll run in the morning then run again in the evening.  I have tapered off a little because the last couple weeks have been crazy-busy with the end of the quarter, but I’ve lost something like 25 pounds, which I’m thrilled about.  My last run was 3 miles, and I ran it in just under 26 minutes.  The farther I go, the slower I am, but I’m at about a 9-minute-mile pace or less when I go out.  The swimming has done wonders for my speed!

My best friend’s older sister passed away on Monday, and her funeral was Friday morning.  It was a heart-breaking thing.  I couldn’t think of myself or my own heart-ache.  All I could think about was Ally and Emma and Cindy and John and how they lost Sarah far too soon.  It was horrible, difficult, sickening.  I can only imagine how Ally feels losing her sister.

Friday evening I worked a catering event with one of my chefs from school.  It was a rehearsal dinner at the Shade Winery, which is a little past Athens, OH (Athens is where Ohio University is, and it’s about 45 minutes from Lancaster).  We left Lancaster around 2:45, and I got home around midnight.  It was pretty busy the entire time, and I was happy to help out.

This week, I’m house sitting for my aunt.  She lives in the outskirts of town (they moved recently), and the house is bananas.  There’s a lot of nature out there, which is nice.  It’s very quiet, which I appreciate more than I can express.  I love my parents, and I am so grateful that they took me in, but I’m struggling living with them.  It’s really hard on me.  I have less privacy than I want, and I don’t think they’re intentionally annoying me with their constant questions, but they won’t stop even when I ask them to.  It’s frustrating.  So, I stay out of the house as much and as long as I possibly can.  I don’t have a safe haven right now.  They told me they’d help me with rent if I want to move out, but I hate to be dependent on them like that.  It’s putting more stress on me than it probably should, but I don’t know what to do about it.  One of my other aunts offered me the use of the apartment above her garage if I want it.  The only draw-back is there’s no kitchen up there.  Otherwise it’d be perfect.

I have the next two weeks off from school.  The new quarter starts on September 27, and I’m both dreading and looking forward to it.  The summer was nice because there was a low level of drama and nonsense.  The fall has the potential to be either great or horrible, depending on how much people feel like fucking with me.  I’m hoping it will be very little, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a lot.  People seem to want to be all in my business and stomping around in my life like they own it.  I think I need to be more assertive with telling people to step back and leave me alone.  That’s going to be hard because my natural tendency is to be too nice.  It should be interesting, to say the least!

There’s just one more difficult date to get through this month – my wedding anniversary.  It’s on September 23, which is a Friday.  I’m kind of glad of that because it’s the day I work at my uncle’s office.  That will distract me at least a little.  Hopefully there’s a project I can work on that day.  I think I need to make some plans with some friends that day so that I can keep it out of my brain.

Updates…It’s September Already?!

So, yeah, it’s September.  I’m as shocked as you are.  I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by.  I thought this summer was going to be all leisurely and relaxed.  No way, kemosabe.  It was all kinds of strung-out, liquor-soaked madness fueled by sheer will and loads of caffeine.  My farmer’s market attendance has fizzled completely since the summer quarter started, mostly because I’m working at my uncle’s office all day Friday then racing down to Nelsonville to work at Rhapsody, the fine dining restaurant associated with Hocking College, Friday night.  It’s been sickeningly hectic, that.  I’m not really complaining, mind you.  It was poor timing and even worse planning on my part.  So, lesson learned.

There’s been some drama.  Not nearly as much as Spring quarter (it’s ridiculous how glad I was to see the back-end of that quarter) but enough to make me kind of hate my fellow students.  Most people are gone for the summer, so the drama has been short-lived and mostly uneventful nonsense.  I’m very grateful for that.  I don’t need the level of bananas drama I experienced last quarter.  It’s not sustainable, and I’d eventually go fully bananas myself if I had to endure that.

My nephew, Sam-pants, is getting bigger by the day.  At his 4-month check-up, he was measuring in the 90th percentile for height and weight.  He was around the size of the average 6-month-0ld at that point, and he’s grown since then.  He’s very chatty, and he just got his first tooth over the weekend.  He’ll be 6 months old this weekend (on Sunday, to be exact).  He’s very sweet and happy.  He kind of knows his name.  He responds to it about 75 percent of the time, which is kind of neat.  He’ll look in the direction of whomever is speaking and put on a big grin.  I noticed over the weekend that he’s got some Welsh facial expressions.  He furrows his brow like we do, and he raises a single eyebrow.  The only thing that would make him cuter would be a pair of dimples, which I’m a little bummed he didn’t get.

My sister got married to Sam’s dad over the weekend!  I did the cake and cupcakes for the wedding.  I was also the maid of honor, which was not as much responsibility as a typical wedding, just because I’m so darn busy most of the time.  I did give a toast, which was short and sweet.  I followed the best man, who was very emotional throughout his toast.  I didn’t want to do that, so I kept it kind of funny and light and loving.  Everyone agreed that it was good, especially after the best man’s toast.  We all had a blast.  My siblings were all in town for it, and as usually occurs, we drank far more than a reasonable person would find appropriate and proceeded to harass anyone within firing range.  A good time was generally had by all.

The summer quarter is ending this Friday.  I could not be happier.  I’m so burned out.  Living in my parents’ house hasn’t helped.  I absolutely adore my parents, but they have been working every frayed nerve I have this summer.  I can’t get away from them. I would love to leave the house without being peppered with questions, but that just doesn’t happen.  Ever.  I’m so tired of it.  I am actually thinking of getting another job and moving out when my dissolution crap is finally done. (I have to reside in the county in which I will be filing the paperwork for 6 months, so if I move down to Athens, which is my plan, I’d have to start the 6-month wait over.  Not.  Happening.)  I’m eternally grateful to them for taking me in, and I love them.  I am just too used to the autonomy I had when I was living away from home.  It’s not in the natural progression to live with your parents at 31 years old.  I need my own space, and I don’t have that here.  I have a room in their house and more questions from them than I care to answer.  Le sigh.  Hopefully it will be over soon, and I will be able to get on with my life.  Until then, living the dream in Lamecaster, OH.

[A Witty Subject Goes Here]

I thought of a really clever name for this post earlier today, but now I’ve completely forgotten it.  I’m sure I’ll wake up at 2 AM with a “eureka” moment, but until then, I’ll just have to leave everyone (myself included) in suspense as to my wry title.

So, a few things have happened since last I posted.

First, I’ve done some odd-job type stuff in the last few weeks that has resulted in a little more financial security.  I house-sat, and I’m doing some catering stuff for a local restaurant (helping out with the catering they do, not actually doing any of the catering/planning/cooking/what-have-you myself).  I’ll be house-sitting and helping out with catering again in the next month or two.

Second, my quarter is chugging right along, which means I’m getting dangerously close to mid-terms.  I’ve gone to some parties, and I’ve hung out with my 3 girlfriends that are still in Nelsonville, much to my delight. I do not feel as though I have a strenuous quarter at all, which is a pretty good feeling.  There are days that I feel a bit overwhelmed, but they are few and far between and are typically not as stressful or as drama-filled as my least-busy days last quarter.

Third, I’ve had a bit of a spat with the ex.  I got some things off my chest that have been really putting a strain on me emotionally.  I told him how I felt about some of the things that have gone on and how disappointed and sad and just angry I feel.  He’s made an offer that is going to result in me finally getting this darn divorce over and done with.  I’ve held up the process waiting for him to do what he’s been insisting I do – be decent about this whole thing.  So, my lawyer is getting ready to put together the final stuff, and I’m hoping I can be done with him and this whole messy business for good very soon.  There’s a required 30-day wait, but once the papers are filed with the courts, it will be finalized within 90 days. Thank goodness!  I’m so glad to see the light at the end of this crushing tunnel!

I’ve tried really hard not to allow my negative feelings and anger toward him creep into my posts, and I know I’ve not always succeeded.  He was my best friend, and he tossed me aside.  I’ve healed a great deal from that self-esteem- and pride-damaging event.  I’m not quite there, but I’m so much better than I was when I moved back to Lancaster.  Once the dissolution is completed, I’m hoping to close the door on him and all that he did to put me in the position to make the decisions I made 10 months ago.  I love the decisions I made, and I feel that they were the right ones for me.  However, I can’t be happy about what caused me to make them.  After the dissolution hearing, I would prefer that I never see him ever again in my life.  Not because of hate but because I no longer consider him worth my attention, and I do not want to have to be rude.

My sister’s wedding is coming up in a little over a month.  My mom and dad are pretty much planning the entire thing.  My sister is telling them what she wants, and they’re making sure that things line up here in Lancaster.  She’s getting married in my parents’ home parish, which is where they got married.  I’m maid of honor, and I’m doing the desserts.  They’ve asked for cupcakes and a small cake for them to cut at the reception.  I am going to do 2 or 3 flavors of each, enough for everyone to have one of each flavor.  Since there are only about 35 people coming, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult, but I think I’ll have to do most of my baking down in Nelsonville.  I will do the icing at home, but we don’t have the capacity for 100+ cupcakes at my parents’ house, even with the double-ovens!  At school, I’ll be able to put all of the cupcakes in the oven at about the same time, and it will be about half a day of work instead of like 3 days if I did it all at home.

I am missing all of my far-flung friends (or maybe I’m the one that’s far-flung).  I don’t get to talk to any of you as much as I’d like.  Even with a less-busy summer quarter, I’m not exactly sitting at home every day twiddling my thumbs waiting for things to happen.  With lab hours, my friends, and all the stuff I have been doing for myself, I’m not exactly swimming in free time.  But, that’s how I like it!  I sometimes feel like a shark – I have to keep moving or I’ll die!

Another One Bites the Dust

It’s week two of the summer quarter.  So far, it’s been okay.  I don’t have any complaints, really.  I’ve got a pretty cush schedule this time around.  Beginning swimming from 1 to 1:50 Monday and Wednesday; Baking Lab 3 meeting from 12:30 to 1:30 on Tuesday.  No class meetings for the rest of the week, other than time spent at the Inn and Rhapsody getting in hours.  I also have an online class that I have to complete, but it’s run as what Hocking calls PACE, which means you work at your own pace.  I don’t know what the acronym stands for, but I should be able to power through some chapters pretty quickly.  I have always had trouble with online classes, but I’m determined to break that habit this time around.

I am of course, also having as much fun as I can muster.  There are fewer people around during the summer quarter, but a lot of my best friends are in town, so I have people to hang out with.  I had an awesome Independence Day weekend because a couple of my best friends were able to make it up to Lancaster to help me celebrate.

Grandpa’s out of the hospital and in a rehab facility now, and he’s apparently doing well with his PT.  My step-grandma is out of the hospital and doing well, too, which is wonderful.  She’s a champ.

That’s about all I have for now.  There’s really not much going on.  Hopefully things will pick up as the summer progresses.

Medical Drama

My grandpa is in the hospital.  He’s been there for 4 weeks.  Right now he’s a unit one level below the ICU.  They took his gall bladder out earlier in the week because it was gangrenous.  They also discovered late last week that he has VRE, a bacteria that’s resistant to the usual antibiotic used to treat it.  The first 2 1/2 weeks, they couldn’t figure out why he was sick, so knowing some of what’s causing all this is good.  His wife, my step-grandma, had surgery to remove a mass in her colon on Thursday afternoon.  She’s in the hospital for at least 4 days, more if they think she needs it.

I’ve been pretty level-headed about this whole enterprise.  Grandpa’s 87.  He’s not going to live forever.  Marlene is 72, but she’s the most active, fit, and healthy person I’ve ever met.  She bikes and runs and hikes and eats whole grains and fresh produce all the time.  The doctors are very positive that she’ll bounce back from this and don’t think that the cancer has yet spread to her lymph nodes.

This morning, I checked my inbox, and it was flooded with e-mails from family.  They are a little crazy, but they’re trying to keep everyone in the loop about everything, so there are dozens of e-mails back and forth.  It’s a little much.  This morning, though, I found an e-mail with a picture attached.  It’s the first time I’ve ever thought that my grandpa may not survive this.  It was a picture of him in a hospital bed, and his wife (in full hospital gown, IV cart at her side) is standing over him, talking to him to see how he feels.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of those things that I just reacted to.  For the first time since this entire ordeal began, I’m feeling a little sad about it.

I hope that my step-grandma recuperates as well as they are expecting, and I hope that my grandpa is able to get home at some point.  I know that’s all he wants – to be home.

Good Times Never End

My summer classes start on Monday.  I am pretty excited to get back to school.  All-in-all, I like school.  I don’t like the drama associated with some of it, but I’ve been told that the food industry attracts gossipy drama-whores.  I’m not one of them, so I tend to get frustrated with the people who are.  I just don’t understand the lack of adultness.  It’s so absurd!

So, this last week or so, I’ve been pretty busy.  My nephew Sam was baptized on Sunday, so my parents and I left almost immediately after I got home from the farmer’s market on Saturday to go up there.  In my haste, I forgot a couple key items, like pajamas and clean underwear.  It was only for a night, so I was going to wing it, but my mom decided I should probably at least have some shorts to sleep in, so when we stopped at Meijer, she bought me a pair.  The christening itself was pretty nice.  Catholics do a lot of annointing, and one of the oils they use during a baptism is this stuff called chrism.  It’s a blend of olive oil and balsam.  I’m apparently allergic to balsam, which meant that I couldn’t really hold Sam for very long without getting an itchy nose.  It was a funny thing to discover that I was suddenly allergic to the baby!

I’ve been working for my uncle at his investment office this week.  It’s been good to have something to do during the day instead of what I’d planned on doing – lying out in the sun and trying new and exciting jello shot recipes.  Ha!  Who am I kidding?  My original plan sounds so much better than sitting in an office all day answering phones and feeling less-than-helpful!  I know that he basically just needs someone in the seat, and I haven’t screwed anything up, so at least I’m not doing poorly.  I am realizing just how much his normal assistant never showed me, though.  She tried to train me on some things, but even though she said I was going to do everything the days I was there last week for that very purpose, she has a really hard time letting go of control.  I can’t really blame her.  I’m sort of the same way, but it hurts me and the clients for her to be so controlling with things. It is going well, overall, though.

Monday, I got a phone call from my cousin’s boyfriend’s mom who asked me if I could do some desserts for her son’s graduation party this weekend.  I’m stoked because it means more business!  I am doing cake pops and my salted chocolate chip cookies.  Tuesday, I got a call from my cousin Bob who asked me to make 2 batches of my famous fudge brownies for the camping trip this weekend.  Of course, I was happy to oblige!  Friday, I’m working for one of my chefs in the evening serving.  I’ll be working all day, running home to change into my outfit for the party, then going to the party with two of my fellow students.  I’m stoked!  I’m going to be very very busy this weekend.  In addition the stuff on Friday, I’ve got the farmer’s market Saturday morning, then Saturday afternoon I’ll be doing cake pops.  Sunday morning, I’ll be baking cookies and dipping the cake pops in the chocolate.  I promised the mom I’d be in Logan at 1 to set up, so I have a firm deadline for getting my butt out of the house of 12:30.  Sunday afternoon, I’m going to a party to see a friend whom I haven’t seen in probably 15 years.  I really wanted to go to Comfest up in Columbus this weekend, too, but it doesn’t look like I’ll have the time.  It’s all so manic!

I am glad to be busy, though.  I can really use the money and the distraction.  I was sort of assuming that my summer wouldn’t be as busy as the last two quarters, but I’m thinking that if this weekend is any indication of busy-ness, I’m in for another brutal 11 weeks!  And, my parents bought me a gift certificate to pick black raspberries, so I have to find time to do that in the next 2 weeks because the berries are only ripe that long.  I have a couple friends who want to go picking with me then come back to my parents’ house to make jam, so I have to coordinate with them.  I do love making jam, so it won’t be bad once we get started.

–Casey, jammin’ on the one

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